Developer hired to build advanced research facility

Construction firm Henry Boot Construction has been appointed to deliver the next development for the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

The development is a new open-access research facility, which will be home to Composites at Speed and Scale (COMPASS).

Project COMPASS is dedicated to developing and testing new technologies needed to meet future demand for lighter commercial aircraft and support the aviation industry’s commitment to reach Net Zero by 2050.

The first research programme to take place in the facility will be the Isothermic High-Rate Sustainable Structures (IHSS) project led by aerospace giant Boeing, in partnership with AMRC, Loop Technology and Spirit AeroSystems.

A planning application for the development was approved earlier this year, with Henry Boot Construction getting work underway earlier this month.

The 29,700 sq ft state-of-the-art research facility will be to the south of the AMRC’s flagship Factory 2050 facility and will have enough space for 60 staff and visitors.

It will comprise a large open-plan factory space, individual workshop areas and flexible ancillary spaces.

The building is jointly funded by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Sheffield City Council, the University of Sheffield and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.

It will house state-of-the-art equipment secured through a £29.5m grant from the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute Programme.

Tony Shaw, managing director from Henry Boot Construction, said: “We take great pride in being appointed as the lead contractor on the AMRC’s newest research facility.

“It is our latest project for the university, having successfully delivered the Royce Discovery Centre in 2022.

“As a company with significant experience in the region, we are committed to working with local supply chain partners wherever possible and helping to grow the regional economy.

“This is demonstrated through our selection of Sheffield-based firm Elecomm, who we have selected to be our principal MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) partner on the project.”

Mark Holden, head of estates development at the University of Sheffield, said: “We’re pleased to work with Henry Boot as part of the project team to deliver the AMRC’s new research facility which will put South Yorkshire at the forefront of UK aerospace manufacturing.

“The new building is the latest addition to the University of Sheffield’s Innovation District – an established world-leading research district where local innovations result in real-world impact.”

The wider project team for the new AMRC facility’s capital build programme includes Gardiner & Theobald, Rex Procter, Bond Bryan, Curtins and Arup – with the building expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

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