Morgan Sindall Construction has won a £5 million contract to deliver a new specialist SME innovation hub for Exeter Science Park.
Once complete, the ‘Grow-out Building’ will be net-zero carbon and will support knowledge-led small and medium enterprises working in the science, technology, engineering, maths and medical (STEMM) sectors.
Exeter Science Park procured the main contractor through the Southern Construction Framework (SCF): a joint venture between Devon and Hampshire County Councils which offers support to public sector construction projects across the south of England.
Funding for the project comes from the UK government’s Getting Building Fund - a £900 million stimulus package aimed at delivering ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects to catalyse economic growth. Heart of the South West LEP (HoTSW LEP) successfully bid for £35.4 million of this fund, with the ‘Grow-out Building’ one of the flagship innovation projects it put forward as part of the bid. The early and collaborative engagement facilitated by the framework procurement route has enabled the project to be brought to site just seven months after funding was secured.
To celebrate the start on-site, and in light of coronavirus restrictions, Exeter Science Park hosted a virtual ground-breaking ceremony on 12 February. In attendance was Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park as well as Karl Tucker, Chair of the HoTSW LEP.
Construction is scheduled to complete before the end of the year . All work will be carried out in compliance with current coronavirus restrictions with special pedestrian walkways constructed at the live campus site to enable social distancing.
The three-storey, 1,300 square metre building has been designed to accommodate flexible office and laboratory workspace, configurable from 65 square metres to 335 square metres. The first and second floors will be divided into four of these specialist workspace areas, while the ground floor will have a reception area and three communal meeting rooms.
BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification
Thanks to a sustainable design by Grainge Architects, the design has been given a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification. Solar panels will be installed on the building to offset energy consumption. Bike hoops and a bike storage shed will also be built to encourage cycling to work and improved employee wellbeing.
Landscaping works will also be carried out at the rear of the building to create 12 new car parking spaces, two of which will be for disabled use.
Morgan Sindall Construction was selected for the project due to its proven experience and logistical capability in the safe and efficient delivery of high-quality laboratory space within the region. Earlier this month, the company handed over a cutting-edge facility for the University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, which is also located at the science park.
Brian Rice, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We are really pleased to celebrate the start of work with this virtual ceremony. Exeter Science Park is a key asset for the region’s knowledge economy. The new building will provide the ideal space to scale for innovative SMEs working in high-growth STEMM industries. With a net-zero carbon design, the development exemplifies the standard new builds should strive for if the UK is to achieve a green recovery.
“Taking this project from planning to ground-breaking in just over six months required the effective collaboration and early engagement made possible by the Southern Construction Framework procurement route. We look forward to working closely with everyone involved to ensure the scheme is delivered safely and efficiently.”
Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said: “It’s difficult to emphasise how fast this project has reached this point - it really is quite remarkable. Compared to a conventional build programme, we’ve saved up to 33% of the time involved. To get to this point means that everybody has had to play their part, doing a wide variety of things in order to get us to this position. This has required close collaboration between the Exeter Science Park, Morgan Sindall Construction, LHC Design working for NPS South West Property Consultants and the Southern Construction Framework. We only found out on the 1st August that we had secured the funding so this is a great achievement for all involved. It’s that collaboration that is going to be key to the success of this building moving forward.
“Exeter Science Park helps innovative STEMM companies to deliver extraordinary growth and these are exactly the kinds of businesses that will help accelerate economic recovery post COVID-19. This development marks the start of the next phase of growth for the park and provides firms with the space to grow and thrive.”
- For more information about this news release please contact Helena Young at Influential on 07708896211 email [email protected]
How will the Grow-out building support growth in the South West?
Find out more in this video from the team at Exeter Science Park, which includes some more visuals of the design of the building: