Russell WBHO lands £30m Daresbury supercomputing centre contract
The contractor is aiming to start work before the end of the year on the latest addition to the Science & Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory.
Russell WBHO secured the contract for the £30m project through the Crown Commercial Services Framework. The company estimates construction on the 33,000 sq ft supercomputing centre will take 21 months.
STFC hopes the supercomputing facility will support the £210m Hartree National Centre for Digital Innovation programme, a partnership between STFC Hartree Centre at Daresbury Laboratory and IBM. The programme is meant to encourage innovation in digital technology and expertise in computing, data science, and artificial intelligence.
The supercomputing centre will enable this work by reducing the time and cost of developing tech products.
Set on 6.2 acres by the Bridgewater Canal and the Daresbury Firs, the supercomputing centre presents a series of challenges in that it must maintain an atmosphere of 21 degrees to 24 degrees across its two data halls. Russell WBHO has experience with temperature-controlled, specialist industrial facilities, having delivered more than 1m sq ft of similar schemes for cold storage operators.
Nick Sunderland, commercial director for Russell WBHO, described how the company was able to use this experience to help the supercomputing project.
“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,” he said.
Stride Treglown was planning project architect for the scheme, with Aew Architects as the construction project architect for the steel-framed building.
The project team also includes data centre specialist M&E engineer Sudlow, project manager Arcadis, environmental consultancy E3P, and structural engineer Healy Consulting. RLB is the cost consultant.
Ben Small, project director for Arcadis, voiced his enthusiasm for the scheme.
“Arcadis is delighted to have been appointed to project manage the development of the new supercomputing centre at Daresbury, working alongside STFC and Russell WBHO,” Small said. “This project will support the world-class research delivered by STFC.”
As part of Daresbury Laboratory, the supercomputing centre will also be part of the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.