Contractor Willmott Dixon has completed the initial phase of construction for the School of Engineering development at the University of Birmingham with Covid-19 safe working practices in place.
The university collaborated with the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) to commission the £46.5m new Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems facility designed by Associated Architects.
Research England provided £16.4m funding for the facility, which is situated within the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE).
The 3,000m² facility has been procured through the Constructing West Midlands framework and offers a variety of contemporary and flexible design and research space.
Industry partners can use the open offices, meeting rooms, seminar rooms and event spaces at the facility to work directly with university experts and researchers.
Willmott Dixon Midlands deputy managing director Nick Gibb said: “Despite completing the final stages of the project during the Covid-19 pandemic, our teams optimised industry-leading safety and social distancing measures, which meant we were able to remain on-site during the pandemic and ultimately deliver this phase of the project on time.
“This development is the third major partnership we have entered into with the University of Birmingham, having recently completed the Teaching and Learning Building, along with the Green Heart campus development.”
The second and final stage of the School of Engineering project is expected to be completed early next year.
The Centre of Excellence for Digital Systems features project labs, light labs and equipment, including cab simulators, a signalling control centre and cybersecurity test lab, along with electronic fabrication.
Created to align with the rail industry, it features Corten cladding to give the same visual impact as railway lines and track signalling.