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Prestigious aerospace training facility now open in Newark

Prestigious aerospace training facility now open in Newark

The eagerly anticipated Air and Space Institute (ASI) in Newark has now received its first intake of students. The £15.4m state-of-the-art facility provides world-class educational opportunities for future generations of the aerospace industry.

Procured through the Pagabo National Framework for Major Construction Works and delivered by Midlands-based contractor, G F Tomlinson, the new ASI facility provides a unique opportunity for students aged 16-18 to train for pilot, engineer and ground-crew roles in airlines, the military, airports and logistics companies across the UK and abroad.

The new three-storey college building constructed for Newark College, which is part of the Lincoln College Group, sits adjacent to the Newark and Sherwood District Council offices on the former Cattle Market and is only the second of its kind to be built in the UK.

The facility provides high tech training for the air and space industry, accommodating a full-sized Airbus A318 for enhanced hands-on teaching experience, alongside a double height entrance hall, large open space hangar, flight simulators, teaching zones, engineering workshops, lecture and seminar areas.

It is anticipated that the building blueprint could form a model for future establishments of this type, across other areas of the UK.

Introducing a full-sized commercial aeroplane into the building posed a number of complexities including ensuring the installation was successfully implemented within the tight tolerances of the building.

The initial brief was just a section of the fuselage to be placed into the building. Through collaborative innovation with the client and designers on how the plane would be supported on specially designed wheel mounts, we were able to install the Airbus A318 as a whole unit, enhancing the learning experience for students.

G F Tomlinson sourced specialist advice from a private Flight Director who provided industry expertise to collaboratively assist with the permanent installation in the hangar. The aircraft was transported from the Air Salvage International base in Cirencester and travelled 110 miles by police escort to Newark.

Prior to arrival, reinforced concrete pads and beams were installed to strengthen the floor slab and a specialist hydraulic gantry was erected within the building to lift the fuselage from the low loader and temporarily suspend and support the aircraft mid-air.

Specially designed structural steel supporting systems were manufactured and installed to stabilise and take the weight of the aircraft, fixing it in its final position.

G F Tomlinson used BIM technology software from the conception of the scheme, to digitally map the complex build which comprised numerous articulated angles. Using world coordinate systems for its design and construction, the software allowed the contractor and client to work the design and use real time updates to navigate through all fundamental stages towards completion.

This software helped ensure the plane installation could be completed accurately, with tolerances down to millimetres.

Sustainability was an integral part of the project, with initiatives such as five air source heat pumps, two air handling units and three extracts incorporated within the building to reduce the overall energy building requirements.

During the project, 1140 car miles were driven using low-emission vehicles and we sourced 92% local spend and 92% local labour within 40 miles of site. 135.53 tonnes of wood waste materials were rescued from the waste stream and 99.3% of site waste was recycled, aligning with the target of offsetting carbon during the project, in line with the Government’s Net Zero agenda.

G F Tomlinson provided £25,315,802 of Total Social Value opportunities for the local community, which was calculated using social impact software, Loop. This included organised site visits, regular newsletters and career talks with students from nearby schools. 228 hours of work experience placements, 948 apprentice hours and 723 local student engagements were provided.

Adrian Grocock, Managing Director at G F Tomlinson, said: “It’s been an honour to turn Lincoln College Group’s vision into a reality, providing a world-class training facility for young people going into the aerospace industry.

“We worked closely with the client using the latest technology and specialist advice to ensure the seamless construction of the new campus building and the installation of the large commercial aircraft for educational purposes – consulting with third party experts to manage the transportation and stabilisation of the aircraft to its final fixed position.”

Councillor Matthew Spoors, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Economic Development at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This is a huge moment not just for Newark but the whole district. We now have an amazing world-class training centre right in the heart of our community which will be giving local students opportunities to pursue successful and inspiring careers like they’ve never had before.

“This goes beyond just education but will create exciting developments for our local community. It will provide employment opportunities and boost our local economy and will be home to over 200 students each year. 

“It will directly create almost 40 new jobs for the area and importantly will create many more over the coming generations to those wanting to embark on careers and pathways into better skilled, well-paid jobs in the civil and military aviation industries.

“The ASI has all been made possible thanks to the successful Newark Town Board bid for £25m as part of the Government’s Towns Fund initiative in 2019 and it’s been great to see students already studying at the site after years of planning and construction.”

Tom Marsden, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Lincoln College Group, said: “We are thrilled with the exceptional work done by GF Tomlinson and their team of contractors in constructing our new state-of-the-art facility.

“Their dedication and expertise have truly transformed the space into a cutting-edge hub for education and training that will benefit not only the students of Newark but also the entire surrounding region. We are excited to see the positive impact this facility will have on our community for years to come.”

David Llewellyn, head of construction and infrastructure at Pagabo Group, said: “Our goal is always to make procurement simple, effective and compliant, and this type of large-scale project is the perfect example of when a framework such as our Major Construction Works framework can come into its own. With numerous complexities to overcome, it’s important for clients to have access to both established suppliers as well as newer SMEs to offer innovative solutions that really work, while improving access to the types of sustainable solutions that were so important to this project.

“Sustainability and social value really are at the heart of effective future procurement, so it’s been brilliant to facilitate a project which also upholds these values at every touchpoint.”

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024