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State-of-the-art innovation centre opens its doors in Cornwall


Located adjacent to the University Campus Tremough, the Innovation Centre was built on behalf of Cornwall Council, supported by Cornwall Development Company (CDC). Investment has been provided by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) Convergence Programme and the South West RDA (Regional Development Agency).

Rob Bradley, Regional Director of Leadbitter’s Western Construction division, said: “The Tremough Innovation Centre has been an exciting project, enabling us to use our extensive knowledge of the Tremough Campus and the local area, as well as our expertise in constructing sustainable commercial offices, to deliver an outstanding facility on time and on budget.”

The TIC has been designed specifically to provide flexibility and opportunities for businesses to develop. All internal walls are removable to enable reconfiguration of spaces as businesses expand. Companies both in residence and within the community will be able to take advantage of four shared meeting rooms, break-out rooms and a conference facility as and when they need them.

These communal facilities include a 10 metre by 150 metre terrace along the width of the building, which offers an attractive outdoor meeting space with sea views. Originally conceived as a narrow access for window cleaning, Leadbitter came up with the innovative solution to provide the TIC with more usable space and an additional selling point to attract businesses.

Perhaps most important for entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves in today’s international knowledge economy, a state-of-the-art videoconference system by Vidyo-only the second one fitted in Europe-will enable users to connect with partners across the country and the world regardless of their hardware and software platform. This robust system can connect any number of users-including those using mobile phones and devices-without delays or loss of voice or image quality.

The building also features a Salto lock system with security card access to the main entrance and the office areas. This enables the system to monitor who is in the building and to automatically lock the building down when the last person leaves-not only offering superior security for the building’s residents, but providing a building that can function 24/7 without the need for a full-time building manager on-site.

As befits a centre designed to encourage innovation, the building has been constructed to BREEAM Excellent standards and is expected to use approximately 60 per cent less energy than conventional office developments. This is achieved through the use of natural ventilation, heating provided by a wood-chip fired biomass boiler, geothermic cooling (to the conference facility), rainwater harvesting and sensor operated taps and lighting to eliminate waste.

The use of local labour and materials further reduced the carbon footprint of the centre, with 70 percent of the construction staff and subcontractors coming from Cornwall. Genuine Cornish oak from the Duchy of Cornwall is used on the external  elevations and slate from Cornwall’s Delabole Slate quarry in the reception area.

Sustainability is further encouraged through the installation of television screens in reception which broadcast train and bus arrivals and departures. Leadbitter is also installing signage at the local train station, on behalf of the client, to aid visitors in finding the TIC.

The Tremough Innovation Centre is operated by the Plymouth University, which has signed a 25-year management contract to deliver on behalf of Cornwall Council. Plymouth University also operates the Pool Innovation Centre and will operate the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre due to open in early 2013.

ARTICLE SOURCE: Specification Online website

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