Contractors leave a human legacy at completed Cambridge UTC

14 November 2014 08:51 - BAM Construct & Ventures UK Ltd
Toby Moakes

Hemel Hempstead, 13 November 2014 - Contractors behind the newly opened Cambridge UTC (university technical college) have left behind more than a building, their project manager said today. The construction team for the £9million science-orientated building, led by project manager Toby Moakes, has hosted monthly visits from Cambridge Regional College’s construction students. The visits formed part of the students’ BTEC Higher Diploma Level 3 qualifications and allowed them to see in action a live construction project during each stage. One of them, Jake Kreps, stood out so much that he was taken on for a paid summer placement – which has now led to a permanent job and day release to study for a foundation degree in construction.

Mr Moakes, project manager for BAM Construction, said: ‘This is a very specific building, not just a suite of classrooms. We’ve drawn on our experience delivering the world class LMB (Laboratory of Molecular Biology) next door to it, importing ideas such as open plan laboratories to create a learning environment that prepares students for the real world. It’s great that one of the students we hosted impressed us so much that we have been able to offer him this additional help to develop his career.’

Students moved into the new three-storey UTC building in mid-September. Designed by Hawkins/Brown Architects, it features five super labs on the top floor each holding up to 70 students. The UTC specialises in biomedical and environmental science and technology. The building houses up to 670 students aged 14-19.

Mr Moakes added: ‘We’ve used a very distinctive Corten cladding system, previously used on large external sculptures and now increasingly popular as an architectural feature. In constructing the building BAM have delivered a range of sustainability features such as combined heat and power plant to provide low carbon energy, photovoltaic cells and gravel beds to control rainwater run-off.’

Over 300 people worked on the building, including local firms Mick George, John Henry & Sons, and local artists Emily Campbell and Jo Chapman. BAM’s team is now preparing to leave the premises, but both Jake and Toby will remain in Cambridgeshire with the company’s other projects.

Niall Inman, tutor at the Department of the Built Environment for Cambridge Regional College, said: ‘BAM has provided the students of ‘The Department of the Built Environment’ at Cambridge Regional College with a professional insight in to the design and construction of the UTC at Long Road. Students were invited to visit the site monthly for the duration of the build and have been able to relate their lessons to a real life case study as well as talking to professionals within the industry about the roles and responsibilities of their jobs. They are really grateful to BAM for allowing this to happen.’

Melanie Radford, Principal of UTC Cambridge, said: ‘The BAM team, led by Toby, have been fantastic to work with and have built the UTC Cambridge an extraordinary facility. We are also delighted that Jake has been offered a permanent position by BAM, richly deserved and so in line with the UTC ethos.’