22/06/2018 – Urban Sciences Building Paves The Way For Sustainability

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Last Friday (15 June) the North East construction industry came together to celebrate the excellent projects and amazing people of the industry, at the Constructing Excellence North East Awards.

It was the fourteenth year of the awards where companies, projects and individuals are recognised by their peers for excelling over the last year. There were 15 award categories including, Integration & Collaborative Working, Innovation, Digital Construction, Health, Safety & Wellbeing and the prestigious Project of the Year.

The big winners of the night were Newcastle University’s £59m Urban Sciences Building (USB), who picked up 5 awards. Opened in September 2017, the USB is a flagship development located on the £350m Newcastle Helix regeneration site in Newcastle and is home to the School of Computing. It has been built not only to provide a world class academic space but to inform the next generation of urban sustainability. The building and its surroundings are themselves experiments that use micro-metering to provide detailed, real time performance data. This will be used to inform the future design of building services, materials selection, urban drainage, energy systems and urban infrastructure. The construction process was just as impressive as the end result. Not only was it delivered on time, on budget, but Bowmer & Kirkland’s use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the project has set new standards for the university in the management of residual risk in build projects.

The building won in the Integration and Collaborative Working category, for its use of an open communication tool which housed all information digitally for the project. All team members from the client to subcontractors were given access for effective communication, enabling a holistic and collaborative approach to document management.

Design monitoring groups helped the client and end users understand design and coordination issues and 3D models enhanced their understanding and sense of building ownership. The project also triumphed in both the Sustainable and Digital Construction categories. It is a sustainable building as demonstrated by achieving a BREEAM Excellent status and being built in conjunction with a bespoke sustainability framework. Demonstrating collaboration is key to the successful delivery of a complex project and the team did just that. They engaged with the stakeholders and clients from the outset and shared information across the team using multiple tools including 3D model software, fortnightly model audit reports, snagging and QR apps.

To top off an already successful night, the building also won Offsite Project of the Year and the prestigious Building Project of the Year, more thoroughly deserved awards. We’re already lucky enough in the North East to have a built environment littered with striking landmarks, great achievements and a rich history. The Urban Sciences Building now gives us a project that others will look to and study in the future as engineers, designers and researchers around the world seek to develop cities sustainably.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.