Innovative Derby STEM building one step closer to opening its doors to students

15 December 2016

Celebrations have taken place this week at a new Derby-based science, technology and mathematics (STEM) building, following completion on site by contractor Willmott Dixon (14 December).

The new University of Derby building - procured through public sector owned built environment specialist Scape Group’s National Major Works framework - focuses on real-world learning, combining functional space with infrastructure designed for the specific needs of engineering and computing studies.

The STEM building has created a 30 per cent increase in size to the university’s existing site at Markeaton Street, creating much-needed space on the campus.

Hari Punchihewa, Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director at the University of Derby, said: “We are thrilled that the work on our STEM facility by Willmott Dixon is complete.

“It is an outstanding centre, setting the University of Derby apart from other institutions, and an environment which will allow our students to gain first-class academic knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and also to carry out research work using state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories. 

“We look forward to being able to use the building and sharing the facility with current and prospective students.”

The STEM building has been designed specifically for the students’ studies and includes accessible roof space, providing new opportunities for sustainable energy teaching. This element will also monitor the energy use of the building, which will be captured to support the teaching of control systems.

Chris Hufford, Operations Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We are extremely proud to have been part of this project which has transformed the University of Derby’s campus and enhanced its teaching facilities. The new STEM building is a great example of our commitment to BIM and its multitude of benefits, utilising BIM helped our teams to work strategically throughout the construction process and achieve a high-quality finish we are proud of.”

STEM team in front of the building

The STEM project is the latest university project for Willmott Dixon, which is a prolific upgrader of university campuses across the UK and has worked at universities in Warwick, Kent, Bournemouth, Birmingham, West London and Brighton.

The new STEM building has been constructed to Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) ‘Very Good’ standards.

Nick Gregory, Director for CPMG, said the STEM building was another great example of the use of BIM on a design and build project. He said: “We’re well known for our expertise in the education sector and have been using BIM on this project from inception to streamline efficiency throughout the build. This latest project helps the University of Derby to grow its campus and delivers state-of-the-art learning facilities for aspiring students.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group’s Chief Executive, said: “It is fantastic to see the university’s investment in specialist facilities for STEM students, something which is vital in tackling the country’s skills shortage in these crucial areas for the economy. STEM students deserve the very best buildings to encourage and inspire them, and this facility has certainly lived up to those aspirations.

“By procuring the building through the National Major Works framework, the project has also benefited the local community through local spend and by providing local employment and training opportunities.”

The new STEM building will officially be in use next year, following an opening ceremony.