Meet the Rushden-based firm behind £25m university development

Rushden-based Kier built the new Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton
Rushden-based Kier built the new Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton

People are being offered the chance to have a look behind the scenes of one of the area’s largest building sites.

On November 9 and 10, Rushden-based Kier Construction, which is currently building a new £25m hall of residence for the University of Northampton, is participating in Open Doors Weekend, a nationwide pilot project from the construction industry which invites members of the public to visit a construction site in their area.

Rushden-based Kier built the new Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton

Rushden-based Kier built the new Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton

The initiative aims to present construction in an engaging and interesting way and showcase the dynamic, exciting career opportunities that construction has to offer.

Kier will open up the student accommodation project, on the site of the St John’s surface car park in St John’s Street, and members of the public can pre-register to take a guided tour and learn more about the scheme, its development and the world of construction.

In addition to having a look around the site, visitors will have the opportunity to talk to employees from Kier and staff and student ambassadors from the university, and will also be able to view the designs for the new building, which will open to students in January 2014.

Kier senior site manager Paul Nelson said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming members of the local community onto our site.

“It’s fantastic to be able to offer people the chance to see what we do and see the hall of residence as it’s being built.

“Working on a construction site can be challenging but it’s extremely exciting and rewarding as well.

“I hope that members of the public will enjoy their visit and get a better understanding of what’s involved by coming onto the site.”

The Open Doors scheme is being trialled across the country and is the result of a partnership of four leading industry bodies, UK Contractors Group (UKCG), CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Considerate Constructors Scheme and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

Kier is one of more than 20 contractors taking part in Open Doors on more than 90 sites across England, Scotland and Wales.

Speaking on behalf of the Open Doors Partnership, Amanda Sergeant, CITB-ConstructionSkills sector strategy manager for the East Midlands, said: “Construction is undergoing rapid change and needs to develop a skilled workforce to meet these challenges it faces.

“Nowadays construction is more about careers than jobs and the expected increase in demand for management roles in the next few years means that we need quality talent entering the industry now to fill these future positions.

“Open Doors is a unique opportunity for the industry to display the complexity and scope of modern construction projects and give people a taste of what it’s really like to work in the industry.

“But places will be limited so I’d encourage anyone interested to go on the website and register to secure their place to avoid disappointment.”

Based in Rushen, Kier Construction started work at the £25m St John’s Halls of Residence, which will provide 464 bedrooms, at the beginning of July, and the development is scheduled to open in January 2014.

During the build programme, Northampton Borough Council has agreed that Kier can take over the former Vulcan Works in Guildhall Road rent-free to use as the site office, and in return Kier will restore the listed building at no cost to the council.

The St John’s site will be open on November 9 from 9am to 4pm and on November 10 from 9am to 1pm but you must pre-register to attend.

For more details or to book your place on a tour visit