KJ Tait Engineers | The Maxwell Centre
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The Maxwell Centre


The Maxwell Centre is the University of Cambridge’s new £17M centrepiece building for exploratory ‘blue skies’ research and industrial partnership in the physical sciences. It utilises an innovative layered laboratory design, ensuring services to individual laboratories can be changed without affecting others. Scientists from industry will occupy laboratory and desk space alongside the Cambridge research groups to promote a two-way flow of ideas and expose the best early career researchers to scientific problem-solving that relates directly to industrial needs.

KJ Tait Engineers provided a full design service on the project, which was handed over on time and budget and achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. To achieve the environmental criteria within the laboratories, a solution using evaporative adiabatic air handling units was implemented. This greatly reduces the cooling energy demand over traditional chiller based systems. We developed a low complexity natural ventilation system to the office floors utilising openable windows, automatically opening ventilation inlets and exposed thermal mass for night cooling. The natural ventilation strategy was considered from the outset and we were able to develop the form of the building with the Architect to optimise its performance.

KJ Tait originated the MEP BIM model and developed the detail from concept through to publishing our LOD4 model at the beginning of Stage 5 when the Contractor takes ownership of our model and developed it to fabrication and installation status. Throughout the design stage, we regularly exchanged models with the Project Team using the common data environment and carried out clash detection exercises using the federated models. We collaborated with the Team to develop the BIM Execution Plan and assisted the Employer in formulating their Employer’s Information Requirements.