We were chosen to work on the University of Birmingham’s campus expansion plans. The contracts were part of a wider drive by the University to invest close to £500 million, over a five year period, to enhance the student experience on its Edgbaston campus.

  • Client: University of Birmingham
  • Project: University of Birmingham
  • Location: Birmingham
  • Sector: Education
  • Value: £1.9m

The Vale – Footpath/Cycleway

We were engaged as principal contractor by the University of Birmingham to undertake the construction of a new footpath/cycleway through the heart of the historic Edgbaston Campus, providing a safe, strategic route for the students between the Vale Village accommodation and the University Centre.

The works consisted of footpath construction, new car park for the Grade II Listed day nursery, retaining wall construction, new pond construction, street lighting scheme, CCTV Scheme and Soft Landscaping.

We took the project from the pre-planning stage, through planning approval and discharge, through to construction and final handover. The works were completed 1 week ahead of the intended 20 week programme and formed the basis for a strong and positive relationship with the University’s Estate Department, from which we have since been engaged to undertake two further schemes, as well as aiding with budgetary functions for future projects.

New Library External Works

During the successful works on the The Vale project, we were engaged to undertake the external works package for the brand new and prestigious Library Building. The works consisted of reduced dig and earthworks, deep drainage connections, street lighting ducting systems, café terrace steps, bespoke granite paving, street furniture and soft landscaping, including a new green roof.

Despite several delays to an already tight programme, which was geared towards an opening day of 19th September 2016, the works were substantially completed on time and the new library and its end users were open and operational on time. The team worked tirelessly, including an 8 week period working 7 days per week, to mitigate the delays from others to ensure the client’s objectives and targets were met.

Composting Centre

During the continued works on the Route to the Vale and the New Library, we were engaged to construct a new composting facility on the campus, which was a strategic requirement for the University as the project was designed to replace the existing facility across Campus which would then enable the client to construct a brand new conference park and hotel.

The works consisted of the construction of a new 1200m2 yard slab, waste collection tank and Section 106 drainage connection. The works were due to commence following the successful completion of the Route to the Vale and had a 9 week programme as the facility had to be operational for the new project to commence.


“Just wanted to say how pleased we are with the work carried out at the University, it looks superb. Your team acted in a professional manner at all times and were very helpful and flexible at every stage of the contract. For this project, we needed a partner with a very high reputation for quality and we got just that with O’Brien.”

Stephen Ashton, Senior Project Manager, University of Birmingham