The Faculty of Social Sciences building

Building of a world-class Social Sciences facility to enhance the student experience and encourage interdisciplinary research started in May 2019.

An architectural video showing the exterior and interior of the new Faculty of Social Sciences Building


This home for the Faculty of Social Sciences will improve learning for students through its new collaborative teaching and social spaces and offer a wide range of disciplines under the same roof for the first time. It will also include a research hub, bringing together cross-cutting research centres to address key global challenges.

Green space, which will be open to the public as well as students and staff, will be part of the development, providing an improved local environment.

The building has been designed by HLM Architects with sustainability at its core. Ground source heat pumps will be installed to maximise the opportunity created by thermal warmth, and provide cooling in the summer. 

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Project details

  • Project Manager: Richard Parr, Department of Estates and Facilities Management
  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 114 222 9127


View design photos

Frequently asked questions

Visit our FAQs page about the Social Sciences building.



Past news

16 September 2021: Public consultation launch: Changes to a section of Northumberland Road

The University proposed changes to a section of Northumberland Road to make it safer and more pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians. The road is often difficult to navigate due to parked cars and narrow pavements. With the anticipated increase in foot and cycle traffic due to the opening of the new Social Sciences building, we wanted to ensure Northumberland Road is safe and accessible for our staff, students and the local community.

Click here to find all information about our proposal, including FAQs, a video detailing the scheme, and a feedback form. This consultation ran until 5pm on 18 October 2021.

5 August 2021: The building's concrete frame continues to progress well and should complete on programme. The level 3 slab, which forms much of the roof, is now complete. BAM are also pressing on with the curtain wall façade, comprising aluminium support stick-work and glass.

Work will start on installing the atrium's glazed roof at the beginning of September.
The drum structure, at the centre of the building, is currently being clad in a structural framing system and boarded out using a waterproof material. This means that internal fit-out can begin.

12 July 2021: BAM continue to make good progress on the concrete frame of the building. They’re now working on Level 3 and the roof slab sections, which have been cast. Supporting steelwork for the ground-floor façade panels has been installed, and they have commenced curtain walling.

In addition, the team is finalising internal specifications such as ventilation and specialist radio studio equipment for the Journalism department.

7 May 2021: BAM are continuing to work on the concrete frame of the building, with the ground floor now complete.

We are starting to prepare contents for a time capsule to be buried on the site. We'll be adding items from the Faculty of Social Sciences that share more information to future historians about research at the the University of Sheffield. We'll also be adding items from Sport Sheffield as the site has played an important role for students as a sports pitch for many years.

1 April 2021: BAM is making excellent progress on site, with the steel drum now complete. The concrete frame is also on schedule, though adverse weather has delayed one of the concrete pours which will now be done in early April.

5 March 2021: BAM have now completed all the foundation work and are now progressing with the construction of the concrete ground floor slab.

The steel drum structure, which is the feature in the atrium, is now complete. They are now working on the metal decking, and the above ground concrete frame including lift and stair cores.

28 January 2021: BAM have completed the piling work and three tower cranes have been re-erected on site to facilitate the next phase of construction. 

The foundations and drainage are progressing well. The steel drum structure, which is the feature in the atrium, has commenced and the above ground concrete frame.  All works are on programme. 

The tree planting project has been completed and BAM are keeping an eye on the saplings which seem to be weathering the varied winter temperatures well to date.

4 December 2020: BAM Construction completed the new piling on Thursday 3 December but verification works will continue into the new year. The re-erection of the tower cranes will be complete by the start of January.

The trees on the Marlborough Road site boundary have now being planted successfully and, over time, should provide additional screening. We’ll be adding an additional tree early in December.

You may have noticed a large white tent on the site of the sports pitch - this is for storing materials and will be joined by two more tents over the next few weeks.

Weekend working in December: BAM are planning to work on site Saturday 5 and Saturday 12 December between 8am and 1pm. They will be making extra space on site to receive incoming structures from Europe which need to arrive in the UK before the Brexit deadline of 31 December 2020. This work will be in line with the existing planning permission for the site.

Christmas working hours: Over the Christmas period the site will be closed as from midday on Thursday 24 December 2020, reopening on Monday 4 January 2021. Security will be patrolling the site 24/7 whilst it is closed.

6 November 2020: The first pair of test piles have already been completed and the installation has been successful. This operation is lower noise and therefore disturbance to our neighbours following the demolition should reduce. BAM are working ahead of programme and expect to have the piling work completed around Christmas. Others works taking place on the site around mid-November include preparation for further pile installation and drainage as appropriate.

14 October 2020: BAM has demolished 89% of the building and is on track to complete it by the end of October. They are currently working on the remaining ground floor structure and pile caps. This week they will be drilling test piles.

BAM continue to monitor dust and noise levels to ensure they’re working within approved limits, and mitigate the effect of their deconstruction activities as much as possible by using acoustic chambers. They have increased the number of water cannons on site to improve ‘dampening down’. Some plant equipment has been moved further away from residential properties so there are fewer journeys to this part of the site.

2 October 2020: BAM are continuing to dismantle the building with 72% of the demolition completed on the whole site. The remaining work left to deconstruct is below ground. They are on track to finish this element completely by the end of October.

They have also progressed and concluded the first part of the unexploded ordnance survey works in preparation for piling to begin. This was also carried out previously during the initial surveys and piling works but BAM are checking again as standard practice.

A brand-new piling rig is due on site 9 October for work to begin the week commencing 12 October on installation of the test piles. The acoustic levels have been checked and these will be well within the permitted site limits.

16 September 2020: Demolition work is progressing to schedule and BAM are on course to finish this work by the end of October 2020. They have completed 64% of the deconstruction work so far.

BAM are reusing and recycling as much as waste material as possible. So far all of the concrete on site has been retained for reuse and steel from the reinforcement structures is being sent to be melted down and reused.

25 August 2020: We have recently been informed by BAM, the building contractor for the new Social Sciences building, that the safest course of action to address the piled foundation issue is to deconstruct and rebuild the entire building. This is disappointing news for all concerned and we are working with BAM to reduce disruption to local residents.

We understand from BAM that the deconstruction will be completed towards the end of October 2020 – and will be followed by a period of new piled foundation installation which BAM expect to be complete in February 2021.

Further ground investigations have reconfirmed that the ground is safe and suitable for the new building, once the correct piled foundations have been installed.

The University will not face any financial repercussions because of the delay, which is the responsibility of the contractor.

15 July 2020: Work will begin to partially dismantle the building from Monday 20 July 2020. One of the tower cranes will be taken down to enable the works to take place.

Throughout the deconstruction and piling process, BAM will be dampening down to cut down on dust. They are required to work within the noise limits as set out in the planning conditions.

20 May 2020: There is a delay to construction. Statement from BAM:

Remedial works have commenced on the scheme to deliver the Faculty of Social Sciences building for the University of Sheffield. The scheme is currently under construction.

BAM identified that there was settlement occurring in excess of that which would normally be expected in a structure of this nature, prompting us to conduct detailed investigations. These confirm a problem involving the piling of the structure, which are unusually complicated.

We therefore conducted a review together with our client and the expert sub-contractors involved: Mott Macdonald – structural engineers - and Cementation Skanska – piling contractor. This concluded the best course of action would be to partly dismantle some of the current structural frame – to the north elevation then rebuild it. Those works are now underway.

This action followed rapidly after identifying the problem and these remedial works are expected to take approximately eight or nine weeks. BAM is apologising to local residents around the scheme for any additional inconvenience this may cause. Materials in the current frame will be re-used in the scheme or recycled.

BAM is working closely with the University to determine the consequent delay to the completion of the new building which it is now anticipated would be in 2022.

At all times the building has been safe to all those around it.

BAM has an excellent track record in Sheffield over many years and many building, and is committed to operating responsibly and openly with its clients.

March 2020: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 incident, the University has been working closely with our contractors to ensure they comply with government advice regarding social distancing. 

The Faculty of Social Sciences building site is open but work is reduced. BAM are following Public Health England guidelines which state workers must be at least 2 metres apart and wash hands often. 

The project team are working remotely and no site visits are taking place. 

The University continues to monitor the situation and will respond where government advice is updated. 

December 2019: The ground floor slab is now fully cast which gives us a clear footprint of the building. Concrete cores continue to be installed and the drum is now fully concreted.

November 2019: You can see real progress on site now as the drum steelwork is now complete. The concrete frame is progressing with first sections of first floor now cast.

We've had some exceptionally bad weather over the last few months, with the wettest July and September for 10 years. That has led to some loss of working time, but the site team are working hard to make sure it doesn't slow the programme down.

October 2019: We have now completed drilling the fourteen 225 metre deep boreholes for the ground source heat pump and will now start to add the pipe equipment. The project's foundations are complete and we continue to install the ground floor slab.

5 July 2019: Works are progressing well with piling now complete and the old villa has been demolished. As the site was a reservoir before it became sports pitch, BAM are busy pumping water from underground and will continue this whilst they are constructing works in the ground. The team have started to crop the piles to the correct level and construct the pile caps.

The drilling rig for the deep bore hole heat exchanges is now on site and starting soon. The rig will drill 14 x 200m deep bore holes into the land for the Geothermal ground source heat pumps. This technology will make the building the University's most sustainable in terms of heating and cooling.

10 June 2019: Date not fixed yet but we anticipate the boring machine work to commence 10 June for up to 20 weeks. The noise level will be comparable to the enabling works currently taking place.

3 June 2019: We will take delivery of 2 piling rigs, which are large drilling machines used to construct the concrete pile foundations for the building. These rigs will start drilling at the west side of the building and work their way towards Whitham Road.

20 May 2019: Installing the piling platform that forms the footprint of the building.

13 May 2019: Excavation and drilling chambers work to commence to prepare the ground.

15 May 2019: Sheffield Tree Care, working on behalf of the University, will be removing a number of trees behind the villa on Northumberland Road. New trees will be replanted on at least a two to one basis once the building work is complete.

21 May 2019: We are hosting a residents' drop in on Tuesday 21 May, 6-7.30pm, James Smith House (11 - 15 Marlborough Road) to show architect's visuals and the proposed planting scheme along the boundary area between the building and Marlborough Road.

Progress Photos

Social Sciences update March 2021

View more progress photos

Contact us

For project enquiries, please contact the project manager. For general enquiries, contact the EFM Help Desk.

If you're a member of staff or a student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Laura Armitage, Faculty Estates Development Manager, is a useful point of contact:

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