View more images of our essential repairs and improvement works on Flickr

You're still able to go about and have friends over and still study in your room.

Birks Grange Village resident

The advice I would give to any prospective student is to plan what you pack.

Birks Grange Village resident

Essential repairs and improvement works 2020/21

The information contained in this webpage may be subject to change.  We are seeking to provide you with as much detail as we are able to at this moment, however this could be changed by events outside the University’s control. For the avoidance of any doubt, the refund associated with the disruption will only be payable if the works proceed.

For the budget-conscious student, we have some discounted rooms offering value for money in popular locations across our Streatham Campus.

Some of our residences are undergoing essential repairs and improvement works during the 2020/21 academic year. The blocks directly affected will receive a rent reduction to acknowledge the impact the works will have on the students living in these residences.

We are constantly maintaining and improving our facilities across our campuses, and this year essential repairs and improvement works are scheduled to take place on a number of blocks located at our Birks Grange Village and Lafrowda residences.

The planned works involve updating the exterior of the buildings.

To see the locations of the scheduled works, take a look at our essential repairs and improvements maps:

Some disruption will be unavoidable, but works have been planned carefully to ensure the impact is as minimal as possible. Please be assured that no works will take place during examination weeks.

Take a look at our Flickr Gallery to see more images of the essential repairs and improvement works.

Watch our video to find out how current students have been affected by the works.


The current installation of external cladding is fully-compliant with fire safety regulations, however it is not achieving its anticipated performance and durability parameters. For these reasons, the exterior of the building will be updated by re-installing the cladding in alignment with the manufacturer's recommendations.

To complete these works it will be necessary to have scaffolding erected around the exterior of the affected buildings.

The three blocks which will be directly affected by these works are outlined below. You can see the locations of the scheduled works by visiting the Birks Grange Village and Lafrowda essential repairs and improvement maps. 

Please note the planned works are subject to change and may alter throughout the year due to circumstances outside of our control. We will keep you informed if we experience any delays to the schedule.

Accommodation BlockProposed duration
Birks Grange Village - Block H June 2020 - March 2021
Lafrowda Merrivale June 2020 - March 2021
Lafrowda Caldwell June 2020 - March 2021

Every effort will be made to reduce the disruption caused by these works, however rent reductions will be available for students living in residences in 2020/21 who have works taking place to the exterior of the block they live in.

Please note blocks in close proximity will not be eligible for a rent reduction.

If you would like to see which blocks and areas will be affected and when, please view our essential repairs and improvements maps for Birks Grange Village and Lafrowda. Please note, whilst the affected blocks will remain the same, sometimes for reasons beyond our control, the duration of the works in an area may be subject to change.

With their popular location within walking distance to campus and modern bedrooms the affected blocks represent a good option for the budget-conscious student after the reductions have been applied. During the application process you will be able to indicate your preferences for living in an affected block, however, please be advised that we cannot guarantee we will be able to allocate or avoid these rooms when you are made an accommodation offer.

Rent Reduction

If you live in a block where external works will be taking place you will receive a rent reduction of £20 per week. This will be applied to cover the period the works are taking place in each rent instalment as below:

Works undertaken between September and December

Rent instalment 1

Reduction will be applied to your account in September
Works undertaken between January to April

Rent instalment 2

Reduction will be applied to your account in January

Should you move from your accommodation during this time, the amount of reduced rent you will receive will be calculated based on the period you occupied the affected room, and your accommodation account will be amended accordingly.

How can I check my account?

Throughout the year you can check your account with the University of Exeter by accessing your online statement. This can be done by logging into your iExeter account and clicking on the ‘Student Record’ and ‘Finance’ tabs.

Each week a copy of the Lookahead (weekly work summary) will be published on the exterior works webpages and displayed in your blocks and accommodation receptions. The Lookaheads outline the work activities for the week including the anticipated levels of disruption to help you plan your week.

The types of works carried out will vary throughout the programme and will be dependent on your allocated block. All works will involve the removal and replacement of external panels and some will include the application of a wet render material to the exterior. Noisier works could include drilling and the cutting of boards.

The exterior works will move around the block so levels of disruption will vary and will not be outside one particular bedroom for the entirety of the programme.


When applying for accommodation you will have the opportunity to specify if you would consider living in a block where works are planned.

Please check your accommodation offer carefully as at this point you will know if you have been offered a room where works are taking place, and the level of rent reduction you would receive. To see the location of your allocated accommodation and whether it is directly affected by or in close proximity to the works, please visit the essential repairs and improvements maps for Birks Grange Village and Lafrowda.

The information on the exterior works webpages will be frequently updated with details of the works. Please consider all the information carefully before accepting your offer.

Frequently asked questions

Of those students surveyed in 2019/20 the majority of students felt that whilst the works were disruptive, they were manageable. Students would advise taking advantage of other study spaces on campus during the day. Some of our students recommended considering the other available student residence options if light levels would significantly impact on your living experience or if you require complete silence or a quieter environment for studying in your bedroom during the day.

Further information will be provided on arrival, and weekly updates will be available with the latest information and the times when more noise or dust is likelysee an example weekly work summary.

Due to the nature of the project noise should be expected; however, works will be restricted to 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, and the nature of the works vary throughout the programme. 

The construction team will be working in close proximity to students. Contractors will require access to your block but will not be going into your room. The teams may need to access your corridor, however you will receive advance notice of this type of work.

Bedrooms may have reduced light levels which will vary depending on the time of year.


A large amount of the planned works are scheduled to take place over the summer period; however there is a requirement for us to continue the works during the 2020/21 term time period.

During the application process you will be asked to indicate your additional preferences, including whether you would like to live in an affected block. We will take these preferences into account when allocating accommodation, but please note that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to fulfil any of these additional accommodation requests.

It is your decision as to whether or not to accept the offer made to you. If you reject an offer of accommodation we may not be able to make you another offer unless there are special circumstances which we were unaware of at the time of allocation.

Yes. The planned works do not affect the operation of the accommodation, which remain safe and habitable for student occupation.

The safety of residents, staff and contractors remains of paramount importance to the University of Exeter and UPP, which owns and manages the Lafrowda and Birks Grange Village residences.

In addition, please note, these works have been planned for some time and are unrelated to the public concerns raised following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London which took place in 2017. We can confirm these buildings and associated works do not involve Reynobond, Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), or high-pressure laminate (HPL), the cause of the 2019 University of Bolton accommodation fire. The current installation of external cladding is fully compliant with fire safety regulations.

Our essential repairs and improvements maps show when and where the essential repairs and improvement works are scheduled:

Please note, that whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the timescales shown above, these may be amended throughout the year due to reasons beyond our control. You will be notified if there is a change in schedule to your block.

The disruption caused by the works can vary from day-to-day, but due to the nature of the project noise should be expected. To give you a good idea of the type of works scheduled in your area, we publish weekly Lookaheads online and in affected accommodation blocks and area receptions. 

You can download an example Lookahead to see what to look out for.

As works are scheduled between the hours of 09:00-18:00 Monday-Friday students may find studying in their bedrooms more difficult during these hours, particularly at certain stages of the works programme and therefore we would recommend that you familiarise yourself with the many study spaces on campus

Net curtains will be provided in all rooms which will still allow visibility out of your window but will reduce visibility in. The scaffolding will be visible. Please note, the additional curtain and scaffolding may affect the light levels at certain times of the year.

The net curtains should provide protection against people seeing in through your window.

For the external works there will not be a requirement for any contractor to enter your room.  However, access for normal checking, testing and maintenance is required and is carried out using our normal safety and notification systems.

We can reassure residents, prospective students and their parents that all accommodation is subject to regular fire risk assessment and is attended by staff trained in fire safety procedures 24 hours a day.
The accommodation also benefits from a high-standard of fire detection, weekly alarm testing and managed fire drills to ensure all residents know how and where to evacuate the building. We also operate an ‘all out’ evacuation policy, with staff available to manage an emergency evacuation process.

Where external works will be taking place directly outside of a study bedroom window we will be advising students to keep their windows closed to prevent any dust from entering.  

As the works can vary from day-to-day we publish weekly Lookaheads to give you a good idea of the type of works scheduled in your area. The Lookaheads are available online and in affected accommodation blocks and area receptions; download an example Lookahead to see what to look out for.

Please remember working hours are restricted from 09:00-18:00, Monday-Friday and works will move around the building and at different heights during the period in which the scaffolding is in place and will therefore not be outside of a single bedroom for the duration of the works.