Wates has started work on a £31.5m science centre in Oxfordshire, which will include office space, meeting areas and laboratories for quantum computing.
The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) is being built at Harwell, with the intention of bringing together experts in the academic, business, and private sectors.
Research will focus on finding solutions to making quantum computing technology more scalable and commercially viable. The space will also provide the infrastructure to build and operate quantum computers.
Quantum computers are machines that use the properties of quantum physics to store large amounts of data and perform computations. They can help in a range of applications, including better use of transport networks by providing the optimal route to save on time and fuel costs.
Wates has decided to use sustainable materials and methods of construction for the build. Cross-laminated timber will be used for the building frame. The internal riser, corridor modules, and plant-room skids will be produced at Wates’ off-site factory in Coventry.
The contractor plans to use electrically-powered plant and machinery where possible, instead of diesel. The project aims to divert 98% of waste away from landfill.
Dr Michael Cuthbert, Director, NQCC, commented: “With the commencement of the main construction work by Wates, we’ve reached a significant milestone for the NQCC.
“It is a major step towards the UK’s ambition to build and support a vibrant and strong quantum ecosystem.”
The programme is funded through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), in partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Paul Chandler, Wates Construction Group executive managing director, said: “The project will allow increased collaboration and provide new ways of working to help tackle the problems that classical computers can’t resolve.
“Working alongside the UKRI, we want to ensure that world-leading technological innovation continues to grow and flourish in the UK through having the best-in-class buildings that can facilitate it.”
Construction started on site earlier this year, and is due to be completed between July and September 2023.
Image: An artist’s impression of the National Quantum Computing Centre building(credit: UKRI).
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