Morgan Sindall Construction’s Northern Home Counties business has been appointed as preferred bidder to deliver the University of Hertfordshire’s new School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science (SPECS).

Located in a central position on the College Lane Campus in South Hatfield, the development will be delivered under the Southern Construction Framework (SCF), a quality-managed collaborative construction framework for public bodies to procure major building works using a two-stage open book process to deliver best value.

Enabling works on the development were completed in October 2021, with the main works beginning in November 2021.

The five-storey steel framed SPECS building will be located across a 165,000 sq ft site and will be grouped across four separate internal houses divided by a central atrium. Its striking façade will feature materials including perforated metal, brickwork, and curtain walling.

The design of the highly-sustainable building will be developed by the Morgan Sindall Construction team and their design team of ADP Architecture and Aecom utilising BIM 360. It will include a number of innovative elements and will aim for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. Morgan Sindall Construction’s innovative Carbon Calculator (Carbonica) will be utilised on the project to assess and measure project-embodied and operational carbon. Modern methods of construction and off-site manufacturing will be utilised to deliver high-quality sustainable solutions that will also deliver time and cost savings.

The project team will deliver on a number of environmental commitments aligned to the Paris Climate Agreement’s international goals. These will include water reduction techniques, biodiversity improvements in partnership with the university, carbon management and air quality commitments.

Morgan Sindall Construction will continue to engage with the local community in Hertfordshire during the project life cycle, supporting local SMEs and social enterprises while working closely with local schools and colleges and utilising the project to deliver training and support the region’s education, diversity, and inclusion agenda. The team will monitor the social value created by the SPECS project through the Morgan Sindall Social Value Bank calculator.

During the pandemic, the Northern Home Counties team have presented on several University Campus St Albans (a joint venture between the University of Hertfordshire and Oaklands College) webinars on various industry subject areas. The project team will continue to support the University’s faculties and student engagement throughout the project.

David Rowsell, Northern Home Counties area director at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The University of Hertfordshire is a longstanding client and we’re extremely pleased to have been appointed as preferred bidder to deliver this landmark development which will provide world class teaching facilities and attract leading academics and research talent. “Morgan Sindall Construction has successfully completed 10 projects for the University of Hertfordshire since 2005. The SPECS building will be one of the most prestigious schemes delivered in the Northern Home Counties over the next few years and we are delighted to have been selected by the client to deliver it.

“As an established Hertfordshire firm, we lead on many local strategic initiatives and support the area and its residents as part of our business model. The development will have a hugely positive impact on the wider community in Hertfordshire, delivering real social value through the creation of high-quality jobs within our local supply chains, and opening up opportunities for training and development for the next generation of construction professionals in the region.

“We’ve got a great team lined up to work on this development and we are looking forward to working closely with the university and our outstanding design partners ADP Architects and AECOM as we finalise the design and move into the initial stages of construction on this important project later this year.”

Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The new SPECs building is a key development for the University and this significant investment highlights our commitment towards providing world-class teaching, learning and research facilities for our community and partners. The University is also committed to becoming a zero-carbon institution and it is important that this new development has been tasked with delivering innovative sustainable solutions to help tackle climate change as a priority.

“I am really excited by the building’s potential to create stronger and more supportive academic communities and modern, sustainable working environments that mirror our students’ future workplaces.”