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The ‘living wall’ is one of many striking features

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NG Bailey has finished a £11.5m scheme as part of the University of Bristol’s biggest ever building project

Posted by Dave Higgitt | December 05, 2014 | Facilities

Engineering, IT and facilities services business NG Bailey has completed an £11.5 million contract as part of the biggest ever project undertaken in the 100-year history of one of the UK’s top research universities.

The company provided all the electrical, mechanical and water distribution services for the flagship “super green” life sciences building at the University of Bristol, officially opened by Sir David Attenborough.

Created to inspire scientists and researchers of the future, the £56.5m development is expected to cement the university’s role as a favoured filming location for Sir David and the BBC Natural History Unit.

The 13,580 sqm new build – designed by architects Sheppard Robson – will house the school of biological sciences and colleague from other disciplines working in the field of life sciences. Split into three zones, the state-of-the-art structure includes a five-storey laboratory wing, a double-height plant room and greenhouses for plant studies.

The focal point, a central atrium, leads to both the laboratory wing and a five-storey office wing containing administration, computer facilities, seminar rooms and a cafe.

A fully collaborative approach saw NG Bailey’s engineering, IT services and offsite manufacture divisions working together to complete a full scope of mechanical and electrical services alongside main contractor Vinci Construction UK.

Works included the installation of all electrical systems for the building including CCTV and intruder detection, lighting control, and intercom systems as well as ensuring all the needs of people with disabilities were met.

The new building’s low-impact design meant specialists from NG Bailey were also tasked with installing a system to collect rainwater to be used to flush toilets, and solar panels to heat the building’s water.

NG Bailey project manager Steve Cox said: “This was an 18-month project that drew upon a raft of different specialisms across the company, creating a building for a university ranked among the world’s top 30 that will become a beacon for science.

“It is a state-of-the-art facility and its innovative design – incorporating a ‘sky lounge’ and floating meeting pods – is a stand-out major asset to the university, its staff and its students.

“The building’s location in the city centre generated a series of complex challenges to contractors, but these were overcome thanks to good planning, a painstaking attention to detail and ways of working that captured best practice in their field.”

Cox added: “Reducing impact on the environment is always a major focus for any project NG Bailey is asked to deliver. We always aim to ensure we can incorporate some form of energy-efficient systems at the design stage in both retrofit and new build projects.

“With its significant energy-saving measures and sympathetic design – including bat roosts and a green ‘living wall’ measuring 41ft by 24ft and containing more than 6,700 plants – the new life sciences building is a great example of what can be achieved through considerate design and construction.

“As such the building and surrounding area has been rated BREEAM ‘excellent’, a mark of it being highly sustainable and environmental friendly.”

The University of Bristol has been steadily rising through the rankings as one of the top ten places study biological sciences. It is hoped the completion of the new life sciences building will secure the city a top five place amongst the likes of Cambridge and Oxford in the coming years.

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