In Conversation With: Ian Hunter, Bucks New University
5th November 2019
In October, ITC’s Ian Conway and Kayleigh Moore met Bucks New University’s Director of Estates and Facilities, Ian Hunter, to discuss the factors which have contributed to the success and longevity of the relationship between their respective organisations. ITC and BNU have now worked together, across all campuses, for over 12 years!
‘The relationship has been a great fit, it’s always a pleasure working with the Bucks team’ – Ian Conway, ITC
Here are some highlights from our interview with Ian Hunter:
1. What do you think is the most important factor in a successful client/contractor relationship?
I believe that the central pillar is the trust that the contractor will deliver a quality product, on time and in budget. ITC have always done that, and that is why we have very good faith in them.
It’s also important that there is an open relationship, as both parties can avoid friction by being honest, realistic, sorting out issues as they arise, and finding solutions together.
Ever since the first job, it’s been clear to me that ITC and Bucks New University are very compatible partners, and the Estates team and ITC Construction team have developed a strong partnership.
2. Which has been your personal favourite project that ITC and Bucks have collaborated on?
My favourite project has definitely been the two phases of refurbishment at our Uxbridge Campus, where ITC installed new training facilities for our student nurses. The project was memorable because it was the first job where the contractor and client designed a bespoke, brand new facility for the University.
We had a blank canvas to start with, and in the first year we stripped out the bottom three floors of the building, followed by stripping out the top floors in the second year. The project was successful as our Uxbridge campus is a thriving site for training the nurses of the future.
3. Can you share any of your exciting plans for the future of Bucks’ development?
At Bucks, we’re committed to providing our students with the best experience by continuing to invest in modern facilities and state-of-the-art equipment. Our areas of focus are likely to include updating the police training facilities, and ensuring our ‘real world’ simulation suites continue to prepare our student nurses to provide the best patient care in the future.
4. How have the needs of the University and students shifted over the years that ITC and Bucks have been working together?
The University has a proud 127-year history. We were originally established as a Science and Arts School, and after the First World War we played a key role in rejuvenating the town of High Wycombe. We were an official training centre for the MOD, creating links with local crafts such as furniture-making to provide skills for injured war veterans.
Over the years, the employment-focused courses we offer have developed to include training in nursing, pilot training, policing, law, social work, design, music production, and much more.
We also now offer degree apprenticeships working with employers to create programmes for students who wish to ‘earn as they learn’.
The student experience is paramount at Bucks. We’ve installed high-tech building management systems which allow the monitoring of all mechanical and electrical equipment from one room. This enables our Estates team to check all of the engineering plant before the students start each day, and we aim to resolve issues before there are any interruptions. These precautions are taken to ensure high standards of learning for all of our students.
Additionally, we’ve responded to our staff and students’ growing environmental awareness by installing equipment to reduce the University’s carbon footprint. So far, we’ve seen a 64% reduction in base-line emissions since 2005, making us the university with the second best reduction in carbon footprint in the UK.
5. How do you predict that students’ need will continue to evolve, and how might the built environment of the University need to adapt to accommodate this?
We are constantly adapting. From the courses we provide (which are tailored to meet industry needs) to our environmental practices and the facilities we provide, everything we do is designed to give students the best experience at Bucks. We also work with local businesses and start-ups to continue education and support to those wanting to continue learning.
During our visit, Ian Hunter gave us a tour of the High Wycombe campus to see the history, and progress we’ve built together.
Most recently, ITC completed two phases of works at the new Aylesbury Vale campus.
Take a look at the new nursing facilities & café here
Many thanks to Ian Hunter for an enjoyable tour and interview. We look forward to many more successful collaborations between Bucks and ITC over the coming years!