Scottish university students urged to push the boundaries on housebuilding

STUDENTS from Heriot-Watt University have been designing their homes of the future after teaming up with CALA Homes on a new initiative.

The CALA Student Partnership Award will form part of this year’s curriculum, providing construction project management and quantity surveying students with the chance to present their ideas in poster format to a panel comprising staff from the university and the housebuilder.

Marks are awarded for evaluation skills, reference materials, clarity of vision and knowledge of their subject matter. Winners will receive a summer placement with CALA.

Jackie Hunter, HR business partner with CALA Homes said, “This is a really exciting project for CALA as it allows us to help lay the groundwork for the future of the industry and see where we can add value. We want the students therefore to really push each and every boundary, and show vision and creativity. In turn, the experience will give students looking to work within the housebuilding sector a real insight into how our team plans and designs homes, and the ethical and practical obstacles they face in doing so. As a graded assessment that goes towards their degree, we have encouraged students to focus on the areas which interest them – whether that be targeting energy efficiency or the materials used in building.

“This project has allowed students to identify their key strengths, while surgeries and workshops with CALA staff have helped them understand how to best progress their vision. It has been interesting to see the creative ideas that students have come up with, and how they might be implemented. You never know, in the not too distant future you may be living in a home designed by one of Heriot-Watt’s talented students.”

Professor Fiona Grant, director of learning and teaching, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University added, “This is an exciting opportunity for Heriot-Watt University to work collaboratively with the CALA Group. It allows students the opportunity to understand the complexity of this sector and address the challenges it faces. Students have found the experience to be very insightful and rewarding, that was demonstrated in the quality of work being presented.”