Midlands Centre for Cyber Security, University of Wolverhampton
Complete & operational
The Hereford Centre for Cyber Security provides specific laboratory equipment, testing facilities, innovation workspace and collaborative research and development units. This enables the private sector to utilise the University of Wolverhampton’s (UoW) expertise, extended networks and capacity to stimulate new applications and other products.
The centre has created a testing facility for internet and global information grid research, while facilitating the scientific use of cyber testing methods. It also enables the development and deployment of state-of-the-art cyber testing capabilities, and provides a virtual environment for quantitative, qualitative and realistic assessment of potentially ground-breaking cyber technologies for research and ongoing commercialisation.
The development was located on a brown field site which was required for the building to reach a minimum of ‘Very Good’ under Building Research Establishment (BREEAM). This was a fundamental element of the design brief developed during the pre-project planning stages. As part of the building’s commitment to sustainability, the project also had to adopt and implement standards for good practice in reducing waste, recycling and increasing the use of recycled and recovered materials.
Part of the remit for the project was to utilise local skills and resources as much as possible, creating more job opportunities for the local community, and by extension, assisting in growing the regional economy.
The onset of the covid-19 pandemic affected the project six months prior to completion. This led to material and labour shortages which in turn reduced productivity. These challenges also occurred within the context of Hereford experiencing some of the worst wet weather on record. This presented challenges in terms of maintaining the integrity of the timber frame and ensuring the building was water tight. There were some initial fears that asbestos had been found, but reports concluded that this was not the case.
Perfect Circle worked closely with the client to select the design team. The university had a shortlist of architects in mind for the project, and Perfect Circle was able to use its detailed vetting process to allow for a handful of design teams to be awarded to the approval supply chain.
The centre provides a research space spread over three storeys and a teaching building for the Cyber Security Research Institute within the University of Wolverhampton. A range of rooms include business suites, IT workshops, innovation rooms and a pioneering facility used to defend against highly complex hacking events that have been prolific worldwide in recent years. Tenanted office space is also available to up to 20 local businesses with specialisms in cyber security.
A full height glass atrium provides break out space and a function hall. These facilities are open to private sector businesses who can benefit from the university's expertise and specialist spaces.
The centre will now help to put the West Midlands on the map within the tech world, creating more sought-after career opportunities within the sector for the local market.
Creating more opportunities for the region was one of the main priorities and deliverables of the Hereford Centre for Cyber Security. To support this, the local contractor utilised sub-contractors within a 30-mile radius to deliver the project.
Midlands Centre for Cyber Security recently won in the West Midlands Constructing Excellence awards for Building Project of the Year and Integration & Collaborative Working
“The Perfect Circle team is working proactively with the contractor and University of Wolverhampton key stakeholders through the Stage 2 tender process. The fixed budget for the project is presenting some difficult challenges but the collaborative approach being taken by the team is progressively mitigating these challenges without significantly impacting on the design and functionality of the building.”
Paul Davis, assistant director of estates and facilities at the University of Wolverhampton