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Universities want Leaving Cert moved to May to ease pressure on students

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Universities want Leaving Cert exams to be shifted to May to reduce stress on students and give families more time to find accommodation when college offers are made.

Their comments follow a report in The Irish Times on Monday that Leaving Cert results and college offers may be issued later than the traditional mid-August date.

Students and colleges fear that late results could delay the start of the academic year for thousands of first-year students and results in a last-minute scramble for accommodation.

In a letter to the Minister for Education Norma Foley, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) – which represents eight universities – warned that late results would have a “hugely disruptive” effect on Leaving Cert students’ further study and career options.

Jim Miley, the IUA’s director general, said later than normal results last year resulted in first year students being admitted to third level about three weeks late.

“This meant that the orientation process for first-year students was negatively impacted due to capacity constraints, as all other student cohorts had already returned to college by that time,” he wrote.

“It also resulted in first year students facing an even greater challenge in finding accommodation in an already stressed environment.”

Planning

Mr Miley asked that date be finalised “immediately” to facilitate more orderly planning.

“Even in a ‘normal’ year, results in mid-August are too late. To achieve this, we believe that the final examinations should be brought forward by at least a month, with a similar advance in the results timetable.

The Technological Higher Education Association, which represents technological universities, also warned that delayed entry to higher education would present “quality assurance” issues in relation to a shorter semester for first years, exam pressures, and late publication of timetables for all students.

“Late induction for the first year cohort limits the opportunities for peer interaction with existing students who have returned to class and there is limited availability for academic staff to engage due to teaching commitments,” it said.

“The consequences are not only at an academic management level but for students anticipating the uptake of an offer, early planning in respect of student accommodation remains crucial. Similar consideration attaches to students contemplating a move across international boundaries.”

Education authorities recently told higher education representatives that there are logistical challenges in finalising a date for issuing this year’s results.

These include a deferred sitting of the Leaving Cert exams for Covid-19 reasons and the Government’s decision that the outcomes of this year’s Leaving Cert will on aggregate be “no lower” than last year’s.

Clarity

The Irish Second Level Students’ Union (ISSU) also called for clarity on the results date to given as soon as possible.

ISSU president Emer Neville said it was vital not just for students’ mental health, but also for accommodation deposits and those planning to attend college abroad.

“The ISSU would urge the department to give clarity to these students as soon as possible to mitigate these issues, and also to begin work with international counterparts to ensure students can continue to study abroad should there be delays,” she said.

Ms Neville said the union recognised the importance of the second sitting of exams, which were put in place for students who may fall ill or suffer a bereavement during or before their exams.

“It is vital that the second sitting of exams goes ahead and that they are respected as an important component for the 2022 state exams, they are there for fairness.”

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Verdion starts on logistics development in Nettetal (DE)

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Verdion has started the development of a new €30m logistics facility on the outskirts of Nettetal near the German-Dutch border and Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. The speculative project is part of the value-add strategy of the Verdion European Logistics Fund (VELF) 1, which invests in last-mile logistics and value-add assets in northern and central Europe.

 

On completion in Q2 2023, the new facility at Herrenpfad-Sud 40 will offer 21,560m² of Grade A logistics space in up to four units, with 18,575m² of warehousing with 20 loading bays as well as 950m² of office and mezzanine space.

 

Verdion is targeting a DGNB Gold sustainability certificate for the highly energy-efficient building, which will not be using fossil fuels as a primary energy source and provides charging points for electric vehicles and cycle parking for a carbon-neutral commute. Additionally, the roof and electrical infrastructure will be prepared for solar energy generation. The site itself is located in the established Herrenpfad Sud industrial estate in Nettetal between Monchengladbach and Venlo, directly on the German-Dutch border and within striking distance of Germany’s largest conurbation, the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.

 

Florian Stobe, Head of Investment – Germany at Verdion, said: “Within the framework of Verdion’s sustainability strategy, we determined that rather than modernising and extending the existing building as originally planned, a full-scale redevelopment would better serve this market and meet the fund’s ESG standards. We are already seeing a great deal of interest in the new space, based on its strategic location and the strength of demand for last-mile distribution space for customers in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. With this strategy in Nettetal and other assets in the VELF 1 fund coming forward, we are creating value at the same time as providing new space in undersupplied markets.”

 

 

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LaSalle and Accumulata to develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building (GB)

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LaSalle Investment Management, acting in collaboration with ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, will develop Munich’s first hybrid timber office building. The building is being constructed on behalf of Encore+, LaSalle’s flagship pan-European fund. Situated on Elsenheimerstrasse in the city’s Westend district, the office building will have a floor area of approximately 16,000m². With dismantling of the existing building on site already underway and construction due to begin in the third quarter of this year, the project is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2024. Lettings are already being marketed in collaboration with CBRE, the lead estate agent.

 

Designed by the leading Munich-based architectural firm Oliv Architekten, the asset will provide flexible, multifunctional spaces including a ground-floor café/bistro and landscaped roof terrace, as well as various wellness amenities, including a yoga studio and a relaxation lounge. Tenants will also enjoy bicycle parking, electric charging points and a smart underground car parking facility. Furthermore, the building will provide customisable office units and creative collaboration spaces, ensuring the asset is well-positioned for the future.

 

In terms of its environmental credentials, the project meets the highest sustainability standards across all areas, including construction, materials and operations. Having already received a DGNB “Platinum” precertification, the asset will be constructed using concrete reclaimed from the existing building currently situated at this location. All materials used in construction will be documented in a material passport, showing where and how the various components were sourced and installed, ensuring they can be repurposed at the end of their service life. These measures are projected to reduce embodied carbon by up to 25%. Embodied carbon will be low at 366kg CO2e/m², significantly below the RICS Building Carbon Database (offices) average benchmark of 1291kg CO2e/m².

 

The use of timber in the building’s load-bearing structure will ensure that approximately 1,100 tonnes of carbon will remain stored in the building fabric, rather than emitted into the atmosphere. During the course of the asset’s lifespan, emissions associated with the building’s operation will be reduced by 65% in comparison to a typical office building through the integration of a photovoltaic system, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems and the use of a ground water heat pump. The building will also harvest and store rainwater, supplying irrigation systems for the benefit of surrounding green areas.

 

David Ironside, Fund Manager of Encore+ at LaSalle Investment Management, commented: “This is an industry-leading and best-in-class project. The first of its kind in Munich, its design in accordance with circular economy principles and resource-conserving operation will serve as a benchmark in sustainable real estate. Located in one of the most sought-after office submarkets in Munich, the property will be extremely well placed to meet the ever-evolving demands of future tenants around sustainability, quality, amenities and infrastructure while providing attractive long-term returns for our investors.”

 

Markus Diegelmann, Managing Partner at ACCUMULATA Real Estate Group, added: “The start of demolition marks an exciting first step in the development of what will be one of the most sustainable office projects in Munich. At ACCUMULATA, we aim to promote the concepts of urban mining and the circular economy within the construction sector and this project is firmly aligned with this objective. By utilising ultra-high-quality and recyclable materials, we are creating an office building that can meet occupiers’ shifting requirements, both in terms of flexible working environments and sustainability standards.”

 

Georg Illichmann, Managing Director at CBRE GmbH, said: “As the first hybrid timber office building to be constructed in Munich, the project achieves all the modern-day requirements tenants demand from office buildings: easy accessibility to public transport, sustainability credentials and working spaces that promote communication, creativity and innovation. The building’s use of timber, unique to the Munich office market, will not only support the building’s sustainability credentials but also the wellbeing of occupiers. At CBRE, we are proud to be leading on the marketing of this unique asset and be involved in ground-breaking project in the German real estate market as the lead estate agent.”

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Cain provides €99.7m for London office development (GB)

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Cain International has agreed an €99.7m (£86m) development loan with BauMont Real Estate Capital  and YardNine for the development of a 95,000ft² highly sustainable, best in class office-scheme at 100 Fetter Lane in central London known as ‘Edenica’. The asset was acquired by BauMont in January 2021 with development partner, YardNine. Located in City Mid-town, in close proximity to Farringdon, the development benefits from easy access to the newly opened Elizabeth Line via Farringdon, as well as City Thameslink and Chancery Lane stations, with a diverse range of cultural, leisure, retail and educational amenities nearby.

 

The asset received planning consent in September 2021 for the delivery of a new 12-storey development, with over 8,000ft² of roof gardens, a new pedestrian route and garden square at ground level, alongside more than 230 cycle spaces. In addition to the light filled workspace the scheme will include a new café and F&B uses.

 

The building, situated at 100 Fetter Lane, has been named ‘Edenica’, a reference to the extensive outdoor spaces which form part of the scheme and adjoin it. The project is targeting the highest environmental standards of BREEAM Outstanding, WiredScore, SmartScore and WELL certifications.  Sustainability, technology and wellbeing are extensively incorporated into the design. This includes voluminous office space with clear heights of over 3 metres, openable windows to enable mixed-mode ventilation, extensive planted terraces to encourage biodiversity and provide significant external breakout spaces, facilities to encourage active modes of travel, and high-performance 100% electric building designed with the Waterman Group to ensure the building uses as little energy as possible and achieves Net Zero carbon emissions in use. Construction work has commenced on site and the scheme is due for completion in Summer 2024. 

 

Tanja Yerolemou-Ennsgraber, Senior Vice President – Real Estate Finance at Cain International, said: “We are excited to partner with an experienced sponsor and developer duo, joining their journey to deliver a best-in class office scheme. The project embraces the needs and desires of the future occupier, being mindful about their experience and bringing it to the fore. BauMont and YardNine have successfully unlocked a fantastic development opportunity and we are pleased to bring our construction financing expertise to the table and see Edenica unfold.” 

 

Damien Pasini, Director at BauMont Real Estate Capital said: “Following the recepit of planning permission last year, securing development financing is another significant milestone for 100 Fetter Lane. We look forward to working with Cain and YardNine to deliver a highly sustainable and innovative workplace in one of Central London’s most vibrant submarkets.”

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