Design & Environment

Design & Environment

The projects Partnerships' ambitions were clearly expressed in a specially written 160-page Detailed Design Statement (DDS) [PDF] which emphasised the importance of design, quality and environmental performance and the desire to create an inclusive environment for all in a building and landscape expressive of  the 21st Century.  

The Partnerships approach to the project brief made extensive use of stakeholder consultation at both local and national level. This helped shape the DDS, project specifications and evaluation criteria. Both UKCIP and WRAP contributed technical material to the contract documentation. UKCIP, the City Civic Society and countywide Access Group (WASU) all participated in the evaluation process and will be able to see the influence they had upon the scheme.  

The exceptional relationship which developed with the preferred bidder Galliford Try during competitive dialogue, through to financial close, continued through the construction phase. The Partners project team and community representatives were fully involved with constructor and design team in design development. The outcome is a project which meets the Partners ambitions for a public building of the highest quality and environmental performance.  

Innovative Design Feature [PDF]

Ventilation & Cooling system

Water Management [PDF]





Construction techniques to minimize impacts on the environment:
-Existing buildings demolished and the resultant materials crushed and re-used for the piling mat~
-Piled foundations “bored” as opposed to being “driven” into the ground to reduce the impact on the archaeological features buried beneath the building.
-Recycled aggregate and GGBFS cement replacement used in the concrete frame to reduce embodied energy.
-Post tensioned concrete slabs used to reduce the amount of concrete and particularly the steel reinforcement required.
-The roof is built almost entirely of prefabricated timber panels, reducing on site wastage and site energy consumption.
-Over 75% of waste creating during the construction phase has been recycled.
-A proprietary system was adopted which filtered out the cement based sediments from water used on site.  CO2 was used to neutralised the filtered water before its disposal.

Construction Cost Analysis [PDF]

Total area of site (hectares) - 1.3442 ha  

Function areas and sizes  
Receptions & Issues & Enquiries – 224m2
Waiting, Sitting & Lounge Areas – 181m2
Office & Call Centres – 750 m2
Meeting Rooms & Interview Rooms – 427 m2
Staff Rooms  - 25 m2
Play Areas – 464 m2
Library, Reading & Microfiche Area – 3548 m2
Study Areas, IT Suites & Studios – 663m2
Kitchenette / Servery – 6m2
Kitchen (Commercial) – 25 m2
Café & Refreshment Area – 176 m2
Bookshop & Heritage Shop – 38 m2
Workshops (No Special Features) – 157 m2
Conservation Workshop – 86 m2
Performance Spaces – 110 m2
Changing Rooms – 12 m2 Exhibition Space – 9 m2

Heating – 700kw biomass boiler, local fuel supply
Ventilation - Primarily naturally ventilated
Cooling - River water cooling
Emissions - 50% reduction on Part L2 Building Regulations, 15.8kg CO2/m2/yr
Water management - Water saving and rainwater harvesting, mains water consumption reduced by 40%Materials - recycled content of the construction is 22.4% by value.
Climate impact - Building comfort conditions calculated for predicted weather conditions in the years 2020 and 2050
Structure - thermal mass of the concrete structure assists heating and cooling. Concrete has reduced cement content for a lower environmental impact
Landscape - soft landscape provides public amenity, enhances the urban ecology and adds to the buildings environmental performance

The Hive

Predicted electricity consumption (kWh/m2/year) - 105kWh/m2/yr (includes small power and IT which are not included in part L figures, but is based on longer opening hours than Part L). Part L estimate of electricity consumption is 32 kWh/m2/yr.  

Predicted fossil fuel consumption (kWh/m2/year) - 5 kWh/m2/yr. not including biomass fuel, assumes gas usage for peak loads and backup only  

Predicted renewable energy generation (kWh/m2/year) - 38 kWh/m2/yr biomass generated heat  

Predicted water use (m3/occupant/year) – 2.5 m3/occupant/year.  1.5m3 potable water per occupant per year. 1m3 harvested rainwater per occupant per year.  

% Predicted water use to be provided by rainwater or greywater – 40% as above.


BREEAM rating and score - BREEAM Excellent  

Basic Building Cost (£/m2) – 1842 £/m2  

Services Costs (£/m2) – 804 £/m2  

External Works (£/m2) – 424 £/m2  

Gross floor area (m2) - 13253 m2  

Total area of site (hectares) - 1.3442 ha

Key Fact

Naturally ventilated, the building will be heated using biomass boilers and use water from the River Severn to provide supplementary cooling, creating a low energy healthy environment.


Key Fact

The building has been modelled and tested in wind tunnels at Cardiff University to make sure the natural ventilation system works.


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