Balfour Beatty confirmed for £287m engineering campus

Balfour Beatty has been awarded the contract to build the £287m Manchester Engineering Campus Development for the University of Manchester, two years after signing a pre-construction services agreement on the project.

The four-year scheme is one of the key parts of the University’s £1bn, ten-year campus masterplan. It will provide a home for the University’s engineering school, teaching spaces, and research institutes including the Dalton Nuclear Institute and the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials.

In total, four engineering schools and two institutes will be based at the site. Demolition works, including at the Grosvenor House halls of residence, have already completed.

The 837,000 sq ft facility, designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo, was originally due to complete in 2020, but the contractor said the construction process would last for four years, putting its scheduled completion in late 2021. BDP has replaced Mecanoo as executive architect on the scheme.

At peak, the construction phase will employ a workforce of around 1,000, and will provide job opportunities through the University’s Construction Academy. Balfour Beatty said the project would “maximise the use of off-site manufacture” and BIM technology.

Balfour Beatty has been working on designs and supply chain engagement on the project since it was awarded a pre-construction services agreement in late 2015.

Dean Banks, Balfour Beatty managing director, UK construction services, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to construct the MECD, one of the largest single developments ever undertaken by a higher education institution in the UK.

“Our longstanding expertise enables us to provide The University of Manchester, its staff and students with an iconic campus, in addition to delivering multiple benefits to local communities including job generation and apprenticeship opportunities.”

Diana Hampson, director of estates at The University of Manchester, said: “The Manchester Engineering Campus Development will be a world-leading centre for learning and research.

“This development is central to the University’s ten-year Campus Masterplan which is creating an exceptional environment for our exceptional people. We are providing state-of-the-art facilities that will rival those of our international competitors and help attract world-class academic talent to the institution.”

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