A PIONEERING research facility at the Science Museum in Wroughton, which will change the face of construction, is nearing completion.

The HIVE – the first building to reach completion at the University of Bath’s Building Research Park near the museum – celebrated its latest milestone at a topping-out ceremony yesterday, which marked the finish of the centre’s roof.

Once completed, academic and industry partners will use the facility to test low carbon construction materials and systems in order to reduce the environmental impact of buildings in the future.

Dr Mike Lawrence, of the University of Bath and director of the BRP, said: “I’m really excited to be holding the topping-out ceremony because it’s the first milestone to a research facility that will make a real difference to construction in the UK and the world.

“It’s also very exciting for the University of Bath that this project is now coming to a reality.

“We are very excited to launch our first piece of research with HEMPSEC. The Building Research Park is a pioneering site which will speed up the delivery to market of future energy-efficient construction materials and systems.”

Construction of the £1m project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) began in April and is expected to be completed later this month.

Eve Walkden, project manager at the HIVE, said: “It’s been going really, really well and it’s a really exciting project to be working on.

“The work that will be done here will really change how we build things and the materials we use, and already there has been a lot of interest in using the facility and how we can make it suit research better.

“This is definitely a milestone along the way and it’s very exciting to get this far and get closer to opening the new facility. Now the construction is nearly done it’s all about starting to get working.”

The new building has eight individual cells carefully constructed to be completely insulated from each other, each with a single face left exposed to the external environment. The faces are used to install walls made from a whole range of materials and construction systems, and the performance of these walls is evaluated in real life conditions.

The museum is leasing the land to the university at a peppercorn rent to encourage the development of sustainable construction materials.