University of Warwick

Building Use


Project Duration

14 weeks

Procurement Method


Why buy from Portakabin

Project Features

  • Advanced R&D facilities with highly complex M&E services
  • Three laboratories with high-performance concrete floors suitable for heavy or highly-sensitive equipment
  • 9m-high central processing hall
  • Offices
  • Open plan research area
  1. The Requirements

    A state-of-the-art research facility was required for the new International Institute for Nanocomposite Manufacturing at WMG at the University of Warwick – the first institute of its kind in the world. The new institute develops innovative manufacturing technologies enabling industry to make large-scale nanocomposite parts for products in sectors such as telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, security and medicine. A team of 50 nanocomposite researchers work there with other academic groups and partners from the industry, both in the UK and internationally.

  2. The Solution

    The two-storey £2.3m scheme was manufactured off site at the Portakabin production centre in York and craned into position as 28 steel-framed modules. Offsite construction reduced the programme time to just 14 weeks on site – months less than originally envisaged. The exterior walls of the building have been arranged to create a dust-free, clean and easy-to-maintain environment for nanocomposite testing. The building houses advanced R&D facilities with highly complex M&E services and extensive use of renewable technologies to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. It has three laboratories with factory-installed high-performance concrete floors and full height uPVC hygienic wall linings.

There is a 9m high central processing hall with an in-situ poured concrete floor to support specialist equipment; offices and an open plan research space. The highly sustainable facility benefits from a number of renewable technologies that generate 18.9% of its annual energy requirement. Externally, the scheme has secondary perforated cladding for a high-tech appearance, and a feature mono-pitch roof.

The building has exceeded our expectations. It is as good as any site-based build. Offsite construction suits nanocomposite manufacturing very well and we would definitely recommend it.

Steve Walker, Senior Project Manager, University of Warwick

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