Computer and Information Sciences is a very important sector for Northumbria University. The majority of the research carried out by the institute in Computer Science is ranked either world-leading or internationally excellent, according to the Research Excellence Framework.
5th February 2018
The same organisation found that 90 per cent of research in Information Sciences was judged to show very considerable reach and significance.
Students appear to gain plenty from their studies too, with approximately 85 per cent graduating with either a First Class or Upper Second Class honours degree, across all of Northumbria University’s Computer and Information Sciences’ undergraduate programmes. What’s more, all of the institute’s programmes in Computer and Network Technology and Information Technology Management for Business have achieved over 90 per cent overall student satisfaction.
One issue for Northumbria University though, was that the institute believed that a space of its campus – that once housed Rutherford Hall for a limited amount of teaching and during examination – could be better utilised. The solution: The Computer and Information Sciences Building — or the CIS Building for short. Once opened at City Campus in early 2018 as an extension to the existing Ellison Block B, the building will become the base for a community of some 1,200 students and 85 academic staff.
Many more details can be found out about the new £7 million building by clicking here. However, keep reading to learn how Esh Build used a design by Norr Architects, which originates from the earliest designs for a computer, to deliver Newcastle city centre a new state-of-the-art building:
How the CIS Building helps the UK towards a low carbon future
When the UK became one of the first countries to recognise and act on the economic and security threats of climate change, the nation became committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050 when compared to the levels recorded in 1990 — this was made official through the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008.
This approach covers everything from improving the energy efficiency of homes across the UK to enhancing all means of transport and boosting business and industry efficiency. The CIS Building is a fantastic example of how a structure can help towards the UK’s 2050 emissions target, especially for its use of various sustainable materials.
According to a report put together by the National Building Specification (NBS), more than 100 million tonnes of waste is created by the UK construction industry. A lot of this also ends up as landfill — the construction industry is responsible for 32 per cent of the UK’s entire landfill, in fact. Sustainable materials can help reduce these figures, as these are materials which last for a long time and are also strong, durable and environmentally friendly in their designs.
There are plenty of sustainable materials to be found around the CIS Building. This ranges from high efficiency lighting which reduces electricity usage while maintaining the desired lighting levels, to energy-efficient glazing which provides a low u value which works to minimise heat loss throughout the winter while allowing for adequate levels of light transmission.
A side note about energy-efficient glazing is that they are also designed to insulate the building against external noise. With the CIS Building based not only in the centre of Newcastle but also almost within a stone’s throw away from the city’s Central Motorway A167 (M) — a route that leads directly to and from the Tyne Bridge, which the Chronicle has previously found sees more than 2,000 vehicles an hour crossing in each direction during peak times — there will be plenty of noise outside that students and staff will be looking to block out when going about their studies and work.
The information contained within the model came from the different design team members who each added their data to the model in the correct origin and orientation. The meetings enabled clear and open discussions between all parties and enables issues to be resolved quickly and effectively- Esh Group explains.
Effective construction practices
It’s not just the final design of the CIS Building which is impressive, as Esh Build has also made use of two particularly effective construction practices — Continuous Flight Auger (CFA) piles and a Building Information Modelling (BIM) system.
CFA stands out for being virtually vibration free and among the quietest forms of piling processes available in the construction industry. By enabling piles to be formed in water-bearing strata without casing or bentonite being required, CFA is perfect for use in environmentally sensitive areas. This was certainly the case at the site for the new CIS Building, due to restricted space, so the building has been constructed using CFA piles to a depth of 20m with concrete strip foundations.
The BIM system, meanwhile, can be seen as the UK construction industry’s answer to the digital revolution. This is because the process brings together every little bit of information about every single component of a building into one place across the entire project’s lifecycle.
Esh Build utilised a BIM system for the CIS Building by ensuring the project team developed processes and protocols to share models in a federated environment. Live cost and time information was included too, while meetings were regularly held so to ensure the BIM system was constantly working to its full potential.
“The information contained within the model came from the different design team members who each added their data to the model in the correct origin and orientation. The meetings enabled clear and open discussions between all parties and enables issues to be resolved quickly and effectively,” Esh Group explains.
The final result of all of the above techniques, practices and processes is a contemporary glass façade building that will be equipped with cutting-edge computing and information technologies ready for students and staff to discover and make use of from early 2018.
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