Work begins on world-leading National Composite Centre

Work has begun on building a new world-class facility in Bristol that will bring together leading industry experts and academics in the growing area of composites research and manufacture.

The National Composite Centre (NCC) will be constructed at the Science Park, or S-Park, in Emerson’s Green, between Bristol and Bath, The Centre is collaboration with between the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and the University of Bristol. So far Vestas, Rolls Royce, AgustaWestland, Airbus UK, and GKN have committed to participate in the centre. It will also forge links with other centres of advanced manufacturing expertise across the UK.

The ambition of those behind the NCC is that it will be a one-stop centre of excellence in composites; light-weight, high performance materials that are key to cutting the environmental impact of industries that have traditionally been heavy carbon emitters. As with many environmental measures, increases in efficiency will also deliver cost reductions.

The Centre will house leading industry researchers and engineers and provide manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale, capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts and rapid manufacturing processes. This centre will have a cross-sectoral focus.

Bristol based contractor Kier Western has been appointed to build the new facility, which is being funded by SWRDA, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the European Regional Development Fund.

Patrick Finch, Bursar at the University of Bristol, said: “This marks an important stage in the realisation of the National Composites Centre. A high quality design has been developed by our project team, led by Bristol architects Stride Treglown, as befits the first building to be completed at S-Park. The building is designed to a BREEAM Excellent environmental rating, one of the first industrial buildings in Bristol to achieve this standard. “It will include renewable energy technologies, with a roof incorporating photovoltaic cells to generate solar electricity to help power the Centre.”

A fast track construction programme should see the new building completed in spring 2011, with a formal opening later in the year once all plant and equipment is in place.

Peter Young, Managing Director of Kier Western, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as construction partner to work alongside the University of Bristol and the delivery team on this strategically important development both for Bristol and the wider economic community of the South West.”

The project team also includes Cyril Sweett as project manager and cost consultant, Aecom as services engineer and Halcrow as civil and structural engineers. Alder King advised on site acquisition.

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