Contractor will build Stride Treglown-designed building in Exeter

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The Met Office has appointed Willmott Dixon to build a £20m home for the final part of its new supercomputer, which will enable more accurate prediction of the weather.

The facility at Exeter Science Park will house a supercomputer capable of running more sophisticated weather and climate models that will assist the UK’s resilience to extreme weather events.

News of the major investment by the Met Office comes despite one of its major customers, the BBC, choosing to end its weather forecasting contract with the Met Office in favour of tendering to outsitde competiton.

Willmott Dixon has been awarded the contract through the Scape National Major Works framework. The architect is Stride Treglown, services engineer is Arup and structural engineer is WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. It will be fully operational in 2017.

Dave Underwood, Met Office deputy director for the High Performance Computing Programme, said: “High performance computing is an essential component of everything the Met Office does and the first phase of the new supercomputer is already operational, five weeks ahead of schedule.

“It’s going to be exciting to see this new facility at the Science Park becoming a reality. It brings the vision of a world-leading centre of environmental science prediction in the south-west and improved UK resilience to high impact weather another step closer.”

Neal Stephens, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the South-west said: “This will be another important asset to our country’s technology sector, providing us with one of Europe’s biggest supercomputers inside an iconic building that we will create. We are very proud to be playing such an important part in this project; it further compliments our skill-set for building science facilities that make us a world leader in this sector.”

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