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Estates Project Manager

Adrian Duffell, Senior Building Surveyor


April 2020 - work starts

August 2021 - completion


£3.2 million, part-funded by the Department of Education

Innovation Centre - South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) construction

The University of Exeter has been successful in a collaborative bid to create a new Institute of Technology for the South West, and will be housing one of a number of IoT centres across the region.  The new £3.2m facility will be located at the Innovation Centre, where it will form an extension to the existing building.  It will be linked to the Innovation Centre by way of a new corridor.  The new building will contain an Artificial Intelligence Arena and Computer Learning Laboratory.  The University will deliver exciting technical education in digital and advanced engineering, benefitting from its leading status as a science university and a member of the Alan Turing Institute.

The new facility will allow the University to deliver a rapid expansion in apprenticeship training, from just over 100 apprentices in 2018/19 to more than 600 in 2023/24.  We will have employers at the heart of what we do, so that courses and qualifications are based on industry need - this will mean that employers will be able to fill skills shortages with highly-trained personnel.

A key feature of the new building is sustainability, and the facility will be rated as BREAM Excellent.  Sustainability will be at the heart of everything we do, addressing energy use, heating, cooling, and insulation.  The building will incorporate solar panels, and the equipment chosen to be used within the building will be chosen with sustainability in mind, following through on our Cliate Emergerncy committment.

South West Institute of Technology

There are 12 Institutes of Technologies (IoTs) planned around the country – they are nationally significant multi-million pound initiatives.  The IOTs will provide the best training to raise regional productivity and economic growth in technical skills.  SWIoT is the first of the new IoTs being developed and invested-in by the government, to deliver economic growth in the UK, and develop an agile and diverse skills base for STEM technologies

SWIoT is a unique collaboration between a number of partner organisations.  These include the University of Plymouth, Bridgwater & Taunton College, City College Plymouth, Exeter College, Petroc, and Truro & Penwith College.  Each partner organisation is investing in the development of state-of-the-art facilities for training in technical subjects to create Britain’s next generation of highly-skilled technicians and engineers.

SWIoT also draws on expertise from a group of “anchor employers” who will lead its strategic direction and ensure focus on the latest industry skills. 

SWIoT combined facilities will cater for up to 2,500 students in apprenticeships and full-time courses, from post-16 to Master’s degree level, and will match the best-available in the UK.  It will help put the South West region at the forefront of digital and engineering education. 

Sustainability is at the heart of one of the University’s newest buildings, currently under construction on the Streatham Campus.

An extension to the University’s Innovation Centre is being purpose-built to house a South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) centre, which will eventually contain an Artificial Intelligence Arena and Computer Learning Laboratory, through which the University will deliver exciting technical education in digital and advanced engineering, and expand its apprenticeship training. The building is scheduled for completion in August 2021.

The new centre will be accredited by BREEAM, the international scheme which provides independent third-party certification of a building’s sustainability performance, and will be equipped with 31 solar PV panels, taking advantage of the building’s south-facing aspect, which over the course of a year will provide around 10,000kWh of power, the equivalent of running 33 refrigerators or powering nearly three houses for a whole year.

The walls, flooring and roof of the building have been designed in such a way as to limit the transfer of heat (known as the ‘U value’), thus saving energy, improving efficiency, and ensuring that the U value rate will be significantly better than standard building regulations.

Additionally, the building will employ ‘variable refrigerant flow’ (VRF), meaning that in the winter, the cooling of the centre’s server room will provide heating to the rest of the building.

A further feature of the new building will see a green roof and new landscaping installed, which will be partly accessible so that building-users can enjoy the many benefits of spending time outside. A green roof works to improve storm water management and reduce rainwater runoff; improves air quality; insulates the building; and plays its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the green roof will incorporate a wildflower meadow, which will act as a magnet for pollinating insects, creating a habitat which further enhances biodiversity on the campus.

Sustainability is also a key consideration during the construction period. Precast offsite manufacture has been used to reduce wastage of materials on site, and as the project is BREEAM accredited, only FSC graded timber is being used in the building. In total, 80% of the materials used on the building project come from within 40 miles, reducing the construction carbon footprint. It is hoped that by adopting an extensive range of environmental initiatives, the completed SWIoT Building will receive an “excellent” rating from BREEAM, which would place the SWIoT building in the top 10% of new non-domestic buildings in the UK.

Construction on both SWIoT and the M link section of innovation is now complete. SWIoT furniture delivery and install will take place this week. Temporary furniture has been placed in the M Suite offices and breakout area with new furniture being installed in December.

We are doing everything possible to mitigate any disruption, but if you do experience any issues, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Adrian Duffell, Project Manager.