The new gallery is being built to house the museum's star exhibit, a Spitfire RW388 aeroplane, which is currently being restored.
The 3,800 sq ft building will have specialised structural glazing to make the Spitfire visible from outside the museum.
As part of the works, Morgan Sindall Construction will also carry out a light refurbishment to the existing 4,200 square foot café, including internal improvements to the walls, ceilings, and floor finishes.
Enabling works began in early March and main contract work is now under way, with foundations going in. Most of Stoke-on-Trent sits on the former North Staffordshire coalfield so over the past five months the team has worked to remove any obstructions from beneath the surface, as well as filling in visible coal seams.
Steelwork is set to begin in early autumn, when the external frame for the building will begin to take shape.
Construction is expected to complete on the project in spring 2021.
Morgan Sindall Construction was appointed to deliver the project through the Scape regional construction framework. Framework director Rob Cant said: “Throughout the turbulence of the past few months, we have seen more than ever the importance of our local communities. Stoke-on-Trent’s iconic Spitfire is emblematic of the city’s fighting spirit. We are proud to be involved in such an important scheme for both the city’s wider economic offering, and its own regional heritage, while also serving as a clear inspiration to the next generation of innovators and engineers.
“Work is progressing well thanks to a diverse and highly-skilled local supply chain we’re collaborating with on this project and we look forward to seeing it come out of the ground in the months ahead.”
Construction consultant Perfect Circle (a joint venture of Pick Everard, Gleeds and Aecom) is providing the city council with project management, quantity surveying and engineering services. This appointment was also through Scape.
The Spitfire RW388 was removed for restoration in 2018. The video below shows how they got it out of the gallery.