Insurance giant Zurich has hosted a topping out ceremony to celebrate a milestone in the building of its Swindon office project.
Contractors Skanska have reached the highest point of construction for ‘Unity Place’ - its new state-of-the-art office, which is set to be completed in the summer of 2022.
A rooftop ceremony included the poring of the final area with concrete, and unveiling a special plaque to mark the occasion.
The building will provide around 100,000 sq ft of office space over six floors, with a terrace and a function space at roof level.
Unity Place is looking to secure a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ on completion having minimised waste during construction and with plans to continue this through the building’s life cycle.
Energy will be supplied by renewable sources, it will be ‘single-use plastic’ free, and aims to be a paperless office with no printing or filing with all post digitalised.
Electric car charging will also be installed for visitors along with extra facilities for cyclists, to encourage more sustainable means of getting to and from work.
John Keppel, Zurich UK's chief operating officer said: “Today is a momentous date for us as we edge closer to completing Unity Place. As one of the county’s largest employers, we look forward to building on our strong links and partnerships with organisations in Swindon and beyond.
"We’re confident that our new building, with its focus on sustainability, will enhance the local area and the lives of our employees.”
Councillor David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Zurich’s new state-of-the-start office building has been a positive beacon on Swindon’s skyline for many months now and it is absolutely fantastic to see it taking shape as it marks the start of £100 million of investment in our town centre.
“It will not only maintain one of our top employers in Swindon, but help transform our town centre, increasing land values and encouraging additional investment to improve our town centre even further.
"This is an exciting time because we not only have this new building coming out of the ground, but over the next few years the land around Unity Place at Kimmerfields and the adjacent Fleming Way Bus Boulevard, will also be rejuvenated, which is great news for local people.
“I am also delighted the new building will have such a focus on sustainability because it really chimes with the Council’s ambition of tackling climate change in Swindon and fits in nicely with our recently launched ‘Be the Change’ campaign.”
Robert Buckland QC MP said, “As we build back better and begin to recover from coronavirus, it’s great to see Zurich investing in the local community creating jobs and building an environmentally-friendly office.
"Zurich’s decision to maintain its presence in Swindon is a huge show of faith in the attractiveness of Swindon as a place to live and work. I’m delighted at the progress of the build and look forward to seeing the new office form the centre of Swindon’s thriving and vibrant business district.”
Justin Tomlinson MP said “The major investment we are seeing in Swindon, including Zurich’s new office, is driving huge new opportunities for local jobs and boosting the local economy.
"Zurich’s investment is a massive show of confidence in the local economy, once again proving that Swindon is an economic powerhouse, whilst also reflecting the wider community’s focus on sustainability and wellbeing.”
Charlie Norris, operations director at Skanska, said: “From the beginning Zurich has had high standards for their new workplace and I’m proud we have forged a strong relationship so we can fully understand their needs and meet their expectations.
“By involving our experts experienced in every phase of the project – from specialist piling, through to construction and the mechanical and electrical fit-out, we’ve been able to develop solutions at every stage tailored around their ambition for a future-proof HQ that will offer a high-quality space for their teams to be happy, healthy and productive.
"When finished, Unity Place will set the standard for sustainable buildings in Swindon.”