National Brownfield Institute puts West Midlands on sustainable construction map
Work has started on the 'shovel ready' £175 million National Brownfield Institute. Building contractor ISG has broken ground on the site which is located on the University of Wolverhampton's £120m Springfield Campus and which received planning approval last December.
The new build project, taking place on a regenerated brownfield site - the former Springfield brewery - directly addresses the government agenda of circular economy focusing on the challenges of building new homes and cohesive communities sustainably.
The NBI will be a world-class institute that provides the facility to develop modern methods of building through innovation and partnership with the construction industry, looking at the practical application of future brownfield regeneration and remediation through the work of research teams, leading policy development and commercial services.
The new Institute will also identify and seek to address gaps in current provision, with a particular focus on the digital skills needed to transform the industry, bringing together expertise from across the region and further afield with greater focus on construction design, Building Information Modelling (BIM), off-site, modular construction and lean construction methodologies.
The scheme has benefitted from £14.9m of funding from the Government's Get Building Fund for the West Midlands. The City of Wolverhampton Council worked closely with the Black Country LEP and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to secure the funding. The remainder of the funding required is set to come from the city's Towns Fund award.
The NBI will secure the City of Wolverhampton's position as a leader internationally in sustainable construction, circular economy and brownfield development and will deliver new skills, jobs and opportunities for local people in the city, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
Andy Street, the Mayor of West Midlands and chair of the WMCA said:
'One of the real strengths of our record of housebuilding in the West Midlands over the past four years has been our use of derelict brownfield land. By using Government cash to pay to clean-up these polluted old industrial sites, particularly across the Black Country, we can not only bring eyesores back to life as housing but also protect precious greenbelt land from development.'
Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University, added:
'The NBI will be at the heart of a West Midlands Construction Training Offer - providing the industry with the skills needed both now and in the future. As well as being at the forefront of a transformation of the way we build homes and communities, it will also ensure that we learn from research around the world on modern construction and remediation technique.'