Nottingham University’s Executive Board permitted a £15m investment into the refurbishment of the Portland hill site and subsequent buildings for students.

The works included the redevelopment of hill space (adjacent to the Portland building) introducing a new hardstanding pavilion by the bus stop with, along with tiered steps leading down to the Portland Building acting as amphitheatre-style seating, with cascading water features.

DNS were contracted to complete bulk excavations on behalf of J Tomlinson.

Initially, DNS were tasked with removing decaying trees and vegetation followed by levelling of imported crush material to the site entrance to allow access for haul lorries and GPS intelligent Komatsu excavator. The topsoil was stripped and stockpiled for later use in landscape mounds.

Volumes were obtained by our engineer, which were manipulated in CAD to provide a 3D machine control model.  This model was uploaded to the DNS machines, enabling them to excavate the intricate amphitheatre final cut and fill specifications to a tolerance measured in mm.

The final part of the project was to create a Plato at the top of the site and excavate a pond to house the new water feature and bus stop.


The area — which is named the ‘Djanogly Terrace’ — will also be used as a screening venue for events such as outdoor cinema nights, big sports events or graduation.


Project Type Site Clearance / Bulk Excavation
Client J Tomlinson Ltd
Completion Date May 2017
Project Size 4,000m2
Contract Value £30k


  • Removal of trees from site
  • Strip out shrubbery and vegetation
  • Strip topsoil into stockpile
  • Excavate to reduced levels using GPS controlled machinery
  • Trim surface of excavations using GPS controlled excavators
  • Supply geo-textile matting and lay stone material for access road

J Tomlinson delivers integrated building solutions, from design and build through to refurbishment and repair.

Their portfolio of services covers the whole building lifecycle from construction to refurbishment, mechanical and electrical services, repairs and maintenance and facilities management. They offer a fully integrated solution, within social housing and the built environment.

They work from a network of regional offices in the East Midlands, West Midlands and Yorkshire, each supported by the head office in Nottingham.

© Copyright 2019 - DNS (Midlands) Ltd