Solent University – Warsash Maritime Academy


Warsash Maritime Academy (WMA) has provided first class education, training, consultancy and research services to the international shipping, commercial yacht, and offshore oil and gas industries for nearly 70 years. The Academy, part of Solent University, is the world’s premier maritime education and training provider.

In September 2015 PMc conducted a short piece of work for the University to critically analyse the viability and financial contribution of the maritime Cadetship Programme offered by Warsash Maritime Academy. Following later discussions with the then Vice Chancellor, Graham Baldwin, we set out our proposals for a baseline space planning assessment to ascertain whether some or all the Academy’s provision could be accommodated within Solent University’s existing Southampton City Centre campus or on nearby sites under review as part of the University’s wider site master planning.

Our resultant WMA Space Planning Report set out our assessment of the space needs for the relocation for the WMA provision on the upper site plus the engineering workshops on the lower site. We followed up this work with the production of an outline feasibility study into the potential relocation of the WMA activity on to City College Site on the 15 March 2016. During June and July, several options for the relocation of the WMA provision within the Watts and Austen buildings within the City College campus were produced.

The Academy’s decision – in response to these options – was to split the activities on the upper Warsash site between the relocation of higher level and professional courses to the University’s ‘East Park Terrance’ and the relocation of cadet and associated training courses to the Austin building which is located at the part of Southampton City Colleges campus – just a few minutes’ walk from the main Solent University campus. The creation of a new Cadet Training ‘hub’ with close access to modern high-quality accommodation for cadets places the Academy at the heart of one of Britain’s greatest maritime cities.

As part of the plans to migrate Warsash’s activities to the new sites for the start of 2017/2018 consideration had to be given as to how to minimise the inevitable disruption and distraction created by any educational moves programme. Part of this entailed the project teams working collaboratively to minimise disruption as far as possible and to provide staff, cadets and other users of the new spaces at the City College campus the best leaning experience possible.


PMc acted as Client Advisors to WMA and the University throughout the relocation programme and the repurposing of the Austen building to accommodate the specialist spaces required for Cadet training courses. Using our previous experience and understanding – that refurbishment and adaptations of the existing buildings offer their own set of challenges which are often more complex than a ‘green feild’ new build project. Another important consideration was that planned works would be taking place on and in a building that wasn’t owned by the end user client and so steps had to be taken to resolve a range of complex issues relating to the lease, occupation and shared use of the campus.

Whilst we were working for Solent University on this project we were also commissioned by City College Southampton to manage a fast-paced programme of refurbishment works to relocate their library, photography, IT and English and Maths provision out of the Austen building into the Watts and St Mary’s building over a three week Easter holiday window.

The scope of the 2017 WMA works, running on a tight timeframe to be completed for the new academic year, were to create a modern, light and well-ventilated engineering and specialist maritime workshop suites, on the ground floor including a new reception and administrative hub at its centre. The works on the upper floors were focused to provide specialist and general classroom spaces, with provision on IT learning and student service rooms. The resulting goal being to create a focused site that would cater for all its students’ academic needs, and for an Academy that is recognised as providing some of the highest regarded maritime training courses in the world.

Key Facts

Heading #1
Start on Site
April 2017
Completion Date
September 2017
Refurbishment area (m²)
Total Project Budget
Solent UNiversity
APLB to stage 2
Technical Advisors
Cost Consultants
Project Manager, Employer’s Agent, & Bid Writer
Main Contractor

Project Team