Engineering Services for Buildings


NIAB Barn 2


NIAB (The National Institute of Agricultural Botany) based in two locations in Cambridge has created a new Barn (number 2) at their Histon site. The site is known as Park Farm. It is surrounded by NIAB owned farm land and trials site along with research facilities, laboratories and glasshouses creating a centre of some of the UK’s leading crop research. NIAB also provides daytime conference and a meeting venue on the site.

The institute provides independent science-based research and information to support, develop and promote agriculture and horticulture to help the industry fulfil its potential in supplying food and renewable resources, while respecting the natural environment. Following food shortages during the First World War, NIAB was established as a charitable trust in 1919 under the motto ‘Better Seeds: Better Crops’. NIAB recognised the importance of seed quality and its link to crop yields and safeguarding food supplies. It progressed on to pioneer the development of many of the seed and variety evaluation processes, which still provides the foundation for successful, sustainable crop production both in the UK and abroad. Today food security is again high on the agenda, fuelled by concerns over population growth and climate change

Barn 2 new build consists of onion and potato stores, specialised growth rooms and laboratories, along with seed handling and packaging spaces. The mechanical & electrical services to the 100 metre long, two storey steel frame barn includes a new LV supply that has capacity to serve further redevelopment of the Histon site. The design of the M&E services has been closely developed with the client and our own team on the scheme. This has helped to create a close working relationship from inception through to the construction and commissioning phases. Notably, the client’s preference was to re-use a lot of their own laboratory equipment and commercial refrigerators / freezers. This necessitated significant planning and coordination of both mechanical and electrical lead up services within the spatial parameters of the structure. There is no gas available on the site, hence the barn runs on electricity with PV panels on the roofs to aid the running cost and SBEM calculations.



Mechanical and Electrical D&B Contractor



Main Contractor:


M & E Consultant:



PHP Architects



Download the PDF: