Off-site ‘home work’ done early on Cork's €53m Ashlin House student accommodation

Large 554-bed student accommodation scheme by Clancy Construction benefited from off-site construction in post-Brexit period  and during  Covid pandemic site restrictions
Off-site ‘home work’ done early on Cork's €53m Ashlin House student accommodation

Communal area of the 554-bed €53m Ashlin House, Bandon Road, Cork, operated by Nido, and built 'on time and on-budget' by design and build contractors Clancy Construction

OFF-site construction was a key measure in the delivery of Cork city’s single largest student accommodation development to date, the €53 million, 554-bed Ashlin House, on Bandon Road – done during “a perfect storm of Brexit and Covid.” 

CGI of the now completed Ashin House
CGI of the now completed Ashin House

The sizeable SHD-cleared scheme, in five blocks overlooking the Lough on Bandon Road on the site of an old timber joinery works, came in on budget and on time for this year’s academic year - at a time of upheaval in supply and delivery of building materials.

Hit the  books: an en suite bedroom, with pod bathroom
Hit the  books: an en suite bedroom, with pod bathroom

It was built using off-site construction of critical elements such as the light gauge steel structural frame by Tipperary-based Horizon Offsite, bathroom pods (sourced from the UK), stairs and raft reinforcement designed and coordinated through Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems, with 3D visualization of every component used.

All of this helped improve precision, reduce waste, lower the carbon footprint of the project and finish it to a very high standard, say contractors Clancy Construction, noting such methods are “the future of the industry.” The scheme is managed by Nido Student with room rates quoted online at €240-€289 per week.

A far cry from bedsits. Local Centra and Cissie Young's bar can be glimpsed on the Bandon Road just outside
A far cry from bedsits. Local Centra and Cissie Young's bar can be glimpsed on the Bandon Road just outside

MD of Clancy Construction John O’Shaughnessy said “projects such as Ashlin House show the sea-change in the way we can deliver for clients such as Nido. This project was challenged by a perfect storm of Brexit and COVID, but using our Clancy core values we were able to innovate and respond quickly to those challenges. 

"Whereas traditional methods of construction can result in unavoidable delays and budget overruns, the new methods can keep to deadlines and budgets. With support from the likes of Enterprise Ireland, we can continue to improve construction productivity by increasing offsite production in factory-controlled environments and by improving site and factory processes,” said Mr O'Shaughnessy

Clancy were engaged by developers Lyonshall who assembled the Bandon Road site (done on 1.037 ha site, which included the old O’Riordan’s Joinery and three terraced houses facing Cissie Youngs and a Centra) and the Lyonshall/Clancy partnership has also worked on other residential sites such as Skehard Road. 

Planning was first granted for 324 beds, and a subsequent application achieved planning for 554 beds, with work starting in May 2020, during the pandemic period.

Ashlin House will be surpassed in size by the 629-bed scheme advancing in construction at the old Coca Cola site on the Carrigrohane Road, with several thousand additional student beds delivered over the past two years, including sites at South Main Street, Victoria Cross and Washington Street/Western Road, the old Square Deal site which is development is backed by global real estate investment, development and asset management firm Round Hill Capital (Ireland), joint backers with NBK Capital of the €53m 554-bed Ashlin House on Bandon Road.

At Bandon Road “these complementary strategies, values and processes enabled Clancy to construct and weatherproof 5-6 storey blocks in an 18-week period with the internal finishing cycle taking just 16 weeks to complete to a ‘best-in-class’ turnkey state,” said the firm of their design and build project.

Initial design was by O’Mahony Pike Architects, who’ve previously worked with Lyonshall on projects such as the masterplan for the Ursuline Convent residential development in Blackrock, now being completed by Glenveagh.

Darren Gardner, COO of Nido Student said they were “particularly proud to open Ashlin House as it marks the delivery of a key project exclusively using modern methods of construction. We are committed to evolving the way we work to ensure we can deliver sustainable accommodation, to the highest possible standards for our students. This project has set a benchmark for future developments as we look to continually improve how we build spaces with our construction partners.”

The Ashlin House complex is made up of five blocks each with shared apartments (up to eight c 14 sqm en suite bedrooms beds in some), studio rooms, and a three-bed townhouse. Facilities include a gym, private dining room, super0-fst broadband, quiet study room, meeting rooms, gaming room, wellness room, ‘chill out’ spaces, BBQ spaces, basketball hoops, 13 car parking space and 274 bike slots.

Roof has PV panels - and bat boxes
Roof has PV panels - and bat boxes

The development gets a A3 BER, is NZEB complaint with a ‘very good’ BREEM rating, roofs have PV panels, with “extensive native planting, bee-friendly plants, the use of ‘green’ roofs” – and bat boxes.

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