Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter - fostering future engineering ingenuity

The much anticipated £300m Swansea Waterfront Innovation Quarter project has acquired the remaining land required for the scheme to proceed and is now set to go ahead.

Part of the University of Wales Trinity St Davids large-scale investment in Swansea, the project received planning permissions in November, has since undergone consultation and has been the subject of much discussion on revitalising the area.

Talking about projects such as the Innovation Quarter, Swansea University’s bay campus, as well as the tidal lagoon project, Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said in November that there was potential for the area to form “a knowledge economy cluster that will complement the city centre’s regeneration, create new jobs and boost Swansea’s profile as a city of academic expertise that’s at the forefront of new research, development and technology.”

With innovation being crucial to all sectors involved in infrastructure, this project is not just another project underway, it also represents a cultivation of future skills and a workforce pipeline that will push the industry to continually innovate, and develop to meet the challenges of the future.

According to Engineering UK, there will be approximately 2.74m job openings in engineering over the next decade, emphasising the need for initiatives such as the Swansea Waterfron Innovation Quarter which aims to “produce employable graduates and create skills development opportunities relevant to employers.” 

Troup Bywaters +Anders building services engineers (TB+A) has developed the masterplan for the SA1 Swansea site leading to the planning application to Swansea City Council that was approved. TB+A will continue with the project in order to develop the design of the building services engineering and renewable energy solutions for phase 1 of the development, otherwise known as the ‘FACE/Tech building as well as the library.

Chris Lynn, part of the TB+A team spoke to Infrastructure Intelligence on what it is like to work on the project. Stressing the importance of cultivating innovation, Lynn said: “Technology continues to change at a rapid rate and it’s imperative that innovation remains at the heart of engineering to stay ahead of competition across the UK and internationally. This development will massively assist in encouraging innovation at all levels. Engineering is at the heart of all building developments and magnificent schemes such as this help to elevate the important role undertaken by engineers in today’s built environment.”

Lynn said that they were delighted to have been involved from the very early planning stage f the project and now the detailed design of the first buildings on the development as it has morphed from theory towards reality. "It’s a great feeling and something we are at TB+A proud to be involved in,” said Lynn.

According to Lynn the importance of the project is that it “brings together a real life scenario of learning and innovation between education and business providing a fantastically vibrant place for business. It will ‘kick-start’ and attract more businesses to the area,” he said.

The project is geared to ensuring sustainability and developing much needed skills will push not just future students but those engineers currently engaged on the project, to go beyond traditional concepts ensuring that Swansea will not just meet tomorrow’s challenges but will become a catalyst of enterprise growth and expertise.