Work has started on the ‘shovel ready’ £17.5 million National Brownfield Institute – putting Wolverhampton and the Midlands on the map for leading the way in brownfield regeneration.
Building contractor, ISG, has broken ground on the site which is located on the University of Wolverhampton’s £120m Springfield Campus. The research centre, designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects, received planning approval in December 2020.
The new build project, taking place on a regenerated brownfield site – the former Springfield brewery – directly addresses the Government agenda of circular economy focusing on the challenges of building new homes and cohesive communities sustainably.
The NBI will be a world-class institute that provides the facility to develop modern methods of building through innovation and partnership with the construction industry, focusing on the practical application of future brownfield regeneration and remediation through the work of research teams, leading policy development and commercial services.
The new Institute will also identify and look to address gaps in current provision, with a particular focus on the digital skills needed to transform the industry, bringing together expertise from across the region and further afield with greater focus on construction design, Building Information Modelling (BIM), off-site, modular construction, and lean construction methodologies.
The NBI will secure the City of Wolverhampton’s position as a leader internationally in sustainable construction, circular economy and brownfield development and will deliver new skills, jobs and opportunities for local people in the city, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University, said:
We’re delighted that this project is moving at a fast pace and we are already marking the beginning of work on site.
The NBI will be at the heart of a West Midlands Construction Training Offer – providing the industry with the skills needed both now and in the future. As well as being at the forefront of a transformation of the way we will build homes and communities, it will also ensure that we learn from research around the world on modern construction and remediation technique.
It will be a working model for brownfield remediation and new construction techniques that can be implemented regionally and nationally and exported around the world, building on existing expertise offered on-site through the West Midlands Construction UTC, the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills and the new School of Architecture & Built Environment.
The NBI project team includes Associate Architects, CPW, Faithful & Gould, Delta Planning, Atkins and MACE.
The 12-acre Springfield Campus is already home to the Thomas Telford University Technical College, Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills and the recently opened £45million School of Architecture and Built Environment. These facilities, combined with the NBI, will lay the foundation for the delivery of a National Centre for Sustainable Construction and Circular Economy, which will focus on sustainability and the climate change emergency.
The NBI will be completed by February 2022.