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Russell WBHO confirmed for £30m supercomputing centre

CGI of the Science & Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre at Daresbury Laboratory

Russell WBHO is preparing to start work at the 6.2-acre site between Warrington and Runcorn before the end of the year; the project is expected to take approximately 21 months to complete.

Daresbury Laboratory is home to the Accelerator Science & Technology Centre (ASTeC) and the Cockcroft Institute – which houses teams of scientists from the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and several universities, carrying out research into accelerator science. It also houses the Hartree Centre, which focuses on supercomputing, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

The new supercomputing centre will support the £210m Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation (HNCDI) programme, a collaboration between STFC Hartree Centre and IBM that provides industry access to digital technologies and expertise.

Russell WBHO was awarded the construction contract by the STFC via a competitive tender process through the Crown Commercial Services framework.

Russell WBHO’s team will manage construction of a 33,000 sq ft building to house two data halls, which will require an atmosphere maintained at 21-24 degrees Celsius, and an office suite with ancillary facilities.

The building will be steel frame construction with composite cladding to form the external envelope.

The contractor will work with data centre specialist M&E consultant Sudlows. The professional team also includes project management consultant Arcadis, architect AEW, structural engineer Healy Consulting and environmental consultant E3P.

Russell WBHO commercial director Nick Sunderland said: “Our involvement through the planning and pre-construction phase, coupled with our in-depth knowledge of highly-specialist industrial and temperature controlled facilities such as this, has enabled us to bring forward a viable budgeted programme to deliver this scheme.”

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