Balfour Beatty has announced that it has been awarded a major contract to build student accommodation in central London.

The building, which will be on Westminster Bridge Road, spreads over 19 storeys and will cost around £80 million to design and construct. Balfour is creating the structure of Urbanest, a leading supplier of student accommodation across London. The new building will be close to the South Bank Conservation Area and the Westminster World Heritage site and will house students in 1,092 bedrooms.

Officials explained that these places will be highly sought-after and added that the scheme will also be home to a new sixth-form college, health suite with swimming pool and affordable office space. As many undergraduates look forward to entering university for the first time this September this development is aimed at inspiring future students to take up study in the English capital.

Balfour reinforced its commitment to building the new structure while attempting to minimalise the effect it has on the environment. The company explained that the accommodation floors will be fitted with photovoltaic panels and combined heat and power technology with the aim of achieving BREEAM 'Excellent' rating. This accolade is one of the highest within the industry for sustainable practice in building design, construction and operation.

Andrew McNaughton, Balfour Beatty chief executive, said: “The dynamic student accommodation market is a key growth area for Balfour Beatty around the world. We look forward to bringing our knowledge and expertise of sustainable construction methods to this project, our fifth prestigious scheme for Urbanest, in the heart of the capital."

Balfour expects the main construction phase of the development to begin this summer with officials aiming to have it completed in time for the start of 2015 academic. The work is expected to provide a significant boost for employment in the area with Balfour due to employ around 500 people at the peak of the construction process.

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