I-Construct Innovation Hub planning application submitted

I-Construct Innovation Hub planning application submitted

I-Construct design image

Braintree District Council has submitted a planning application for the I-Construct Innovation Hub - a centre of excellence for construction innovation, planned for Braintree, which will support businesses and create jobs across the Greater South East region.

The new hub will be home to a team offering business support, grant schemes and advice to small and medium sized firms connected to the construction industry. It will be a place to network, collaborate and share innovative construction ideas, technology and techniques.

The types of innovative technologies could include robotics, 3D printers and building information modelling software. 

The hub’s activities will be managed by the Haven Gateway Partnership and will serve the South East Local Enterprise Partnership region comprising of Essex, Kent and East Sussex.

The two-storey building, located at the Braintree Enterprise Centre, will consist of workshop and demonstration spaces, a technology lab, conference and networking facilities, café and meeting areas.  The facility will meet industry-leading ‘BREEAM Excellent’ rating which means that it will be built to exceptional environmental standards using innovative construction techniques and modern materials.

This project will be funded by the Council and by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund. If planning permission is granted, construction work is expected to start towards the end of 2019.

Cllr John McKee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Transformation at Braintree District Council, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Haven Gateway Partnership in promoting construction innovation and that Braintree will be home to this new flagship centre. This hub will provide a focal point for business support and product development opportunities. The impact of this on business growth, high quality job creation and prospects for people in and around Essex is huge. We want to make our district an attractive place to do business, creating more jobs for our residents which is why our investment into this project is so important.”

Anita Thornberry, Executive Director at the Haven Gateway Partnership, said: “We’re excited to be leading on this project supporting productivity in the construction sector and its supply chain. The construction industry is vital to our economy and quality of life, but it faces major structural challenges including labour shortages, lack of investment and low productivity. We want to help companies overcome these issues through grants, technology and support for innovation so they can secure new business, become more competitive and operate more efficiently. This project aims to launch 150 new products or services and has the potential to create up to 130 new jobs.”