National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland

Published 23rd August 2022

The National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) is an ambitious proposal aimed at shaping the future of manufacturing and innovation in Scotland. The facility will help manufacturing businesses throughout Scotland become world leaders in innovation.

The Scottish Government is investing £48 million in NMIS with £8 million from the University of Strathclyde. NMIS will connect all of Scotland’s engineering Universities and colleges and be delivered in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, Renfrewshire Council and University of Strathclyde.

The NMIS development houses a fully digitalised factory of the future, skills academy and collaboration hub that will bring manufacturers together to work on the development of innovative new manufacturing technologies and products. Manufacturing and engineering firms of all sizes and from all sectors across Scotland and internationally will be able to use the institute to innovate and grow their business.

Following successful delivery of the feasibility study, our team is providing the structural and civil engineering design for the project and providing close liaison with the geotechnical engineers for the ground investigation works undertaken inside the NMIS site boundary.
Our involvement from the project’s feasibility stage has allowed us to fully understand the various technical aspects that will govern the civil and structural design. Future flexibility has been a key requirement of the project brief, and our team accommodated this by ensuring that future servicing requirements will create minimal disruption to the main structure. Flexibility has been designed-in to the scheme by locating services below the slabs within a fully accessible services trench cast into the ground floor slab. We have also incorporated additional drainage pop-ups and associated below ground drainage to areas where future toilet or kitchen facilities have been identified.
Our team worked closely with the NMIS design team and the University from the feasibility stage to develop and implement sustainable design solutions. We carried out a comparative study of the embodied carbon within the structural frame, reviewing the materials and structural frame against the original building concept, shape and form. This has resulted in the selection of a hybrid steel/timber frame with a timber-based solution for part of the building which utilises cross-laminate timber (CLT) with glulam timber beams and columns for the collaborative space, together with a steel frame for the digital factory.

Externally, sustainable drainage systems will improve water quality and control surface water run-off. The ground improvement solutions implemented in the design have also reduced the volume of excavated and imported material to the site. Through a collaborative engagement with Renfrewshire Council, we have managed to retain the excavated material on site for re-use in future projects and developments.

We also developed a materials specification to support circular economy principles by using materials that have been, or can be, remanufactured and reused where possible. The scheme avoids use of the most polluting materials such as concrete and other quarried aggregates and, where possible, materials that are manufactured overseas have been designed out.

Client: The University of Strathclyde
Architect: HLM Architects