Plot A3 New Bailey ECF
Bowmer + Kirkland is the lead contractor on the Make Architects-designed scheme. Credit: via planning documents

Construction starts on Salford’s greenest office building yet

Julia Hatmaker

Covered in 43,000 sq ft of plants, Plot A3 New Bailey will run entirely on renewable energy when complete.

Developer English Cities Fund has broken ground in a ceremony filmed by children’s television series Blue Peter. ECF – a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal & General, and Homes England – has appointed Bowmer + Kirkland to construct the scheme.

“Plot A3 is a tremendously exciting scheme of ‘firsts’ and one that Bowmer + Kirkland is proud to be involved in,” said Paul Sykes, regional director at Bowmer + Kirkland. “Together with partners, we will not only set a benchmark for sustainable high-quality office space for the North West and beyond, but we will also directly benefit local people and businesses through our commitments to creating employment opportunities, apprenticeships, community engagement and social mobility.”

Part of the £1bn Salford Central masterplan, the 115,000 sq ft office building sits on the corner of Trinity Way and Irwell Street. It will be among the first buildings to meet the UK Green Building Council’s targets for net zero operation. Plot A3 has been specifically designed for the purpose, with Make Architects using UKGBC’s Design for Performance standard as a guide.

The 11-storey building has enhanced insulation that meets the rigorous Passivehaus Institute standard. An air-source heat pump provides low-carbon heating and cooling. For hot water, carbon dioxide heat pumps will keep the process energy-efficient.

PRESS PICTURE L To R Lee Powell (Bowmer + Kirkland), Carly Jones (The English Cities Fund), Perry Twigg (Salford City Council), Mwaksy Mudenda (Blue Peter Presenter), Phil Marsden (The English Cities Fund), (1)

From left: Lee Powell (Bowmer + Kirkland), Carly Jones (English Cities Fund), Perry Twigg (Salford City Council), Mwaksy Mudenda (Blue Peter Presenter), Phil Marsden (English Cities Fund), and Rose Palmer (Salford Youth Mayor). Credit: via English Cities Fund

As construction continues, there will be an early-stage carbon assessment to ensure the scheme not only eliminates waste but also uses sustainable materials whenever possible. That means using recycled steel for reinforcement and cement replacements for part of the substructure and superstructure.

Then, of course, is the living façade. Wrapping around the exterior of the building, this vertical garden will include a variety of plants including the evergreen shrub Sarcococca Confusa (also known as Sweet Box) and pollinator-friendly Hyssopus Officinalis (Hyssop for short).

This wall is designed to bloom year-round while it removes air pollutants and reduces urban temperatures.

Phil Marsden, projects director at English Cities Fund, said: “We have an obligation in the sector to leave a long-lasting, positive legacy for the next generation, driving investment, opportunities and prosperity right into the heart of Salford and beyond, while responding to the demand for high-quality office space that promotes agile working, active travel and colleague wellbeing. We’re looking forward to working with partners to bring our collective vision to life.”

Cushman & Wakefield and JLL are joint lettings agents on Plot A3 New Bailey and the other office buildings that make up the New Bailey development.

Plot 3A New Bailey garnered Salford City Council approval in February. Avison Young handled the planning on the scheme.

The English Cities Fund has been busy in Salford. The joint venture is already working on the £2.5bn masterplan for the 240-acre Salford Crescent regeneration programme.

Your Comments

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I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the wokeness of this.

By MwaksiOConnor

This is the benchmark now, what a fantastic development. Whilst MCC are busy rejecting excellent office proposals on Deansgate only a stones throw away Salford are forging on.

By Bob

Will be interesting to see how this will look, the ivy had the similar concept with plants on the exterior.

By Meeseeks

@MwaksiOConnor – I too despise 99% of woke ideology but how can anyone in their right mind be against sustainable development? Every new building should be obligated to be sustainable.to a certain degree, i.e. produce x% of it’s own power usage, recycle water, pay a re-wilding tax etc. There’s no reason why something like this cannot be implemented on a wider scale.

By The Squirrel's

How green is concrete?

By Bill Bailey

@Bill Bailey – not the greenest as I’m sure you know! According to ECF, the building will be constructed partly with cement replacement, with 50% cement replacement being used for the substructure and 30% cement replacement for the superstructure.

By Julia Hatmaker

@Julia. so its between 50- 70% not green?

By Bill Bailey

@Bill Not sure I’d go that far, but I’ve shared the facts I was given. Will be interesting to see how the early-stage carbon assessment goes down.

By Julia Hatmaker

Don’t be fooled by the plants on the Ivy – much of them are now the fake, plastic kind. I can only hope this building will not end up covered in similar awful greenwash.

By Fake Ivy

The person to the right of the picture should be credited, too, PNW.

What a (potentially) fantastic gateway building into the city centre.

By Jess Arnott

@Jess – quite right! I’ve updated the caption to include Salford Youth Mayor Rose Palmer’s name. That’s for spotting that, it was an honest mistake on my part.

By Julia Hatmaker