Scotland: Scale of new Avian Science Research Centre revealed

16-03-2018 | |
Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock
Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock

More than £5.1m is to be spent building the new Scottish Rural College (SRUC) Avian Science Research Centre in Midlothian.

The works contract, seen by Poultry World, has been awarded to Livingston-based Interserve Construction, which will develop the Bush Estate site, Penicuik. 

  • Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock

    Photo: Broker/Rex/Shutterstock

There were 9 tenders received for the work – all from within the UK. The work will cover:

  • Preparatory site clearance and groundworks and the construction of:
  • 1,240 square metre floor-pen facility, capable of taking up to 8000 birds.
  • 1020 square metre poultry and laying house and store. 
  • 133 square metre staff hub
  • External hard and soft landscaping
  • Associated refuse stores and plant enclosures

The development also includes a 250 square metre Hatchery: an incubation facility with associated specialist incubators, hatchers and mechanical and electrical installations. This contract has been awarded to 3b Construction.

SRUC spokeswoman Claire Laing said in the tender that this was a flexible research facility encompassing areas of breeding, laying, hatching, growing and processing. The facilities will be used for studying nutrition, physiology, behaviour, health and welfare to better service breeding, nutrition and health research and knowledge exchange.

Bidders were required to have specialist expertise in the design and construction of all mechanical and electrical systems necessary for the health and well-being of poultry stock such as heating and mechanical ventilation systems, lighting and watering systems and control systems.

The announcement that the poultry research unit was being moved from Ayrshire to Midlothian was made 2 years ago. It brings the unit to the same base as most of the College’s animal and veterinary scientists.

The new facility will enhance SRUC’s ability to meet the needs of industry and a growing market and will be co-funded by CIEL, one of the UK Government’s proposed Agri-Tech Innovation Centres.

Colin McEwan, Director of Commercialisation & Innovation said: “Integrating the strength of SRUC’s poultry staff and animal scientists in this state-of-the-art center will enable us to increase our ability to respond to industry needs while continuing our world-leading research.  We are looking forward to opening the center early in 2018.”

Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist