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National Composites Centre wins award for design and innovation

Peter Chivers, Chief Executive of the NCC, outside the award-winning building

Peter Chivers, Chief Executive of the NCC, outside the award-winning building

Press release issued: 14 May 2012

A new £25million University of Bristol research centre has won a highly commended award for its innovative design. The National Composites Centre (NCC), which sees industry researchers and academic experts come together at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, received praise for its entry into the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Awards South West.

The National Composites Centre (NCC), which sees industry researchers and academic experts come together at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, received praise for its entry into the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Awards South West.

A total of 41 buildings were entered into the awards, which seek to honour the most inspirational and innovative developments from across the region.

The NCC was runner-up in the Design and Innovation category, which was ultimately won by The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care in Bath.

Patrick Finch, Bursar and Director of Estates at the University of Bristol, said: “This prestigious award from the RICS is a wonderful recognition of the quality of the National Composites Centre, in both design and execution.

“It is remarkable to reflect that the award-winning design was put together in under six months to meet the challenging construction programme. The architects Stride Treglown did an outstanding job for the University and for SWRDA, who jointly promoted the project.”

The NCC houses a brand new research facility for composite materials, which are increasingly used to improve efficiency in the aerospace, automotive and wind turbine industries.

Building work began in August 2010 and it was finished in June last year, before Business Secretary Vince Cable formally opened the 70,000 sq ft (6,500 sq m) building in November.

More than 200 leading industry researchers and academic experts are based at the centre, working together to speed new technologies through the design and laboratory phases and into production.

The centre features a 138.46kWp roof-mounted solar photovoltaic installation, incorporating over 600 Moser Baer 230Wp photovoltaic panels which generate enough electricity to help power the centre and offset the building's carbon emissions.

Luay Al-Khatib, RICS Director South and West, said: “Each year, the South West Awards are presented to the most inspirational initiatives and innovative developments from across the region, and this year's winners have more than excelled in the criteria of the category they entered. The South West has seen some world-class examples of development this year, and we honour the very finest with our awards. We offer the winners our congratulations and wish each of them the best of luck at the national awards later this year.

“RICS South West also offer a hearty well done to the highly commended project teams, as well as praise to all entrants for the passion, drive and commitment that they have clearly displayed in delivering their projects.”

Details of the other winners are available from the RICS’ press release.

Further information

About the National Composites Centre:

The NCC is a £25million investment supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the South West Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The NCC is also part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Technology and Innovation Centre initiative, an elite network of world-leading technology and innovation centres to transform the UK’s capability for innovation, managed by the Technology Strategy Board.

In addition, the centre has powerful support from industry with the private sector being involved from the inception. AgustaWestland, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN, Umeco and Vestas have committed almost £5.5million of work over three years.

About composite materials and the composites industry:

Composites are made from at least two materials that together deliver engineering properties that are superior to those of the materials on their own. In practice, most composites consist of a weaker bulk material and a reinforcement of some kind, added primarily to increase the strength and stiffness of the material. It is the material modern tennis racquets, aeroplane wings, F1 chassis and large wind turbines are made of.