With less than a year to its opening, construction of the Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park passed another milestone recently, as construction workers clocked up over 500,000 hours working on the site.
The state-of-the-art building will host fundamental and translational research into food, human health, gut biology and disease, and feature a clinical research facility for human trials and a new gastrointestinal endoscopy unit for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
The co-location of these elements in the same building will drive new collaborations between fundamental and clinical researchers, and is one of the features that make the Quadram Institute building a ground-breaking venture.
Wates Construction is the main contractor for the project, which has also seen over £2.8 million spent with local small businesses. The project has trained or employed 41 local people, providing over £900,000 value in training and employment for people from the local area
Wates has also carried out training and schools engagement programmes, working with students from Norwich City College and holding workshops for local jobseekers. As a result of its Building Futures programme, which involves practical construction workshops for those seeking employment, Wates was able to offer full-time roles to several participants.
Staff have also spent over 600 hours volunteering in the local community and almost £40,000 has been invested into local charities and community causes.
Ian Vickers, Managing Director, Wates Construction Home Counties, commented: “It is with great pride that Wates looks back on the 500,000 hours that have been worked on this project to date, and the significant socio-economic impact those hours have had on the local economy. Since we were first appointed, we have been committed to ensuring our work on this leading centre for research and development would provide a skills and education boost to East Anglia, be it through creating jobs, providing contracts to local firms or demonstrating to young people what the construction industry has to offer. As we move towards completion, I’m confident the impact of our work on this project will be felt in the local community long after the Quadram Institute opens its doors.”
The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Norfolk and Suffolk has estimated that the 500,000 hours worked to date have had a direct contribution of around £12.5 million to the local economy.
Chris Starkie, Managing director at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said “These figures show how Quadram is already benefitting our economy, even before it’s open – providing business for local contractors, creating new jobs and developing the skills of our workforce. Once up and running its impact will be even greater, as the flagship building on our Enterprise Zone site at Norwich Research Park and a global leader in food research and life science, a key sector for the economy of the East.”
Construction has now entered the final phase, which has seen the removal of the internal scaffolding. This has opened up the first views of the light and airy internal environment designed to create visual and social connections between all the 300 researchers and 100 clinical staff that will eventually populate the building.
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