The £5 million Grow-Out Space, which is net-zero carbon for operational energy, will house up to 100 jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine sectors (STEMM), helping to drive the South West’s economic recovery post-Covid.
A ‘topping out’ ceremony has taken place at the new three-storey building, just off J29 of the M5, to mark a key stage of the build. Due for completion in November, the first tenants are expected to take up residence by the end of the year.
As the latest analysis from the KPMG UK Economic Outlook Report reveals, the South West economy saw the fastest growth of all UK regions in summer 2020, the new Grow-Out Space is to play a significant role in supporting companies and infrastructure in the future.
The 14,000 sq ft building has been designed to provide flexible office and laboratory space for up to 11 firms. It will be net-zero carbon for operational energy and BREEAM Excellent, a method used to assess its sustainability.
It offers a stepping stone for maturing businesses hoping to move on from from the Science Park Centre’s incubation space which is for small, fast growing companies. When these existing tenants move into the new facility they will release space for smaller start-ups looking to move onto the site.
Construction work began at the Park just five months ago and the project has seen the fastest turnaround of any building scheme undertaken there. The Park has also responded to a growing demand in the last 12 months for laboratory space, with the building’s design being changed so all three floors can accommodate laboratories.
Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said: “Getting to this point has required outstanding collaboration. Everyone has played their part and the hard work of colleagues at Exeter Science Park, Morgan Sindall, NPS South West Limited and the Southern Construction Framework, has really made this happen. This quick turnaround has seen us save up to 33% of the time involved, compared to a conventional build programme.
“Exeter Science Park helps innovative STEMM companies to deliver extraordinary growth and these are exactly the kinds of businesses that will help accelerate economic recovery and drive the economy forward as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. This development marks the next important phase of growth for the Park and provides firms with new space to grow and thrive.”
Funding was secured in August 2020 from the Government’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ and allocated to Exeter Science Park by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) from their £35.4 million share of the national pot.
It was one of the first Getting Building Fund projects to begin construction in the area and this was made possible thanks to collaboration between client, consultants, contractors and designers. Within a few months of funding being secured, detailed designs were drawn up, a planning application submitted and contractor Morgan Sindall procured through the Southern Construction Framework and appointed in October 2020. Nearly three quarters of the men and women involved during the construction phase are from the Greater Exeter area.
Brian Rice, Morgan Sindall Construction Area Director, said: “The Grow-Out Space will provide a place for innovation-led businesses to thrive. Its design and unerring focus on sustainability sets a new precedent for the standards fast-growing companies can expect.
“As with all of our schemes, we have looked to boost the regional economy by routing work through the local supply chain wherever possible.
“Our team and project partners have worked collaboratively and tirelessly to ensure this project is delivered quickly. The Southern Construction Framework has been a key enabler; working with Exeter Science Park to reduce lead times significantly. We’re excited to see this key asset for the region’s knowledge economy coming to life and to mark this topping out milestone on schedule.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s fantastic to see this innovative new facility preparing to open at Exeter Science Park. It will provide valuable innovation space for STEMM businesses, supporting them to grow and boosting employment for the city and region.
“We’re delighted to support it with funding from HotSW LEP’s Getting Building Fund. Exeter Science Park is a thriving business location and has an important role to play as we look to rebuild local economies and build back better with a cleaner and more inclusive economy.”
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP, said: “I’m delighted that £5 million Government investment has helped the construction of the Exeter Science Park Grow-out Building. By creating up to 100 new jobs and helping to attract further investment, this project will support the long-term prosperity of Devon and bring many opportunities to the community.”
The Grow-out Building 3 has been designed by architects LHC Design, working for NPS South West Property Consultants, and procured using the Southern Construction Framework.
Morgan Sindall Construction’s supply chain includes own design team includes Grainge Architects, SDS mechanical & engineering consultants, and structural engineer Clarke Bond.
Exeter Science Park Limited is the Park developer and has four shareholders: Devon County Council, the University of Exeter, East Devon District Council and Exeter City Council.