Cyber Quarter – The Midlands Centre for Cyber Security is a ‘trailblazing’, multi-purpose centre of excellence in the field of cyber security. Developed as a joint venture between the University of Wolverhampton and Herefordshire Council, the project has been part-funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund, via the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Centre provides facilities for research and development across three cyber laboratories as part of the Wolverhampton Cyber Research Institute (WCRI) and provides tenanted office space for up to twenty cyber companies. A full height glass atrium acts a dual break-out space and function hall, alongside the main three storey building that houses business suites, innovation rooms, IT workshops and a ‘Cyber Range’ – a cutting edge facility to defend against the global rise of hacking.
The ground floor provides the principal training spaces for the facility. Each wing is an open area to facilitate break-out meetings. The upper floors are restricted access and contain most of the tenant units, giving them greater security, away from the open areas on the ground floor. The first floor comprises the cyber tenant units with enlarged corridors to provide break-out seating areas. The third floor houses the cyber range, a facility that generates real-time hacking scenarios.
Early engagement and a truly collaborative, ‘one team’ approach engendered a positive and progressive project environment which was able to successfully overcome a number of significant challenges, including COVID-19, unexpected asbestos discovery, £1.3M VE savings and the worst flooding Hereford had ever seen – whilst staying within budget and with minimal impact to programme. Early appointment of the main contractor, Speller Metcalfe at RIBA Stage 3 – and their subsequent early employment of key subcontractors – benefitted the project greatly through reducing risk, value engineering and cultivation of a strong, digitally proficient team.
The result is a striking, highly-sustainable building which is not only set to act as a catalyst for the ongoing development of the cyber economy in Hereford, but has also generated significant social return on investment throughout its delivery.
Key project achievements include:
- BREEAM Very Good and EPC A rating;
- ‘Excellent’ Considerate Constructor’s Scheme score of 44/50 including 2 ‘innovation’ points;
- 72% local spend (within 40 miles) and 17% within 20 miles, despite the project’s challenging rural location;
- £1.3m+ VE savings achieved supported by use of BIM for rapid quantification;
- Extremely sustainable with very low-embodied carbon; the structure stored 30 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in its construction; a steel/concrete equivalent would have emitted 563 tonnes of CO2e;
- Overcoming significant challenges including project delivering during the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst flooding the county had ever seen and the discovery of unexpected asbestos;
- 100% waste diverted from landfill;
- More than 1000 volunteer hours of social value/educational engagement activities and industry CPD including site tours, presentations and guest lectures and work experience activities;
- BIM Level 2 embraced by whole project team, driving collaboration, improved outcomes and supporting value engineering, sustainability, efficiency and productivity throughout.