28 March 2021

STEM facility completes in Bristol

Work on a £7mln specialist science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and creative further education centre at a college in Bristol, UK, has now completed.

 The Brunel Centre building
© The Brunel Centre building

The three-storey Brunel Centre building at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) involved construction and infrastructure consultancy Pick Everard, main contractor Willmott Dixon and architect Hewitt Studios.

Barry Reeves, associate quantity survey at Pick Everard has been working on the project. He notes, ‘Sustainability and user wellbeing were really important to the client when considering this new facility and you can really see that has been integrated into the design throughout the building.

‘During the pre-con phase the decision was made to switch from a traditional steel frame for the building to a cross-laminated timber (CLT) one instead, which had a significant positive impact on the building’s carbon footprint – the switch itself meant we have prevented 445 tonnes of carbon from entering the atmosphere.

‘This approach also meant that the number of people on site at any one time was drastically reduced – something which meant managing COVID restrictions on site was much less challenging than on some traditional constructions’.

He adds, ‘The building is naturally ventilated throughout, uses air source heat pumps, and there is a photovoltaic system integrated into the building’s brise soleil – just one of the examples of putting renewables at the fore of design for students to see every day. The building also features a live monitoring panel in the foyer where students can see exactly how much energy, water and other services the building is using.”

The project team adopted a ‘fabric first’ approach meaning the scheme is highly insulated and sealed, combined with natural ventilation and lighting, solar panels and the CLT frame, delivering a highly sustainable building.