26 May 2016

Landmark Plymouth building wins RICS community award

The Millfields Trust’s state-of-the-art Genesis building received the Community Benefit award at the prestigious RICS South West Awards 2016 held at Cheltenham Racecourse.

The annual ceremony run by the RICS, the world's leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction, showcases the most inspirational regional initiatives and developments.

The Community Benefit award recognises excellence in providing a facility which directly benefits the local community. In particular, the judges were looking for the project that illustrated its success through the feedback from the local community.

The pioneering, ERDF and Heart of the South West LEP’s Growing Places funded building was designed to create employment and serve the local community in one of the most deprived areas of Plymouth.  It comprises of flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, a full height internal atrium and Plymouth’s first living walls.

The Millfields Trust was set up to enable local people to contribute and manage the regeneration of the Stonehouse neighbourhood in Plymouth.

The Genesis building, designed by Plymouth-based Architects, Form Design, features Portland stone cladding, the only vertical gardens in the South West and carved reliefs on each elevation. Built by Midas Construction, part of the Midas Group, the project provided opportunities for community involvement, work placements and apprenticeships for local residents, ensuring ownership and pride in the achievement.

Father Sam Philpott MBE, Chair of the Millfields Trust Board of Directors: “One of the good things about Midas is that they absolutely bought into the culture of Millfields, which is about regenerating our community, rather than just putting up a building. They bought into the fact that we should have apprentices from the community, and that we needed to engage our young people in how you build a building. They weren’t just a builder sticking up a building, but a builder who was building for a particular trust with particular goals.”

Andy McAdam, Divisional Director for Midas Construction in Devon and Cornwall, said: “We are very proud of this award. It was a truly collaborative project and one that everyone at Midas enjoyed working on hugely. As a local construction company, Midas was well placed to support apprenticeship schemes and create jobs in the local area through our strong network of sub-contractors, as well as being committed to providing training opportunities to help local people explore career opportunities in the construction industry.”

Steve Hindley, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) said: “Genesis is a great example of development that benefits the local environment as well as the community by providing much needed employment space with and original and eye-catching architectural design. The project is an exemplar of the LEP’s Growing Places Fund, which is designed to unlock growth and create new jobs.

“As Chair of Midas - the contractor for the project – as well as being Chair of the LEP - which has the strategic mission to generate funding – I am doubly proud to be part of this new asset to Plymouth’s city-scape.”

The project has since been awarded a Considerate Constructors Scheme National Site Award, and has earned a BREEAM Offices Excellent rating.  The fabric of the building was designed to achieve very low heat losses with insulation values of approximately 50% above Building Regulation requirement. Rooms incorporate solar control glazing to reduce the cooling demand along with daylight dimming and low energy LED lighting.

It was also named “Building of the Year 2015” by The Building Forum for Devon and Cornwall.

Financial backing was secured from three bodies; the European Regional Development Fund, which contributed a grant of £2.5 million, the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership provided a loan of £2.1 million and Plymouth City Council acted as loan guarantor.

The building was stated as an exemplar project by ERDF and LEP funders in terms of collaborative working and methods of procurement.

For more information visit www.millfieldstrust.com

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