Modular units destined to become a new science lab at the University of Cumbria were hoisted into position at the Fusehill Street campus, Carlisle last week, with assistance from a giant crane.
The work took place on Wednesday 1 and Thursday 2 July, and saw separate sections of the building - eight in total - lowered into place at hourly intervals. The entire building was positioned from start to finish in just two days.
The laboratory was constructed off site by the Portakabin Group. Each module comes partially wired and piped, with windows, doors and internal walls preinstalled. The finished building will extend to 522 square metres.
A giant crane measuring 58 meters tall with a maximum lift capacity of 350 tonnes was required to install the modules. Each one was lowered in separately and sealed together before being secured to pre-installed, raised foundations. The internal fixtures and fittings will be installed in July and August.
In order to accommodate the enormous machine, part of Fusehill Street was closed throughout the works and affected residents were given access to car parking facilities on the campus.
Elspeth Lees, Head of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies said, “This is an exciting start to a new science focus that will create growth and opportunity for the university. This development is in response to the national demand for specific sector skills to support economic growth and development through graduate employment, capacity and capability.
Local employers have expressed their dissatisfaction with having to recruit graduates with science backgrounds from outside Cumbria and it’s important that we support the development of a workforce and retain knowledge and expertise in the county.”
Simon Ambler, Director of the Portakabin Group, said, “We are delighted to be working with the University of Cumbria on this scheme. The project has an extremely challenging programme but the use of an off-site solution will radically reduce construction time and work on site to ensure the building is fully operational ready for the start of the new academic year. It will provide an invaluable, purpose-designed facility for science students for many years to come.”
The laboratory cost £2m to build and forms part of a major programme of investment in core science provision at the university. From September, new BSc life sciences courses will be offered beginning with Biology, Zoology and Forensic & Investigative Science in 2015 and Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences in 16/17.
The development of the university's new science portfolio is in direct response to local industry needs and graduate employment feedback.