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Construction work on a £28 million project to create new facilities for the National Composites Centre (NCC) in Bristol has reached completion.

The NCC Phase 2 Extension project reached completion in July 2014, following a 14 month construction programme at the Bristol and Bath Science Park site in Emersons Green. The project comprised the creation of a new manufacturing and demonstration space, along with three floors of associated collaborative workspace and knowledge transfer with training facilities.

The project was implemented in order to provide enhanced research and technology development space, composite materials applications and prototype manufacturing facilities for the NCC. The new facilities are extremely important as they will allow the NCC to branch out into new areas of industry to support and enable UK supply chains and manufacturing.

Work began on the project in May 2013 with Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd as the main contractor and Stride Treglown providing all architectural services. With construction work now complete the building will undertake a complete fit-out, along with extensive testing and inspection work to prepare it for full operation in September.

The NCC provides collaborative, open-access, research, technology and people development delivering world-class innovation and knowledge transfer for the design, manufacture and application of composites. The NCC supports UK industry, rapidly deploying innovative and cost-effective composite solutions to academics, engineers and training providers in industrial-scale research, technology and manufacturing facilities.

The NCC’s new building was built on a 3.5 acre site utilising a mix of steel, glass, concrete and high specification insulation. The development covers a total area of 8,700 sq meters, with 2,100 sq meters of high value manufacturing space, 3,100 sq meters of demonstration space and 3,500 sq meters of mixed office, workshop and teaching space.

Work ran smoothly on the project; however because the site is located in an area of rock substructure site levelling was required, which involved a significant amount of cut and fill in addition to excavation. Keen to reuse this excavated material, the construction team transported 750 cu meters of rock to other development projects on the park.

To complete the construction work, an extensive landscaping scheme was undertaken which included the installation of a large car park. In addition, the NCC’s existing service yard was extended to allow access for large structures.

Speaking to Premier Construction, Martin Stubbings of The National Composites Centre, said:

“This project is a continuation of the NCC’s commitment to supporting the UK manufacturing industry and enhancing the careers of all levels of engineering staff whilst promoting the use of composites across all industrial sectors.

“We are installing a large High Pressure Resin Transfer Moulding press and associated equipment which will allow us to address the high rate needs of the automotive industry. It has the potential to reduce 6-7 hour processes to just minutes. The new facilities are in partnership with a range of companies in 10 different sectors such as rail and construction infrastructure, renewables, oil and gas and not just associated with aerospace – this is an important step forward for us. The expanded facilities are important to the continued growth of the NCC and the UK’s adoption of new composite materials and processes, as well as providing support for SME usage and training programmes.”

Martin added:

“The facility will offer significant additional high quality employment with supplementary benefits to local facilities. It already supports many thousands of industrial, academic and student visitors each year and this is expected to increase considerably.”

For more information about the NCC please visit: www.nccuk.com.

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