Dorset House, Bournemouth University, Poole


Dorset House sits at the heart of Talbot Campus, where most of the undergraduate and postgraduate courses are delivered at Bournemouth University. It is home to the Doctoral College, providing important support to its postgraduate research community with a range of high-tech laboratory equipment, as well as the Business School’s Professional Engagement Suite.

Sustainability is a top priority for Bournemouth University. In fact, the University is ranked 21st in the world and 6th in the UK for its contribution to UN Sustainable Goal 13: Climate Action for The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023. As well as opening new eco-friendly buildings, Bournemouth University is carrying out major refurbishment works across its campuses, investing in a range of low or zero-carbon technologies to help minimise water and energy use.

As part of this refurbishment, Dorset House was to undergo a significant transformation to help enhance the entrance area and make better use of the space. Bluestone Design & Construction Ltd was tasked with upgrading the building’s flat roofing system, in association with IKO, and the build-up include the installation of a new 80kWp solar PV system.


There were several challenges to overcome during the project, but as the team had recently completed similar works on the nearby Poole House on campus, they could apply their extensive learnings to ensure the refurbishment of Dorset House ran seamlessly. As the project was on a busy campus, it was important that it was carried out during the holidays to avoid significant disruption to students and staff. There was, however, a short period during term-time that required more coordination, to ensure appropriate access while making sure the project ran on time.

Another challenge was ensuring the material deliveries arrived on time, to minimise site storage issues and meet workforce scheduling requirements. The team managed this effectively, by ordering the materials via construction product distributor, SIG, which were then delivered as required from the local SIG depot. This meant Bluestone Design & Construction could meet programme deadlines, without needing to store materials long-term on-site.


The installation process at Dorset House involved a standard hybrid built-up roofing (BUR) system, using both self-adhesive and torch-on membranes suitable for the substrates of the project. Choosing products with a 25-year guarantee was important to the team, as the installation included solar electricity panels (also known as PV), that would need to provide reliable power output over the system’s lifespan.

Bluestone Design & Construction followed a thorough process to ensure the roof area was suitable for the PV installation, following the necessary remedial works and new roof overlay. Once the systems were in place, all works were reviewed to ensure they met the specifications of an IKO technical engineer and requirements of IKO’s guarantee, without any issues. The team also worked to all the necessary health and safety standards throughout the project.

Bluestone Design & Construction and IKO worked together to ensure that the Dorset House project was carried out within the programme requirements – finishing ahead of schedule, in September 2023. It was essential that the building was ready on-time and within budget, ahead of the installation of the new PV system, to ensure maximum availability for the 2024 period. With Bournemouth University’s ambitious sustainability targets in mind, the Bluestone Design & Construction team wanted the system to be fully operational as soon as possible. As the main contractor and roofing installer, Bluestone Design & Construction was able to have more control over the project and ensure the roofing segment ran smoothly as part of the wider picture.

The University was extremely pleased with the installation and execution of the project. Now with its improvements made, Dorset House is another success story in the University’s plan to futureproof its campuses for many years to come.