New drone footage shows University of Bath’s world-class IAAPS facility as it nears post-construction stage

Drone footage shows impressive progress on University of Bath’s impressive new automotive propulsion R&I facility

The new IAAPS R&I facility, based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, is now watertight and the building envelope complete. M&E works are continuing to prepare for the research cell equipment installation which will start in the coming months

IAAPS will be a world-class facility supporting global automotive industries to deliver future generations of advanced propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles. IAAPS will enable insight into the complex nature of transitioning to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including the continued electrification of vehicles, and is due to open in 2021.

Recent progress on site continues to provide an insight in to how impressive the finished facility will be. Externally, cladding to the each façade and the two storey glazed wall to the north elevation nears completion. The land around the facility is currently being developed in to roadways and parking, receiving its first installation of tarmac in May 2020.

Internally, rooms and spaces are identifiable due to significant progress made with walls and initial decoration that define the zones across all floors. All high level modular MEP units that were fabricated off-site are now installed in their final positions, reducing the time this would have ordinarily have taken to build on site. The first of University of Bath’s fit out contractors commenced their installation alongside Rydon in March 2020, with AVL, delivering the university’s largest amount of fit out works, due to commence following completion of the first section of Rydon’s works in August 2020. These key interfaces continue to be managed through regular meetings and workshops.

WSP, who were appointed civil and structural engineers in early 2018, has released new drone footage showing the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) as it nears the end of construction.

The footage, produced by Kestrel Surveys on behalf of WSP, shows the structure which, when completed, will be 13,500 sqm in size and two storeys tall. The ground floor rear will contain test facilities for engines, propulsion, power trains and chassis dyno cells, while the first-floor rear will consist of specialist equipment to serve the test areas below it.

The state-of-the-art equipment and space will allow detailed systems-level research to be conducted including whole vehicle analysis under real-world driving conditions, recognising the ever-changing nature of mobility and travel in the UK, particularly with a transition to low carbon transportation as part of the UK’s 2050 net zero target.

IAAPS is being built at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, a regional hub for science and technology businesses, and has received funding from both the Research England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through the Local Growth Fund, administered by the West of England Combined Authority.

WSP has been on the University of Bath’s Consultants Framework since 2012 for civil and structural engineering services, with this project being led by the firm’s Bristol structures team.

Turner & Townsend is the Project Manager and Rydon is the main contractor. Stride Treglown and DKA are the architects on the project and the cost consultant is Fulkers Bailey Russell.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “The West of England is set to lead the world in the development of ultra-low emission vehicles. Supporting innovation and business growth like this is key to our economic success. The IAAPS project also supports our ambitions for clean economic growth and will help us to attract even more innovative businesses to the region.”

Peter Bone, Technical Director for Structures at WSP, said: “The University of Bath’s IAAPS will be a globally significant facility and at the forefront of research into propulsion systems and ultra-low emission vehicles. The need for world-class facilities and academia to support this agenda has never been greater as decarbonising our transport network will be a key element of the UK achieving net zero emissions by 2050. We’re delighted to be working on this project with the University and look forward to seeing the facility in action.”

Professor Gary Hawley, Executive Director of IAAPS, said: “We’re excited to see the new IAAPS research facility take shape and this footage gives us a unique and useful insight into the build that shows the ambition and scale of the project. Both the University of Bath and IAAPS’ other major investors, Research England and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, are pleased to see the continued progress of the building, particularly in the current climate. The facility will allow us to significantly accelerate our work to develop high-quality research-based solutions for the automotive industry as it moves to a more sustainable and efficiency-focused future.”