I-Construct, a £2.5 million centre of excellence for construction innovation, was officially opened by Chairman Councillor Sue Wilson in a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Councillors, staff and partners joined Chairman Councillor Sue Wilson as she cut the ribbon in an opening ceremony at the new centre located off of Springwood Drive in Braintree.
The state-of-the-art hub consists of a technology suite, exhibition space, conference facilities and informal meeting areas and is home to a team offering business support, grant schemes and advice to small and medium sized firms connected to the construction industry. The activities, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by the Haven Gateway Partnership, will serve businesses across Essex, Kent and East Sussex.
The hub will be a place where businesses can network, use resources and exchange innovative ideas and techniques as well as share and celebrate technologies such as robotics, off-site construction and modelling software.
The programme will support over 350 businesses, launch 150 new products and services and create up to 130 jobs across the South East of England by the time it concludes in December 2022, after which the building will continue to be used to support businesses in Braintree and across Essex.
The two-storey hub has been built to extremely high environmental standards (BREEAM Excellent) using innovative construction techniques and modern materials. The design means that the building will be highly energy efficient when in use.
Braintree District Council has invested £1.5 million into the build project, with the remaining £1 million coming via the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.
Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Braintree District Council, said:
“We’re delighted to be working with the Haven Gateway Partnership in promoting construction innovation and that Braintree is home to this new flagship centre. This investment shows our commitment in supporting businesses, creating quality jobs and helping the local and wider economy prosper. The impact on business growth and prospects for people in and around Essex is huge. We’re excited about the future and thrilled to have reached this significant milestone.”
George Kieffer, Chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said:
“I am delighted to welcome the completion and opening of the BREEAM excellent rated I-Construct Innovation Hub in Braintree as a physical manifestation of the support for SME House Builders in developing their supply chains and innovating their methods of construction. This was only possible with the financial assistance of Braintree District Council, Essex County Council, South East LEP and ERDF funding managed by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. The Hub is of national interest and will deliver for businesses across the South East LEP area.”
Duncan Clark, Managing Director at Beardwell Construction Limited, said:
“The completion of this modern, innovative hub highlights our experience and technical expertise in delivering a building which meets world leading sustainability and environmental standards. This high quality, energy efficient facility will meet the needs of businesses across the region now and in the future and we are proud to have been involved from concept to final delivery.”