The iCentrum building marks the completion of the first phase of Innovation Birmingham’s £30 million Development Zone. It will provide accommodation for 400 high-value skilled tech jobs at any one time and generate £25 million a year to the local economy. The design ethos of the building was focused on ‘Generation Z’ the social media generation, those born after the millennium, creating a place for Birmingham’s future entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate.
The top floor of iCentrum features a range of self-contained, highly flexible office suites for growing entrepreneurial tech companies. The first floor being home to the 11,845 square feet Serendip Smart City Incubator, co-locating promising start-up businesses with large commercial partners in one of four sector-specific ‘quarters’; Digital Health, Intelligent Mobility, Internet of Things and Barclays Eagle Labs. These ‘quarters’ are being delivered by Innovation Birmingham in collaboration with the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, Centro, Transport Systems Catapult, RWE npower and Barclays.
With a central circulation atrium, iCentrum also benefits from break-out areas and flexible meeting rooms on each floor alongside a large, open-plan exhibition space for up to 500 people and an event auditorium for up to 180 people and a 25ft wide high-definition video conferencing wall on the ground floor. This impressive networking and event space is further complemented by iCentrum’s café: Six Degrees.
Two further phases of development of Innovation Birmingham Campus will deliver three additional buildings including a centre to link to the city’s five universities and a ‘fab lab’ digital making centre. This is set to reignite Birmingham’s manufacturing heritage by connecting it with the digital world.
Capita provided multi-disciplinary engineering services on this development using BIM across the engineering disciplines.
Capita’s building services team acted as performance guardians to ensure that the advanced technical requirements were embedded within the build to meet the client’s technical aspirations for an office environment.
The lighting systems take account of the flexibility and control of illumination according to the available levels of natural light and absence detection in the atriums and open plan offices. Solutions for `hot-desking` include time-controlled luminaires using PIR and photocells.
Natural ventilation systems have been employed in the building, with overheating controlled via opening windows. Louvres at high level in the rear offices wall provide an air path into the central atrium. Automatic openable windows in the side high level walls of the atrium to allow for warm air to escape the atrium. In the colder months, low velocity tempered air will be circulated from minimum two air handling units located on the roof through the office spaces using the raised floor void as plenum.
The Development Zone site comprises previously developed ‘brownfield’ land with an industrial heritage and the potential to be affected by ground contamination. Capita carried out geo environmental and geotechnical investigations in order to assess soil and groundwater conditions and evaluate attendant environmental risks. A remediation strategy was then developed, ensuring compliance with statutory planning requirements and providing the developer with greater certainty in respect of below ground risks.
The main structure of the building is a reinforced concrete, braced frame with typical spans of 8.1m x 8.1m and 8.1m x 6.9m. A 300mm thick RC flat slab spanning between columns is provided at all floors levels; except for the roof level where the slab thickness is 325mm. Lateral stability of the four storey building is ensured via solid floor slabs acting as stiff plates and transferring the loads into the 300mm thick RC core walls enclosing the lift shaft, stair well and service risers. The structural frame is supported of RC ground beams and pile caps on CFA pile foundations.
A BREEAM 2011 New Construction Assessment was undertaken for iCentrum with targeted aspirations for `Very Good’ for Offices. Challenges included provision of flexible yet functional spaces to accommodate a range of tenancy from growing start-ups to established local SMEs as well as unknown tenant occupation and visitor numbers dependent on events and SME activities.
Capita’s approach was to provide effective co-ordination and engage the design team and building contractor throughout BREEAM assessment process with key achievements including:
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