School of Computing

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Constructing Excellence in the North East: Urban Sciences Building wins prestigious construction awards

The Urban Sciences Building, Newcastle’s University’s £58 million flagship project which opened in September 2017, has won five Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) awards.

CENE is a business support organisation working in the region to improve industry performance and to support prosperity in the construction sector. Their annual awards, which took place on Friday 15 June, underline the efforts of industry to effect positive change, reflected in the diversity of categories contested across a wide range of businesses and projects within the North East. Many of the businesses represented at the awards are part of Newcastle University’s rich, embedded industry network. Northumbrian Water, Seymour Civil Engineering, Turner & Townsend, Esh-MWH, Wood Group, Cundall, Bowmer & Kirkland, Ryder Architecture, Sir Robert McAlpine, Mott MacDonald and Environment Agency are only a handful of the businesses with whom the University engages and who not only have a sustained input across projects, but also in research and in supporting student learning outcomes.

The USB scooped the award in every one of the categories in which it was nominated: Integration and Collaborative Working; Sustainability; Digital Construction; Offsite Project of the Year and Building Project of the Year. The project was a collaboration between numerous businesses, including Bowmer & Kirkland, Turner & Townsend, Ryder Architecture, Hawkins Brown, Mott MacDonald, NG Bailey, Dane Architectural Systems, Cairnhill Structures, JD Pierce, Edwards Architecture, BIMBox, Buro Happold and Urban Observatory. The team delivered a building which goes beyond best practice in sustainability, and has an outstanding level of energy efficiency.

As a Building Information Modelling Level 2 project, there was a particular emphasis on early collaboration, staff training and development in support of BIM, common data environments and on improving the quality of shared models and information. Newcastle University’s relationship with Bowmer & Kirkland has followed through into support for the learning and development of undergraduate students in the School of Engineering, who have benefitted from industry-led BIM workshops, site visits, placements and support for professional awareness and career development skills.

Alan Johansen, Bowmer & Kirkland Regional Director for the North East and Scotland, said “We are extremely proud to have been involved in this project which is a shining example of what can be achieved when all stakeholders are determined to deliver a successful project. We worked in collaboration with our client, consultants and supply chain to ensure that this project was something that we could all be proud of. I’ve attended numerous award ceremonies in my time and have never witnessed a project that won five of the categories entered. It’s a fantastic achievement and well deserved by the entire project team.”

The USB houses the School of Computing, and is an inspiring place for world-leading interdisciplinary research at the forefront of sustainability through the National Green Infrastructure Facility, National Centre for Energy Systems Integration, Siemens’ Mindsphere Laboratory, Smart Grid, Decision Theatre and the Urban Observatory.

Iain Garfield and Laura Brown pictured at the awards

published on: 22 June 2018