The Catalyst

Constructing Excellence

The Catalyst is a ground-breaking facility, home to the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data. The building hosts a suite of bespoke facilities and a range of flexible office space. This will enable the creation of a tightly coupled and supportive ecosystem between the innovation centres and commercial organisations with a focus on either delivering new insights through data analytics or delivering new products and services which help us to age well, for longer.

By providing world-class facilities and services under one roof, The Catalyst will act as a ‘beacon’ for both Ageing and Data related innovation. Tenants will benefit from co-location with the ongoing activities of the innovation centres and with like-minded organisations working in related domains.

Together, these activities will deliver collaborative partnerships, integrated working and sustainable, progressive economic growth, enabling the UK – and especially Newcastle and the North East – to become a global leader in innovation through ageing and data.

The awarding of BREEAM Outstanding communicates not only a strong message about the outstanding design and construction elements of the building but also acts as a flagship to the University’s and City’s commitment to the Climate Emergency and the targets to achieve zero carbon well ahead of the government’s target of 2050.

Sustainability has been held at the core of the development’s ethos, from the detailed review of the financial sustainability and design to allow for integrated working between commercial ventures and academia, through to delivering a BREEAM Outstanding building with district energy centre connection. With Newcastle University declaring a Climate Emergency, the whole contractor, subcontractor and supply chain team worked in coordination to deliver a building with performance above specification to support the client to operate an estate with minimised reliance on grid-energy, reduced maintenance and replacement requirements and enhanced energy performance.

Collaboratively BREEAM Outstanding was achieved at no additional cost to the client or stakeholder group. In part, this has been achieved with improved performance from the district energy centre comparative to design assumptions, coupled with high-standards of construction quality and design detailing, which greatly reduced the expected thermal losses (89.9% improvement) and air permeability rates (48% improvement – 2.61m3/hr/m2). With a high-capacity PV system mounted within the green-roof, the CO2e emission rate of the final constructed building shows a betterment of 27% compared to the original tender-design targets. The Catalyst is now recognised as:

  • The first BREEAM Outstanding Commercial development in the North East since 2013 (1 of only 3) and only one in Newcastle; and
  • One of only two BREEAM Outstanding Commercial developments outside London against BREEAM 2014 or BREEAM 2018 criteria