The Haven Gateway Partnership is pleased to announce I-Construct, a new project part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to serve the construction sector in South East Local Enterprise Partnership region comprising of Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

Under I-Construct the partnership will offer business support, innovation grant schemes and advice to support the development of the construction sector. It will create a network and a space where thought leadership – in topics such as robotics, modular construction, BIM and collaborative bidding - is shared and celebrated both virtually and ultimately in person. It will also give opportunities for businesses to network and attend Meet the Buyer events with project owners/ developers and Tier 1 contractors.

As part of the I-Construct project, building work has started on a £2.3 million centre of excellence for construction innovation in Braintree, Essex.

Government Members and representatives from Beardwell Construction joined project partners Haven Gateway in a traditional breaking of the ground ceremony near Springwood Drive to mark the occasion.

I-Construct ground breaking photo by Steve Brading

Photo from left to right: George Kieffer (Chairman at Haven Gateway Partnership), Cllr John McKee (Cabinet Member for Corporate Transformation), Duncan Clark (Managing Director at Beardwell Construction Limited), James Cleverly (MP for Braintree) and Tom Cunningham (Deputy Leader at Braintree District Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure).

Beardwell Construction is the appointed contractor set to deliver on the build of this state-of-the-art, new centre consisting of workshop and demonstration spaces, a technology laboratory, conference facilities and informal meeting areas.

The BREEAM* Excellent-rated two-storey hub will be located next to the Braintree Enterprise Centre and will open during the summer of 2021.

When up and running, the project aims to launch 150 new products and has the potential to create up to 130 new jobs. However I-Construct is already supporting some businesses ahead of a formal launch in November.

Braintree District Council is investing £1.5 million into the build of the centre. The build project will also receive a grant of £800,000 from the European Regional Development Fund.

I-Construct building Springwood Industrial Estate Braintree vehicle access view render by Barker Associates

Artist impressions courtesy of Barker Associates.

I-Construct is led by the Haven Gateway Partnership and its delivery partners: Braintree District Council, BRE (Building Research Establishment), Colchester Institute, and Daedalus Environmental and will collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders and industry bodies to deliver the project.

Cllr John McKee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Transformation at Braintree District Council, said:

“We have begun the exciting work of creating a flagship centre to promote innovation in construction. This project will help businesses grow and create quality job and training opportunities for people in and around Essex and beyond. The creation of this hub means that we are playing our part in supporting innovative businesses and generating the momentum needed to get our economy motoring again.”

Rt Hon James Cleverly Member of Parliament for Braintree said:

“This will be an exciting new building that will showcase exciting new construction technologies. It is another example of local government and business working closely together to deliver opportunity and jobs for local people.”

George Kieffer, Chairman of the Haven Gateway Partnership, said:

“Our work will not only safeguard existing jobs in the construction industry, but it will also help create new jobs and solve some of the challenges facing businesses within that industry. This centre will provide a focal point for business support and innovative building solutions which will have a positive impact on hundreds of businesses across the region and nationally.”

Duncan Clark, Managing Director at Beardwell Construction Limited said:

“We are a leading regional contractor committed to working closely with the clients and communities we engage with. We will be working with local subcontractors to create a range of job opportunities for people living and working in the area. We are looking forward to making a positive start on this new innovative build.”

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*BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment. For more: