Work is now underway to create one of the world’s largest maritime test facilities at Howbery Business Park in Wallingford. This follows the completion of HR Wallingford’s £3 million development by Kier Construction.
HR Wallingford’s Fast Flow Facility, called F3, will be housed within the 17,000 sq ft building and is capable of holding up to 1,000,000 litres of water, equivalent to filling 12,500 average-sized baths spanning the length of 4.5 tennis courts. It will have the capacity to generate waves up to a metre high and currents in excess of 1m/s.
The F3 is being created to enhance the company’s scour, sediment and structure modelling in the maritime, coastal and energy sectors, and will feature alongside an expanded manufacturing space to increase product design and fabrication capabilities.
Dr Keith Powell, HR Wallingford director, said: “It is an extremely exciting time at HR Wallingford as our new facility will significantly increase our modelling capabilities, helping us to extend our lead in the renewable energy and maritime sectors.”
The purpose-built building will also become home to HR Wallingford’s world-class ship simulation centre with four real-time, 360-degree field view simulators and two tug bridge simulators, built in conjunction with the company’s newly-upgraded facility in Perth, Australia, to improve its international capability.
The new development includes environmentally-friendly features such as a permeable paving system, which helps to alleviate flooding by allowing groundwater to disperse naturally rather than through a piped drainage system into the river.
“On behalf of HR Wallingford and Howbery Business Park, I’d like to thank Kier Construction for completing an outstanding building on schedule to ensure it is open for business later this year,” said John Ormston, chief executive of Howbery Business Park.
“HR Wallingford has been based at the park since 1962 and has since become a world-renowned civil engineering and environmental hydraulics company. The Howbery community is very much looking forward to sharing in HR Wallingford’s continued success.”
Kier Construction director Glyn Salmon said: “This is Kier’s third successful project at Howbery Business Park. As part of our ongoing relationship with HR Wallingford, Kier was involved with the early design development of the scheme, resulting in greater certainty of cost, programme and quality.”
HR Wallingford continues to grow having seen its turnover increase in all sectors by 10% year on year for the past three years in addition to 65% of its trade taking place overseas. Staff numbers have also increased to over 300 from less than 250 in the past three years.
An exciting opening of HR Wallingford’s new building is being planned for October this year and it is anticipated that a special guest will visit Howbery Business Park to open the state of the art facility.
Howbery Business Park is the UK’s first solar-powered business park and prides itself on taking a forward-thinking approach to creating a contemporary working environment, while ensuring the park’s success remains uncompromised by the recession. Major occupiers apart from HR Wallingford include the Environment Agency and GTI Media.