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Thursday 21 November 2019

Council’s building control team celebrates ‘excellence’ award for space research HQ

Cheshire East Council’s building control company, Civicance, is sharing in the celebrations following a national building excellence award for the new headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array at Jodrell Bank.

The wholly-owned arms-length company is responsible for overseeing compliance with building regulations and worked closely with the builders and architects throughout the process, creating the global HQ for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Ian Bunn, managing director of Civicance, said: “I am extremely proud to have been involved in working with the architects, Hassell, and builders, Sir Robert McAlpine, in creating this exceptional building, which has such international and scientific significance on the world stage.

“There were a number of challenges for the architects in view of the special nature of the site, near Holmes Chapel, and we are pleased that the judges have recognised the quality of build and design, which will become another landmark feature for the borough.”

The SKA is a multi-national project involving 13 national members committed to building the world’s largest radio telescope in two countries – Australia and South Africa – with the nerve-centre located in Cheshire East, at the site of the famous Lovell Telescope.

The award for best large commercial project was given to the SKA at the Local Authority Building Excellence awards in London.  It beat several other major projects from around the country for technical innovation, sustainability, safety and design. The award was presented in front of 800 building industry professionals at an event in London.

Cheshire East Council has contributed to delivering the SKA global headquarters, alongside partners, including the University of Manchester and the UK government.

The judging panel of industry experts said the building was a ‘superb’ example of high-quality commercial design, exceeding building regulations, minimum requirements and providing an attractive, state-of-the-art working environment.

Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council’s executive director of place and acting deputy chief executive, said: “I congratulate the SKA team, builders, architects and Civicance on this remarkable achievement. It is a real feather in our cap to have such a prestigious and important research project with its headquarters here in Cheshire East.”

The SKA global HQ will host around 150 staff from around the world, who will oversee the construction and operations of what is considered one of the most ambitious science endeavours in modern times. Construction of the SKA begins in 2021 and promises to ‘revolutionise our understanding of the universe’.

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