A Centre of Excellence for Construction Innovation Has Opened in Braintree

I-Construct, a £2.3 million centre of excellence for construction innovation, has opened for business.

Building work has finished, only 15 months after it began, on the innovation hub which is based off Springwood Drive in Braintree.

The two-storey building – consisting of a technology suite, exhibition space,  conference facilities and informal meeting areas – is home to a team offering one-to-one mentoring, grant schemes and advice to small and medium sized firms connected to the construction industry.

It will be a place where innovative ideas – such as robotics, off-site construction, and modelling software – are shared and celebrated. It is hoped that the sharing of ideas and opportunities will increase innovation and productivity in the construction sector.

The state-of-the-art building has been built to extremely high environmental standards using innovative construction techniques and modern materials. The design* means that the building will be highly energy efficient when in use. The eco-measures of the building can be seen in this video.

The business support programme at the hub will be run by the Haven Gateway Partnership and will serve businesses across Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

The programme will support over 350 businesses, launch 150 new products and services, and create up to 130 jobs.

An official ceremony to mark the opening will be held in the New Year.

Businesses interested in the support available can visit www.i-construct.org.uk

Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Braintree District Council, said:

“Our investment into this flagship centre shows how we are playing our part in growing businesses, supporting the local economy and creating jobs. This hub will be a great place to celebrate the innovations taking place in the construction industry and not only that, it will open up opportunities for residents and businesses in our district and beyond. I’ve been a supporter of this project coming to Braintree from the start and I’m thrilled that it’s come to fruition.”

Duncan Clark, Managing Director at Beardwell Construction Limited, said:

“The completion of this modern, innovative hub highlights our experience and technical expertise in delivering a building which meets world leading sustainability and environmental standards. This high quality, energy efficient facility will meet the needs of businesses across the region now and in the future and we are proud to have been involved from concept to final delivery.”

George Kieffer, Chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said:

“I-Construct provides a platform and a network to help us build back better, using modern methods of construction and materials particularly by smaller and medium-sized businesses which do not have the resources of the national builders. We are fortunate to be supported by the expertise of the Building Research Establishment and the long experience of Colchester Institute in construction skills and training. I-Construct will play a major role in making construction businesses more competitive and is an excellent example of co-operation between government, the private sector and further education.”

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