NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany) Bingham head office site in Cambridge is the new home for NIAB. The development pulls together three existing buildings that have been refurbished into bespoke working offices and laboratories. The three buildings are linked by a new double height, glazed entrance and meeting area. The significant investment also included a new build basement and three floors of laboratory space for use as a joint venture between The University of Cambridge and NIAB. Bingham sits one side of the A14 and is linked by one of a few private flyovers on the A14 to their Histon farm where we previously completed the construction of two 100m long barns to create further laboratories, seed handling, storage and office facilities.
The design of the M&E services for all phases has been developed in close collaboration with the client and our team. This helped to forge a close working relationship amongst the team and promoted innovation from inception of the design through to the construction, commissioning, and soft landings phases. The collaborative approach also enabled the new build element of the project to achieve BREEAM Excellent status. Another feature of the scheme involved the client reusing a significant element of their own laboratory equipment and commercial refrigerators/freezers, so a great deal of liaison and checking of both mechanical and electrical lead up services and spatial planning was essential. Due to the complexity of the services in the main routes, we also 3-d modelled the layouts to ensure an economically coordinated installation was achieved.
The development boasts a new energy centre and plantroom to deliver heating, hot water and general ventilation services to the buildings. Meeting rooms are naturally ventilated in areas and comfort cooling is provided to laboratory areas. Several uniquely specialist systems have also been installed such as compressed air and RO water. In addition, a new electrical substation was installed by the utilities provider with electrical power being distributed across the site from adjacent LV switchpanels.
The NIAB Trust works to promote agriculture, horticulture and arboriculture anywhere in the world by charitable means. With an expanding crop research programme and extensive experience in seed and variety evaluation, NIAB is focussed on addressing the urgent global need to produce more food with a reduced impact on the environment. The organisation has enjoyed royal support from its foundation and is rightly proud that Her Majesty The Queen is patron.