16 December 2020

Off-site timber industry challenge

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In 2021 Cambridge Innovation Parks Limited (CIPL) intends to create one of the first fully sustainable business campuses, focusing not just on construction and operation but leading sustainable approaches such as carbon off-setting and wellbeing provision. CIPL is challenging the industry to build commercial office space using off-site manufactured timber units, unsatisfied with the feedback it has received about it being difficult to achieve and expensive. The offices required are open plan spaces of 2000sqft to 8000sqft as off-site manufactured units for assembly on-site.


CIPL is a pioneer of bio-based construction and view it as an important part of its zero-carbon transition. Therefore, it is vital that the timber units are produced with low embodied carbon. The off-site characteristic of the timber units encompasses important aspects of the design such as modularity, scalability, adaptability and life cycle duration. CIPL is interested in circular economy as a core principle to deliver a sustainable long-term solution.


The team wants to hear from like-minded innovators who specialise in the production and provision of off-site timber construction that can be applied to a commercial project setting. The chosen company ethics must align with the highest standards and its ethos must support innovation to facilitate change in the industry.


Professor John French, Director of Development and Sustainability at CIPL and Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, commented: 'I would like to see ... new innovative low impact systems to meet the urgent zero carbon challenge.' CIPL wants to be at the forefront of innovation by adopting new processes. Professor French was instrumental in the procurement and delivery of the Enterprise Centre at UEA, Norwich. That award-winning BREEAM-outstanding Passivhaus-certified building featured extensive use of bio-based materials including timber from near by Thetford Forest, CLT and thatch cassette cladding.


To enter the challenge and access the full brief and response proforma, please contact BRE's Eleanor Turner