The first of 1,150 Met Office employees have started relocating from their current offices in Bracknell to a new £150m headquarters and operations centre in Exeter being built by Costain Skanska joint venture under the PFI.
It follows the handover of the first office block, which includes one of two new “supercomputers” packed with the latest technology to process weather data from across the world. The move comes less then eighteen months after Costain Skanska signed the contract to begin work.
The block was operational at handover. Costain Skanska provided the Met Office with access in December last year to install the sophisticated “supercomputer” and other facilities concurrently with construction work, significantly speeding up the programme.
The majority of staff will relocate to Exeter between August and November as the complex continues to be handed over in stages. The first weather forecasts will be produced in September and final completion by Costain Skanska in November.
Speaking about the milestone, Met Office relocation director Alan Douglas said, “Just before Christmas we were given the keys to the door of the new building. Now we are actually seeing things take shape inside with our first IT systems becoming operational."
With the Met Office currently operating from several sites in Bracknell, relocation to Exeter provides a modern environment to house the latest technology and bring all operations under one roof.
The complex designed by Broadway Malyan, which includes a visitor and conference centre, restaurant, workshops and energy centre, is laid out in the shape of a hand and linked by a covered space with a water stream running through.