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Pioneering growth: Bristol's National Composites Centre expansion

We pioneered Bristol's NCC expansion, driving global acclaim through innovation and sustainability with the University of Bristol.

The phase 2 extension of the National Composites Centre doubles the size of the existing facility, making it one of the largest research and technology centres of its type in the world.

The National Composites Centre expansion in Bristol, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, represents a pioneering effort in composite research and sustainable construction practices. The centre brings together companies and academics to develop new technologies for the design and rapid manufacture of high-quality composite products. Constructed for the University of Bristol against a fast-track programme, the extension comprises a three-storey ‘knowledge and innovation block’ linked to a large assembly and high volume manufacturing press area.

Project summary

    • Client: University of Bristol
    • Value: 16m
    • Size: 15,000m2
    • Location: South West
    • Service: Geospatial Engineering

Innovations, challenges and sustainability

The building incorporates a range of specialist laboratories, cleanrooms, teaching spaces, training suites, lecture theatres and offices.

With the University requiring rapid mobilisation to secure the scheme’s funding stream, we worked with all parties to value engineer the project and ensure the milestones necessary to achieve the ongoing funding programme were met.

Our in-house Design Group’s expertise and services in geotechnical and structural engineering played an important role in value engineering the rock excavation, foundations, and the heavily loaded ground bearing slab elements.



The centre’s 150-tonne hydraulic press, the only one of its kind in Europe, presented the biggest engineering challenge.

With the specifications for the press developed as construction progressed, we re-sequenced our construction activities and worked to assist the university and the NCC through the complexities surrounding its installation and servicing arrangements. This included engineering a cost-effective alternative solution for housing the equipment which powers and runs the press.

Our sustainable approach to the National Composites Centre expansion under the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ scheme saw 92% of construction waste diverted from landfill and the project record an average monthly local labour figure of 71%

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