Leading building contractor, Surgo Construction and the award-winning architectural firm, Howarth Litchfield (HL), have teamed up again to undertake the design and construction of the next phase of development at NETPark in County Durham – the £4.5m National Centre for Healthcare Photonics (NCHP).

Following Surgo’s appointment by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), HL was appointed because of the firm’s knowledge of the client’s specific requirements and a thorough understanding of the site constraints.

HL has provided full architectural support up to RIBA 3 employing the rest of the design team directly and has now been novated to work under Surgo from RIBA 4 onwards, as a direct appointment.

It is the second time the pair have worked on projects at NETPark, having just completed the National Formulation Centre for CPI, which lies on the same site.

The NCHP building will provide well-serviced offices and flexible laboratory areas for process, analytical and technology development, small scale production areas for process demonstration and pre-manufacturing requirements.

The gross internal floor area will be approximately 2000m2 in total including all M&E services, laboratories, incubation offices, open plan offices, storage and meeting rooms.

Utilities provision will incorporate systems for multiple HVAC zones, fume extraction and small laboratories.

“The new building, which will be accessed through the lobby of the National Formulation Centre, will have a high profile on the park and its visual impact and quality of finish inside and out should be impressive, whilst offering value for money.  The external finish which will feature a glazed curtain walling section to its primary elevation, will be in keeping with the current styling of NETPark, largely mirroring the materials used for the National Formulation Centre building, and in the same way, it has been designed to achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating.”

For Surgo, it is the third time the contractor has worked at NETPark – the first time completing NETPark 3 in 2011, a 1,768 sqm pod and clean room facility.  The firm’s undoubted knowledge of the site and its experience gained on two other buildings put it in a strong position to win this further project.  Surgo director, Jeff Alexander, said:

“We are pleased to have secured this appointment on the next phase of development at NETPark and to be working so closely again with Howarth Litchfield.  It is a very tight site with many trees so the building extension has been designed very carefully to maintain existing planting whilst not compromising on the highly specialised laboratory and office spaces.  This could pose quite a few challenges during construction together with access for plant and machinery.

“We have just completed the National Formulation Centre which is already in occupation and began the piling work for NCHP before Christmas.  Now we are working on the foundations and the steelwork will go up at the end of February.  Project completion is forecast for the end of October if all goes according to plan.”

Healthcare photonics involves the use of light to diagnose and treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions. It is a rapidly growing area globally because photonics-based methods can meet the increasing demand for non-invasive, cost-effective or rapid treatments and/or personalised care.

Dr Tom Harvey, strategic programmes manager, Healthcare Photonics said:

“CPI’s new National Centre for Healthcare Photonics at NETPark will provide the specialist expertise and facilities that companies need to be able to bring new products to commercialisation faster and with less risk.

“We appointed Surgo Construction, together with Howarth Litchfield, to undertake the project based on a number of factors including their relevant experience of working at NETPark and successful completion of similar projects.”