Date: 29 Nov 2023

Brand New Nuclear Skills Academy

Electrical install at iHub, Derby University.

Supporting and boosting future capabilities and expertise of nuclear power in the UK

iHub Derby – Nuclear Skills Academy

The Challenge

To support and boost the future capabilities and expertise of nuclear power in the UK, a collaboration between Derby and Sheffield University and Rolls Royce saw the investment to establish a new Submarines’ Nuclear Skills Academy.

The academy will create 200 new apprenticeships every year for the next 10 years.

The training facility identified to be used for this new venture was iHub, based at Infinity Park, Derby.

To transform the current facility into the required teaching space for the new nuclear apprenticeships, Morrisons Design were appointed as the project architects. The requirement was to remodel the current spaces to make best use of the full area available to provide excellent facilities for students and teaching staff.

The existing building being approx. 45,000ft2 and predominantly office space.

Seddon Construction were the awarded contractors, by Derby University, to manage this refurbishment project, which involves reconfiguration of office spaces, and mechanical and electrical work to update and install new power and lighting systems to suit the new facility layout.

Under Seddon Construction, Gilks were awarded the electrical and mechanical contract.

This was a substantial project which had an extremely challenging turn-around time, of just 19 weeks. The facilities needed to be completed to welcome students starting in October 2023.

The Process

Opened in 2016, the existing building boasts sustainable features, achieving a BREEM Excellent rating. It includes 350m2 of photovoltaic panels, a natural ventilation system, and air source heat pumps.

Morrisons Design’s refurbishment plan capitalises on these existing sustainable features.

Gilks handled the electrical refurbishment, including power for equipment, lighting, data installation (computer), fire alarm controls, and CCTV. We also installed an LED lighting system that aligned with the building’s energy efficiency standards and emergency lighting.

To support the new electrical elements, a new mains distribution system was installed.

Beyond electrical engineering design and installation, Gilks was also responsible for the mechanical aspects of the refurbishment.

Gilks also employed and managed the specialist nominated installers of the BMS (Building Management System) Controls, Local Extract Systems, Compressed Air Installations, Weld Gases and Alarm Systems.

The Solution

To ensure completion within the incredibly tight project deadline, the team created a rigid program schedule. This schedule supported the execution of various project stages simultaneously, allowing different trades to perform their work and installations without impacting each other’s progress.

The project was undertaken in two stages:

Phase 1 – to convert exiting offices to suitable teaching and classroom facilities.

Phase 2 – refurbishment of workshop and practical teaching areas, eating areas and changing room facilities.

Gilks worked to this regimented project schedule, installing power supply to suit the various equipment location. The LED lighting system was chosen to met with the energy efficiency targets set out in this design, whilst providing the correct level of lux across the different teaching, relaxing and utility areas.

Mechanically the project included: – modifications to the heating system and installation of new radiant panels, air conditioning installations, multi-vent extraction systems and general plumbing for new toilets changing room and kitchen areas.

Under the mechanical elements, to maximise energy efficiencies, Gilks installed an air-conditioning system and a Building Management System (BMS). The BMS empowers the end user with complete control over the heating system.

This project involved a team of specialists working on site simultaneously: ventilation systems technicians, electrical engineers, and mechanical engineers. Coordinating multiple trades under a tight deadline presented challenges. However, a well-defined work plan, consistent communication, and regular updates ensured a smooth operation.

To meet some of the challenges and ensure the project remained on track the compressed air plant room was constructed off-site and delivered as a unit.

The Added Value

The refurbishment of iHub previous offices provides an excellent new academy for Submarines’ Nuclear Skills apprentices. The academy will provide huge opportunities for students to forge a career in the nuclear energy industry.

Project Complete

We are pleased to have successfully completed this project to the tight deadlines set. However, it’s always fantastic to also receive excellent feedback after a project, as we have for this project:

Tony Round – Seddon’s Site Manager, “A thank you for all your hard work and effort in delivering our project at iHub in Derby. There has been a massive amount of work completed in a relatively short duration and to a very high standard. This has been recognised by our client who inspected the site” 

Jas Gill – Building Manager – Nuclear Skills Academy, “The guys at Gilks have been amazing. Just to mention a few (this goes for the whole team), Adrian, Dale,Tom, Neil, Ryan and Antony. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside them. I would highly recommend Gilks as an exceptional business to work with”.

Added to achieving handover on time and a happy client, Gilks also achieve no reportable accidents and the Seddon Safe Site award for this project.

Considering the fast pace of the project, the amount of working at height and coordination between trades, this was no mean feat of achievement and a reflection of the standard of expertise and professionalism of Gilks and its team.

If you need to to undertake a Cat A or Cat B fit out and require electrical or mechanical design and installation support on your project, contact our team at Gilks.

T: +44 (0) 1270 625 520  |  E:  |  W:

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