The Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd offsite timber challenge – commercial projects

We are seeking responses from timber specialists to this unique challenge. There is a stereotype in the built environment that building with timber is difficult to achieve and expensive – we disagree. Through this competition we hope to hear from likeminded innovators who specialise in the production and provision of offsite timber that can be applied to a commercial project setting.


Who we are

Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd are fully committed to sustainability. Our intention is to create one of the first fully sustainable campuses, focusing not just on construction and operation but leading sustainable approaches such as carbon off-setting. Incoming tenants are actively encouraged to contribute to the sustainability of the campus through research and business activity. The Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd North site is targeted to be a zero-carbon site by 2030. This is in response to the International Panel on Climate Change Report published in October 2018 and ahead of the UK government policy which requires zero carbon economies by 2050. This includes incorporation of a range of sustainability standards on an integrated basis, including operational and embodied energy, carbon cost modelling, life cycle assessments, use of bio-based, locally sourced materials and reviewing community impacts.

I would like to see cost parity between traditional carbon intensive building systems and new innovative low impact systems to meet the urgent zero carbon challenge. Solutions need to be practical, scalable, and suitable for the commercial letting sector to adopt, and need to be delivered in time to address the climate emergency. This is an important challenge that we are setting from the business and science park community and I look forward to response from the sector.”  

Professor John French. Director of Development and Sustainability, Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge


What we do

CIPL offer premium serviced office space with additional amenities for mid-tech companies at good value. With three sites in excellent locations in Cambridge, Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd offer workspaces with on-site facilities including gyms, parking, concierge services and landscaped grounds. Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd places Clients at the center, from their business inception to the point in which they need to start scaling up and beyond.

The Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd North site has been operating successfully since 2012. This site currently consists of two buildings; Blenheim House & Stirling House which are now at full capacity. Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd are in the process of submitting a masterplan planning application for the site which comprises the provision of three new buildings, associated car parking, cycle parking and landscaping. In addition to Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd North, Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd own land at two further sites – Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd South and West which are planned to be developed over the next few years.


What we need

Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd are challenging the industry to build commercial office space using offsite manufactured timber units, that are easy to construct and are cost effective. The offices require open plan spaces of 2,000sqft to 8,000sqft as offsite manufactured units for assembly onsite.

Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd are pioneers of bio-based construction as an important path to their zero-carbon target. Therefore, it is vital that the timber units are produced with low embodied carbon. The offsite characteristic of the timber units encompasses important aspects of the design such as modularity, scalability, adaptability and life cycle duration. Circular economy is a core principle to deliver a sustainable long-term solution.  Stimulating collaboration between forward thinking companies in the construction industry is a priority for delivering these premium office spaces; Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd want to be at the forefront of adopting new processes. The ethos of the chosen organisation must align with the CIPL principle of only working with ethical partners and suppliers to foster innovation. You will need to be able to evidence previous experience in sustainable projects and demonstrate how experience from delivery in other built environment sectors can be used in commercial space solutions.

This brief is open to both UK and EU based organisations. However it is essential that the products can be adopted to be locally sourced, manufactured and erected in the UK – if not now then to have the ability to do so in the future. Associated with carbon parity is cost parity and respondents will need to be able to fully forecast costs to provide cost certainty. The organisation must be financially stable and capable of providing a supply and delivery with adequate mitigations for scenarios for the COVID19 pandemic and Brexit. Times for the delivery and lead in are not restricted but must be known in advance of March 2021 when the next Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd North project is programmed to be procured.


Cambridge Innovation Parks Ltd has a preference towards working with an organisation which:

  • can work under a turnkey contract
  • the solutions can avoid wet trades and has integrated services
  • has relevant case studies, though innovators and start-ups are also encouraged to respond
  • highlights the aesthetics of the timber
  • can span large areas to negate the need for columns


We need you

If you are inspired by the challenge, please respond by completing the accompanying proforma.


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