May 2023

Development continues at pace on University’s Sustainable Construction Skills Centre

By Carrie Mok

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Work on the new Sustainable Construction Skills Centre for University College Birmingham is making excellent progress, with scaffolding due to be removed by contractors GMI in the coming weeks.

The Centre, located in the former James Cond printworks in the centre of Birmingham, will be home to the University’s specialist courses in modular methods of construction, retrofit and green technologies from September 2023.

The courses will support the region’s growth areas, including sustainable construction methods and renewable energy.

"The fabric of the building will naturally create learning opportunities and reinforce the importance of embracing sustainable construction methods"

Rosa Wells Executive Dean of School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction

Michael Harkin, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of University College Birmingham, said of the site's progress: “Having made such a headway with construction, we’re now looking forward to the completion of the site, ready for our first intake of students in September 2023.

“This crucial skills centre is part of our wider plans in developing our provision to meet regional skills demands and deliver future industry-ready graduates.”

A plan of the new Sustainable Construction Centre at the James Cond Building

GMI Construction Group PLC is a national award-winning UK contractor providing specialist design and build capabilities, spanning multiple sectors, including education.

Gareth Jones, Joint Managing Director for GMI Midlands, said: “This scheme is an exciting one for GMI’s portfolio in the Midlands. Not only is it located next to our George Street office, it fits with our commitment and values as a business as we build the centre that will house the next wave of young construction talent in our industry.

“We’re delighted to be working closely with University College Birmingham and hopefully it’s a partnership which will continue to flourish. We’re exactly where we want to be on this project and already are looking forward to a topping out ceremony in the summer.”

Located in the Jewellery Quarter, the former James Cond printworks' regeneration will honour the area’s heritage and the historic art deco printworks facility that was originally built in the 1930s.

Watch: How our new Sustainable Construction Centre will look

Rosa Wells, Executive Dean of the University's School of Engineering, Digital and Sustainable Construction, said: “It is exciting to see the progress on the Sustainable Construction Skills Centre.

“The building is being sensitively restored to maintain many of the original features and architecture incorporating innovative retrofit ideas alongside heritage building techniques.

“This makes it a unique skills centre for our construction students to learn in – the fabric of the building will naturally create learning opportunities and reinforce the importance of embracing sustainable construction methods.”

The regeneration of the Sustainable Construction Skills Centre is part of a £160 million investment in University College Birmingham’s campuses and learning facilities, which includes Camden House and the award-winning McIntyre House and Moss House.

Discover our full range of courses, including construction and engineering, in our course A-Z.

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