Innovation centre and campus hub opens at University of Edinburgh

A £23 million animal science innovation centre and campus hub has been officially unveiled at the University of Edinburgh by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Designed by Atkins, the Charnock Bradley Building at the university’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies provides a place at the heart of the campus for staff, students, and businesses to share ideas, innovations and research.

The facility forms part of the University of Edinburgh’s four-phase, 20-year development of the campus to establish it as a world-leading centre of excellence for animal science.

The 7,000m2 sustainable building brings together university students, staff and research scientists into shared facilities including a gym, student services, cafe, teaching laboratory and exhibition space. The building also houses the Roslin Innovation Centre, an ‘incubator’ with research and development laboratories and offices for bioscience companies, including start-ups.

The building is also home to the Easter Bush Innovation Centre, a teaching laboratory used by schools to encourage interest in science and to provide children with access to advanced scientific equipment. The gym and shop will also be available for public use.

Lead architect Neil McLean said: “Our design allowed for open spaces that help build a community between the building users. We’ve designed to allow for maximum adaptability and flexibility within the building. The laboratory and office spaces, for example, can be easily arranged in an open-plan, group, or small-scale format depending on the end-user’s requirements. We wanted the building to be loose and flexible, and able to accommodate any use the tenants envision in future, optimising the space for collaboration and innovation.”

The exterior of the building has two key design elements: a grounded triangular block, clad in natural stone with a living green wall complete with irrigation to fit the surrounding landscape; and an elevated glazed ellipse form. Together, they create a unique identity for a building intended to serve as a hub at the heart of a campus.

Neil said: “The client wanted an iconic design that was distinguishable from the surrounding facilities and allowed for future redevelopment as set out in the campus masterplan, and the team worked exceptionally hard to achieve this vision.”

Sustainability was another key driver for the design. The building achieved a BREEAM excellent rating and has an ambitious 60% CO2 saving over 2007 Scottish Building Regulations. The post-tension flat concrete slabs used in the building design allow for exposed soffits within the office and shared facility areas, bringing the benefit of thermal mass cooling and storage.

Another strategy for high sustainable performance is orientating the building with the offices facing north, which means a mixed-mode cooling and heating strategy can be adopted, avoiding the need for traditional mechanically cooled systems.

Images courtesy of Atkins

University of St Andrews submits Guardbridge staff relocation plans

Plans for a multi-million pound development which will see 400 University of St Andrews staff relocate to the Eden Campus at Guardbridge have been lodged with Fife Council.

To facilitate the strategic move, the former paper mill at Guardbridge will be transformed into a modern working environment for key professional staff.

The £20 million plan will involve the sensitive restoration and refurbishment of buildings to create state-of-the-art office space, storage for library stock, a canteen and associated parking and landscaping. A key part of the development will be a café which will be open to the public as well as University staff.

A new entrance to the Campus will be created to reconnect the community of Guardbridge to the site and make it accessible to the public for the first time in over 150 years.

‌The plans provide for a total office space capacity for 500. It is anticipated that around 100 jobs will be created during the two-year construction and fitting out phase.

The relocation of staff to Eden Campus will ease the pressure on office and parking space in St Andrews and release space in the town centre and North Haugh for teaching and research purposes.

University of St Andrews Quaestor and Factor, Derek Watson, said: “This is a major strategic move for the University which will provide an exceptional working environment for our staff, breathe new life in the local economy of Guardbridge and have a beneficial impact on the town of St Andrews.

“We are committed to rejuvenating the former paper mill site and the development will result in the reuse of existing buildings, introduce a modern yet sympathetic new entrance into the site, and foster a sense of vibrancy and vitality.”

The relocation of University staff to Eden Campus is due to begin in phases from the end of 2019.

All images of the Eden Campus Redevelopment Project are provided courtesy of Atkins

Balfour Beatty enters strategic alliance with Atkins, Mott MacDonald and WSP

Balfour partnership stockBalfour Beatty has today announced the formation of a collaborative UK Strategic Design Consultant Partnership with Atkins, Mott MacDonald and WSP.

The firm said the mutually beneficial partnership will foster a new level of openness, collaboration and innovation never before seen within the construction industry.

The Partnership will focus Balfour Beatty’s procurement of design consultants for its projects towards Atkins, Mott MacDonald and WSP with standard terms and conditions.  A community of practice will bring designers and engineers from the four companies together to find solutions in key areas such as health and safety through design, value engineering and the use of more cost-effective design resources.

Customers will benefit from earlier engagement with a co-ordinated collaborative team and improved, consistent working practices which will ultimately reduce construction and programme costs.

The operation will be led by Balfour Beatty’s newly-appointed Strategic Design Consultant Partnership director, Robin Bashford. Robin will be responsible for implementing the Partnership working with the three design consultants to deliver increased value to customers. Prior to his appointment, Robin held a senior work winning role within Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business and has been with the company since 2013.

Stephen Tarr, managing director for Balfour Beatty’s Major Projects business and executive committee sponsor for the Partnership, said “This newly formed Strategic Design Consultant Partnership represents collaboration in its purest form. Providing a new and refreshed way of working between contractor and designer, I am delighted to announce that we are joining together with Atkins, Mott MacDonald and WSP to deliver the very best of the industry’s ability and capability to provide a complete, refined and Expert offering to our customers.

“This Partnership will draw on decades of industry experience and combine it with the modern-day technological expertise of our engineers and designers to deliver a truly Lean, Expert, Trusted and Safe way of working together as an industry.”

Mike McNicholas, managing director of Atkins’ Infrastructure division, said: “Infrastructure investment continues to be a high priority for the UK, but clients couldn’t be clearer in their message to industry that we need to deliver it differently to provide better value and outcomes for them, their end users and those funding the projects. A greater use of technology is widely acknowledged as one way of doing this, but equally as important will be industry leading companies coming together to innovate and collaborate more effectively. This Partnership is an exciting step forward in achieving these goals.”

Stephen Lawrence, Mott MacDonald’s design partnership director, said: “Our collaboration with Balfour Beatty goes back nearly 35 years and we’re looking forward to building an even stronger working relationship. We’ve worked together to successfully deliver some of the UK’s most well-known infrastructure such as Heathrow T2B, A3 Hindhead and London Underground’s Jubilee Line Extension, and our joint venture Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald continues to provide service excellence in the highways maintenance industry.”

“This strategic partnership will provide access to our global network of experts to offer new ideas, drive value and efficiency into the design process and fully support their ‘Build to Last’ transformation programme,” Stephen added.

Alistair Kennedy, WSP’s executive director responsible for the new partnership, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Balfour Beatty as a strategic partner. Our two companies already work closely together across a wide spectrum of projects and WSP is excited to have the opportunity to be part of this innovative and collaborative approach. We look forward to working together to challenge the status quo for design build contracting in the UK.”

Sir Robert McAlpine secures role on University of Edinburgh’s Quartermile project

University of Edinburgh QuartermileSir Robert McAlpine is to carry out enabling works for the University of Edinburgh on its project to transform the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary into a major educational hub.

A change of use and restoration application to extend the A-listed surgical building to provide teaching and learning spaces, a major new public event space, library and cafe and bar was submitted by the University last week.

Now the Construction Enquirer has reported that Sir Robert McAlpine has scooped the main enabling works with a £3.6 million bid.

Enabling works will consist of asbestos removal, full trip of finishes and services back to structure, roofing repairs and demolition of original foundations and cellars in parts of the building complex.

The University plans to restore and extend the existing buildings to form a wide range of teaching and learning spaces under plans drawn up by architect Bennetts Associates.

The architects intend to optimise conservation of key features of the 19th century building including the retention and restoration of the stone walls, slate roofs and entrance hall.

New four-storey “infill buildings” will be constructed in the two courtyards between the east and west hospital wards and will provide space for lecture halls and teaching spaces.

Developers will also remove the existing gatehouse directly in front of the main entrance on Lauriston Place to make way for a new entrance square.

Project and programme management consultancy, Faithful+Gould is leading the redevelopment of the project at Lauriston Place, supported by structural engineer Will Rudd Davidson and Atkins’ Glasgow office as services engineer, with investment from built environment specialist Scape Group.

If approved, work could start by 2018 and be ready for occupation by 2021.

Four design firms chasing £50m A96 upgrade contract

A96Four design consultancies or joint ventures are to be invited to bid for the contract for a 26-mile stretch of the A96 from east of Huntly to Aberdeen.

The contract, worth up to £50 million, is expected to be awarded later this year.

The road forms the eastern section of the Scottish Government’s plan to dual the A96 from Inverness to Aberdeen by 2030.

AECOM Limited, Amey Arup joint venture, Atkins WSP joint venture and Jacobs UK Ltd have been invited to tender for the work.

Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, said: “This major contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that will bring to the north-east and the Highland’s, including improved journey time and reliability, improved connectivity and improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting Scotland’s two most northerly cities.

“When this contract is awarded later this year, design work for the eastern section will step up a gear with route option assessment work getting underway. This contract will also provide the successful bidders with steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work, so it will be a boost for the local and national economy.

“At the same time, we are progressing other parts of the A96 Dualling programme with draft Orders published for the Inverness to Nairn (including Nairn Bypass) late last year. Design work is also underway for the western section between Hardmuir and Fochabers and we hope to let the public see and comment on the options being developed in the summer.”

Two joint ventures land £120m Scottish Water contract

Scottish_WaterScottish Water has appointed two joint ventures to provide technical consultancy support in its 2015-2021 investment programme.

ARC, comprising of Atkins and RPS, will share the £120 million contract with m2, made up of MWH and Mott MacDonald.

Scottish Water’s 2015-21 investment programme will see both maintenance and improvements to existing assets – such as pipes, pumping stations and water treatment works. Scottish Water has an option to extend the six year agreement to 2027.

Selected following an extensive procurement process, the two joint ventures form a framework of consultancy contractors which will be used to support Scottish Water and its construction Alliance partners in the delivery of construction and maintenance projects for the benefit of customers between now and 2021.

ARC and moffer a wide range of consultancy services for water and waste water assets including feasibility studies, data collection, modelling, project management and design & development solutions.

The joint ventures have pledged to recruit a small number of Modern Apprentices as part of the contract.

Simon Parsons, director of strategic customer service planning at Scottish Water, said: “I am delighted with the appointment of these important partners to help us deliver the investment programme and deliver the right solution for communities as we work to improve drinking water and deal with waste water safely before returning it to the environment. ARC and m² possess a level of expertise which supports the delivery of our new investment programme.

“The new investment programme will help support vital employment in the Scottish economy while enabling Scottish Water to build on the significant improvements made to water and waste water services in recent years. This will ensure our customers continue to receive fresh, clean drinking water, while at the same time benefitting from one of the best value water and waste water services in the UK.”

Paul Aitken, chief operating officer of ARC, said: “Our mission is to support Scottish Water improve its service to of customers and communities across Scotland by promoting more effective, resilient and efficient asset and operational solutions. Our ‘Strategy to Operations’ delivery model will provide an exceptional platform for effective totex-driven decision making.”

Judy Anderson, framework director of m2, said: “We are excited to be part of Scottish Water’s plans to achieve success in SR15. I believe that m2 brings the right combination of talented and experienced people, to complement and support Scottish Water’s own resources in achieving its vision to be Scotland’s most valued trusted business.”

To deliver the investment programme, a new delivery model has been developed which involves working in partnership with three new Alliances and Scottish Water’s in house delivery team, Managed Delivery. ARC and m² will provide technical consultancy support to the in-house delivery team at a local level by ensuring efficient delivery of improvements to these assets.

Barr wins £25m Edinburgh University campus deal

Easter Bush Campus

Easter Bush Campus

Barr Construction has been awarded a £25 million contract for a new building complex at University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus in Roslin, Midlothian.

The Atkins-designed scheme is to provide veterinary students and university staff with specialist research facilities, including teaching laboratories, offices and an exhibition space. The innovation centre and campus hub at Easter Bush will provide incubator space for animal bioscience; specialist facilities for research and further campus facilities including a shop, public outreach centre and multi faith room.

This will be one of the final projects delivered under the Barr Construction banner following the recent merger with McLaughlin & Harvey.

The centre is to include a glazed atrium with the building incorporating a series of bridges at higher levels to link laboratory spaces. As well as the new innovation centre, Atkins is also designing an associated energy centre that will provide the building and the wider community with heat.

Main contractors Barr Construction will create bright and airy laboratories with 285 workstations and will offer shared support areas including tissue culture rooms, incubator space, cold rooms, dark rooms, and changing facilities.

Adjacent to the laboratories, office spaces will provide meeting rooms and interactive space for over 380 scientists; extending and promoting the ongoing collaboration between the UK Bioscience research base and The Roslin Institute, Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), who are already based on the campus.

The iconic building will accommodate the International Centre for Livestock Improvement and Midlothian Science Outreach Centre.

Paul Griffen, construction director at Barr Construction, said: “The new building of the Easter Bush Innovation Centre will be an iconic gateway building within the Easter Bush Campus for the University of Edinburgh, and will act as a visual indicator of the University’s commitment to research excellence.

“We are enormously proud to be playing the key role in delivering such an outstanding building and are committed to ensuring it is completed to the very highest standards.”

Val White, Campus Operating Officer at the Easter Bush Campus, said: “This building will bring together the research and enterprise activities into a vibrant interactive core at the heart of the campus.”

John Mackenzie, Chief Executive of the Easter Bush Innovation Centre, said “This provides an opportunity to extend and promote our collaborative commercial research, while providing the necessary space to extend and develop strategic partnering opportunities with large and small businesses.”

Barr Construction will begin work in April 2015 and the extension is expected to be complete by December 2016.

Atkins / Mouchel JV wins third and final A9 road dualling contract

A joint venture of Atkins and Mouchel has secured the last of three design contracts in the project to upgrade the A9 to a dual carriageway.

The £40 million contract involves design work for the road between Dalraddy and Inverness.

Earlier this year, the contract for the A9 between Glen Garry and the Pass of Birnam, valued at up to £60m, was awarded to engineering firm Jacobs. CH2MHill/Fairhurst is working on the Glen Garry to Dalraddy contract.

The Scottish Government has committed to dualling the Perth to Inverness route – the longest trunk road in the country – by 2025.

Announcing the deal, cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities Keith Brown said nearly 40 jobs for young people are being provided with more on the way.

He said all three design contracts, worth around £120 million in total, are providing full-time and placement opportunities for apprentices, work experience students and graduates.

Speaking alongside some young people already benefitting from the multi-million design contracts, Mr Brown said: “The appointment of the final design contractor for the mammoth A9 dualling project marks another significant milestone. The £120m we are investing in its detailed design, coupled with the start of construction on the first section to be dualled expected next summer, underlines our determination to deliver the entire 80-mile dualling programme by 2025.

“The programme is also securing jobs here in Scotland and opening up new opportunities for our young people looking to start their careers. A dedicated workforce based in Scotland of more than 200 are now working on the many complex strands of the A9 dualling design programme, with the team expected to expand again soon. This has allowed us to secure graduate, apprenticeship and students positions for nearly 40 young people to ensure they gain steady work and valuable job experience – with more of these opportunities for young people to come in the very near future.

“These contracts and the sub-contracting work which will flow from them, and the number of apprentices, work experience students and graduates already benefitting from the dualling programme, reinforces how vital our investment in infrastructure is in providing new job opportunities for Scotland’s young people.

“I want to see more of this kind of investment and this vital project, one of the Scottish Government’s biggest, will not only improve links from central Scotland to the Highlands and Islands, but open the door to more of Scotland’s young people looking to get on the jobs ladder and help them move up in their careers.”

David Allen, graduate civil engineer with CH2M HILL/Fairhurst Joint Venture said: “It’s great to be working on such an important, landmark project so early in my career and am currently working on the design development of junctions, looking at options and potential layouts.

“My involvement in the A9 will be hugely beneficial for my professional development and as a young engineer trained and working in Scotland, it has provided me with a great start to my career, enabling me to work on a project of national significance.”

Craig Ritchie, Jacobs graduate engineer added: “I decided to apply for a place with Jacobs on their Graduate Development Programme at the end of my course because it would give me the opportunity to develop my engineering skills within a company that is focused on safety.

“I joined Jacobs recently and since then I’ve been fully engaged as part of the A9 dualling programme. I am looking forward to the challenges and opportunities provided by the project over the next few years.”

Subject to the mandatory standstill period the Atkins Mouchel joint venture will start work on the section of the route nearest to Inverness next month and will mobilise their workforce in the coming weeks.

This investment also complements other work being progressed on the ground to improve the safety and performance of the A9, with the average speed cameras on the A9 now up and running, as well as the introduction of the 50 mph HGV pilot.