A SWINDON building firm has been awarded a prestigious contract to build the new Brunel museum alongside Bristol’s iconic floating harbour.

Beard Construction, based on Faraday Road in Swindon, was chosen for the role by the SS Great Britain Trust who are responsible for the future of the site.

The museum will be part of the £7.2 million Being Brunel project which explores the genius mind and works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Britain’s greatest and most inventive engineer and the founding father of new Swindon.

Beard will be working with Alec French Architects on the new two-storey building which will lie alongside Brunel’s historic ship SS Great Britain, one of Britain’s top-rated museums.

The project is due to start construction in November this year.

Mike Hedges, Construction Director at Beard, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be involved in the preservation of Brunel’s great legacy through this fantastic interactive new museum which, when completed, will bring Brunel’s genius and extraordinary mind to life.

“This is a complex project where our construction team will be working within a historic dockyard alongside the iconic SS Great Britain, which will remain open to visitors during the building works.”

The new museum has been designed to reflect the façade of original buildings that would have flanked the SS Great Britain as she was constructed in her dry dock in 1840, enhancing the historic accuracy of the dockyard.

The project will involve Beard constructing a harbour-side building that will connect to the historic dock office and Brunel’s drawing office via a first-floor walkway.

Working within a historic dockyard, a team of engineers will build a steel-frame exhibition hall containing multiple gallery spaces and a mezzanine level, as well as a cafe.

When the project is completed in February 2018, it is hoped that Being Brunel will take its place as a leading museum and visitor experience, sharing his life and works as a national centre of expertise.

Mike Day, Being Brunel Project Manager for the SS Great Britain Trust, says: “The appointment of Beard and the start of construction work is a major milestone for the project.

“It’s also an incredibly exciting moment, with the striking new building set to take shape over the coming months in place of derelict corrugated metal structures that were recently removed from the harbour-side.”