“My experience is with students.” Lizzie Healey joined LOFT in 2020 as a Student Sales Manager. Having worked in the construction and interiors industry for over 10 years, specifically on PBSA projects, Lizzie has been involved in all areas, including: estimating, procurement, operations and commercial, and has an invaluable understanding of the student accommodation sector.
LOFT has worked with some of the most prolific student accommodation names in the industry. We asked Lizzie the reason behind such successful client relationships. “Our clients know that when they come to us, we have the knowledge and experience. We provide a full end-to-end design and supply service from initial brief and project inception, through to project management, completion and replenishment.”
The student accommodation industry has seen exponential growth, as JLL predicts there will be a further 500,000 full time students by 2030. It’s clear there’s no chance of the sector slowing down.
International students accounted for most of the growth in full-time students last year. Their numbers rose 25,500 between 2017/18 and 2018/19. We asked Lizzie how this has changed the appeal to students. “The majority of overseas students choose their accommodation via the internet and rarely view physically, meaning the rooms and amenities need to stand out from all the others. This is why our design team work closely with the client to ensure the show flats are fully staged along with the amenity spaces, presenting a home from home environment.”
Lizzie has also noticed how expectations in design have changed. “The specification has gone from plain, dull rooms to more design led furniture incorporating the features of the area and city. Accommodation providers want to do something different; they want to stand out, ensuring their development catches eyes of potential tenants in the competitive market.” LOFT fully understand the rising expectations of today’s student and the need to stay at the forefront of the student furniture sector by creating design-led, home-from-home environments for students supported by an all-inclusive service. With a dedicated Interior Design team with specialist knowledge of the student accommodation sector, we work with clients to achieve the vision.
Lizzie explains what the future holds for her sector. “There’s a fine line between student and co-living. The general cost of living is increasing and the addition of co-living following university is getting more and more popular. The two sectors are now very similar in terms of design and offer millennials a home environment with a sense of community.
In terms of design, Lizzie predicts a shift in standards. “The student accommodation industry is going from strength to strength, the current climate is making us all become a lot more environmentally aware and I feel this is going to have a huge effect on how we design and deliver our projects. Lizzie also mentions the importance of student’s mental wellbeing. “Design is becoming increasingly better for mental health; it is important to provide areas in which students can be together and not feel restricted to their rooms” She’s referring to the increase in social spaces, which leave a lasting impression on residents and fosters community interaction. Therefore, enhancing the living experience and improving learning potential.
We are positive that Lizzie will continue to provide just that. LOFT are proud to be partnering with the Class of 2020, a think tank to help future the learning, living and working in university cities. Class of 2020 explained that “During this time when spatial design is essential for our student accommodation community, we are proud to have a partner on board that can offer solutions.”