The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsions Systems, currently being built at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, will significantly expand the University’s technical capabilities in supporting the automotive industry in the development of future generations of ultra-low and zero emissions vehicles. Since the appointment last summer of the main contractor, Rydon Construction, work on the new facility is developing at pace.
The new Research and Innovation facility will open in 2021 and when complete, it will provide 11,300 m² of advanced propulsion R&D facilities, education resources and research test cells. Alongside state-of-the-art engine and chassis dynamometers and laboratories for future fuel research, substantial investment for the new building will go into systems for the development and testing of electrification technologies including battery management and energy storage systems. IAAPS will be one of the first commercially available facilities to include cells designed for the development and testing of high-voltage battery packs, supercapacitors, new cell designs and other high-energy electrical storage technologies. In total, the new building at the Science Park will house 17 test cells for both commercial and grant funded research and innovation projects.
Rydon Construction progress update
The construction work is progressing in line with the programme plan. Main contract works on the IAAPS new build started with the main contractor, Rydon Construction, back in July 2019 following successful delivery of an enabling works project which included groundworks and the installation of mains services to site. The enabling works package assisted the main contractor by removing risk in the ground and thus helping the IAAPS project to maintain programme.
Rydon continues to progress well on site. The building’s foundations are complete and the structural steel frame has been erected, external cladding has commenced, the first pre-pre-fabricated module of mechanical ductwork has been installed and the contractor is aiming to be weather tight by mid-February 2020. Internally the floor slabs are nearing completion at ground and first floor level, and internal blockwork walls are progressing well. The project continues to remain generally on programme despite weather issues and ‘shell and core’ completion of the first test cells are due late spring which will then be fitted out by the University’s equipment suppliers, AVL, global specialist in the development and supply of simulation and testing equipment for powertrain systems R&I. This installation of technical equipment requires a lot of careful coordination between the main contractor and the University’s equipment suppliers; a series of meetings have been arranged to review this work over the coming months.
Local community engagement
The IAAPS Implementation Team and Rydon Construction Project Management Team have been liaising closely with local residents living next to the Bristol and Bath Science Park to keep them informed about developments on site. Regular information meetings have been held to update on the construction management plan and answer any queries the local community may have about the building work and the broader IAAPS project. It’s great to see so many local residents getting behind the project and voicing their support for IAAPS and the inward investment, employment and education opportunities the new facility will bring to the region.
Newlands Farm Completion
One of the first successes of the IAAPS project is the completion of Newlands Farm. As part of the overall site development scheme, the University was responsible for the refurbishment and redevelopment of a Grade II listed farmhouse on the IAAPS site. The farmhouse refurbishment was completed in October 2019 and is now fully operational as a University building, whilst also hosting occasional IAAPS project meetings.
And finally, to give you an idea of how quickly the work on site has progressed since the commencement of construction on site, please click on the link below for a short film of the construction work to date:
We will continue to provide regular updates as the project progresses, but if you have any queries about IAAPS in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch with a member of the IAAPS Implementation Team:
Gavin Edwards – Programme Director
Sarah Sempala-Ntege – Communications Lead
Henry Watts – Project Manager