06 July 2021

Ada Lovelace Building, Devon 

Project Details
Client: Exeter Science Park Limited
Project Manager: NPS South West Ltd
LHC Design (up to RIBA Stage 4)
KTA Architects (RIBA Stage 4 onwards)
LHC Design (Architectural Technical Advisor RIBA Stages 4 to 7)
Contractor: Midas Construction Ltd
Value: £ 4.3 million
Contract Period: 51 weeks
Procurement Type: Competitive tender - 2 stage
Size: 1,910m2

Framework: Southern Construction Framework



  • Net zero carbon in operation
  • BREEAM Excellent
  • CCS 40/50
  • 82% SMEs employed
  • 5 Jobs created during construction, 208+ waged training weeks delivered
  • Winner - 'Integrated Team of the Year', SCF Awards
  • Winner - 'Sustainability' & 'Fit-out/Refurbishment of the Year', South West Property Awards 2021
  • Shortlisted -   'Fit-out/Refurbishment of the Year', South West Property Awards 2021
  • Shortlisted - 'Project of the Year - under £5m', Michelmores Property Awards (results 04.11.21)
  • Shortlisted: 'Civic Development', 'Commercial Development' & 'Green Initiative', Exeter Property Awards 2021 (results 19.11.21)


Project Description
The Ada Lovelace Building is the latest significant addition to Exeter Science Park. Over three floors this striking building is a versatile, futureproofed, commercially viable space which is both Net Zero Carbon in operation and a high quality environment to work in. It meets a growing need for flexible offices, workshops and laboratories for companies working in scientific R&D, who have outgrown the Park’s incubation spaces. 

The building has been designed specifically for science, technology, engineering, maths and medical (STEMM) businesses and its internal spaces can be configured to suit tenants requirements. 

It has been named in fitting tribute to the mathematician celebrated as the world’s first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace.

Midas Construction delivered the project on time, within the original budget, providing a 1.2%
betterment from cost plan to contract. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the operational team put together a strategy to make the site Covid secure. We reevaluated the programme, making allowances for safe working with a reduced number of staff on site to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements. Midas extended the weekday site working hours and worked Saturdays to
mitigate overall delays to the programme whilst still providing 5.1% added value to the project.


Net Zero Carbon

The building includes a 44kWp solar PV system, with 110 high efficiency SunPower MAX3 400W COM 400Wp solar modules selected to manage the limited roof space, and the PV has an output of 19.59 kWh/m3. The building has enhanced insulation on the roof and walls and achieved an A+ EPC rating with a 99% perfect score.

Air permeability is 5.4 m3/(h.m2) at 50 Pa, against a maximum 10m3/(h.m2) at 50 Pa. The wall U-values are 0.18 [W/m2K)] against a limit of 0.35; the floor is 0.18 against a limit of 0.25; and the roof is 0.13 against a limit of 0.25. The windows and personnel doors are 1.65 against a limit of 2.2. The natural ventilation and extraction also surpassed targets. The building’s energy use is 82.98 kWh/m2 per year, with energy generated by the PV arrays stored in batteries and reused in the building. The building emission rate (kgCO2/m2 per year) is -0.77; the main heating fuel is District Heating with a biomass boiler serving the complex; and the building has natural ventilation, with natural ventilation heat recovery (NVHR) units, which temper the air quality and regulate thermal comfort.

If there is too much CO2 in the building the units bring in more fresh air from outside, warming it using air extracted from the building to warm air it's drawing in, ensuring thermal control and negating the need for air conditioning, with an effective brise soleil system to control glare. The target CO2 emission rate (TER) was 14.9 kgCO2/m2. The team achieved a building
CO2 emission rate (BER) of -0.8 kgCO2/m2, helping to deliver net zero carbon.

Social Value

During construction Midas worked to an Employment and Skills Plan (ESP) and surpassed targets to create five jobs, support two work-placements, deliver 208+ waged training weeks onsite and support 15 Construction Careers Events. Work continued during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing continuing employment for local suppliers and tradespeople through this difficult period.

90% of the accommodation was pre-let prior to practical completion. It will host 134 new STEMM jobs, providing 10,000ft² of flexible laboratory accommodation for the Environment Agency and will be pivotal in the national response to the ongoing Coronavirus threat.

As part of the new facility The Environment Agency created 67 new jobs, with Dashboard targeting 70 jobs with their move from the Science Park Centre Incubator. The remaining zone can accommodate up to 20 further employees.

Supporting the local economy during construction was key to both Exeter Science park and Midas: 82% companies employed via the project were SMEs and 69.8% of subcontractors were based within 30 miles of the site. During the development of the project a number of changes were introduced to add further local value to the project, including the selection of local companies to supply items which would normally be provided by larger national suppliers.



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