Construction has started on the flagship National Manufacturing Institute Scotland facility at the heart of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland in Renfrewshire.
This week, the team from the main contractor, Morrison Construction, began work on the foundations of the building with two piling rigs installing controlled modulus columns into the ground. Since late-October, the team has been working on ground stabilisation activities and bulk earthworks on the 3.5-hectare site next to Glasgow Airport.
By using innovative technologies and materials that have been, or can be, remanufactured and reused, Morrison Construction is working towards ensuring the building will be awarded BREEAM ‘outstanding’ for sustainability – the highest accolade for sustainability in UK construction. The team is also avoiding using the most polluting materials such as concrete and other quarried aggregates and where possible, the use of materials that are manufactured overseas.
At around 1.5 times the size of Hampden football pitch, the striking, world-class, facility, with its heather façade, is set to be the linchpin for the future of manufacturing in Scotland.
As the HQ of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), the new building will house a fully digitalised factory of the future, skills academy and collaboration hub that will bring manufacturers together to work on the development of innovative new manufacturing technologies and products. It will support manufacturing and engineering firms of all sizes and from all sectors across the country, and internationally, to innovate and grow their businesses in the global market.
NMIS is a group of industry-led manufacturing and engineering research and development facilities operated by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and Renfrewshire Council.
Welcoming the progress being made on site, John Reid, CEO of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, said: “Construction starting and the foundations being laid are major milestones in the ongoing development of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) Group.
“It has been a challenging year for many in the manufacturing sector, but for some it has also brought real opportunity. As we look to the future, taking into account the climate emergency and Brexit, as well as the recovery from the pandemic, as a sector it is certain that we will face many more challenges but also, more opportunities will be there for the taking.
“The continual growth of NMIS will ensure manufacturers in Scotland and beyond are able to access the latest technologies and expertise that will help de-risk their innovation efforts and boost the skills of the manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow. This will enable businesses to make the most of all future opportunities, creating a bigger, stronger and more sustainable manufacturing sector.”
Strathclyde Principal Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “The beginning of construction at NMIS is a major step forward for an institute which will be pivotal to the future of Scotland’s manufacturing sector.
“The challenges of the pandemic highlight the need for a venture such as NMIS in terms of national capability, resilience and economic opportunity. Manufacturing in Scotland can help ensure the nation has a competitive place in the global market.
“The resources, skills and experience offered by NMIS, allied to the ambition and dedication of those who work there, are in place to deliver high quality manufacturing globally and economic value nationally.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I have no doubt NMIS will play a vital role in the sustainable growth of Scottish manufacturing and attract major manufacturers to locate in Renfrewshire within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS).
“Manufacturing employs thousands of people in Renfrewshire and is central to our recovery and renewal from the impact of Coronavirus. We look forward to working closely with colleagues at NMIS to further enhance the knowledge and skills of the local workforce and inspire young people to pursue careers in the manufacturing jobs of the future.”
The news that construction is underway on the NMIS site follows the recent launch of the manufacturing recovery plan developed by the Scottish Government, its enterprise and skills agencies, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, industry partners, trades unions and academics to support the sector over the next 12 months.
The plan recognises the significant impact Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the manufacturing sector in Scotland and focusses on four priority areas: collaboration and networks, supply chains and competitiveness, adaptation and transformation, and skills and workforce.
The proposals to secure a strong, sustainable future for the manufacturing sector are available for consultation until 15 January 2021. Manufacturers are encouraged to provide feedback on the plans, with more information available online.
Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Our £75 million investment in NMIS will support innovation and our wider ambitions for Scotland’s manufacturing sector as a global leader.
“The draft manufacturing recovery plan sets out a bold agenda, building on strong foundations to take advantage of new opportunities in technology, digital and green innovation. By maximising the contribution of manufacturing industries we can make stronger progress towards net zero while also creating opportunities to innovate and create new jobs.”