EPIC building starts on site

Contractors have started the construction of a £8M, state of the art facility in Devon that is set to be a centre of excellence for innovation in microelectronics and photonics.

The 3,834m2 Torbay Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre in White Rock Business Park, Paignton, will provide open market access to specialist laboratory and clean room facilities, accommodating specialist equipment to support R&D, prototyping, innovation and collaboration in emerging technologies. The centre will also provide office, meeting room and collaboration space, along with incubation facilities to support start-up and spin-off tech companies.

Clarkebond are providing a range of engineering services on the scheme including civils, drainage, foundations and steel frame design.

The superstructure of the building is reasonably straightforward, comprising a big steel frame, pre-cast concrete, floors and lift shafts.  The foundations are more complex as a result of the underlying geology of the area.

This White Rock area sits on limestone which is heavily weathered and karstic.  This means there is a chance of the presence of underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves.  Whilst no open voids were encountered during ground investigations, Clarkebond is undertaking a watching brief alongside the geotechnical engineers, inspecting the excavation of each and every foundation pad as it occurs. 

The building is to be generally constructed off individual pad foundations with strip foundations supporting the external walls.  Where ground conditions differ from the original investigation, Clarkebond makes recommendations for made for alternative construction methods if required whichs could involve either increasing pad sizes or putting in concrete reinforced ground beams.

The project is due for completion in spring 2019.

Architects: AHR
M+E: Totus and Method
Geotechnical Engineers: South West Geotechnics
QS: Interserve