Balfour Beatty wins University of Manchester contract


The international infrastructure firm, Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £287 million contract to build the new Engineering Department at The University of Manchester. The contract represents one of the largest capital developments ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution and is significant in terms of the research and development work that will now take place there. The UK Government has been discussing the importance of research in its new 'Industrial Strategy' revealed this week.

The four-year project forms an essential part of the University of Manchester’s ten-year Campus Masterplan to create a world-class estate benefitting staff, students and visitors. This will support the University’s strategic goals of creating world-class research, providing an outstanding learning environment, student experience and social responsibility.

The Manchester Engineering Campus Development or MECD, will provide a state-of-the-art facility, housing the University’s Engineering schools, innovative teaching spaces and research institutes such as the Dalton Nuclear Institute and the BP- International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM). It will consolidate the majority of the University’s estate onto one main campus, creating a more compact and coherent infrastructure that reduces the institution’s carbon footprint and costs.

MECD will also free up considerable land holdings in the north of the campus, contributing to the future economic success of the city with redevelopment opportunities in a prime city centre location. Upon completion, the facility will benefit from ‘green’ construction techniques resulting in smart energy consumption and advanced water recycling and waste systems.

The development will host a wide range of flexible hi-specification laboratories and lecture spaces to welcome up to 7,000 students and 1,300 staff. MECD will also incorporate blended learning facilities, workshops and a ‘maker space’ where students will see their engineering creations come to life. At peak construction, the project will employ a workforce of 1,000, including multiple apprenticeships and graduate placements. The project will also create new job opportunities for unemployed local people through the University’s Construction Academy, which provides local residents with exposure to career opportunities in the construction sector.

The project team will maximise the use of off-site manufacture and the latest in BIM technology to optimise construction efficiency and deliver a smart facility of the highest standard. 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."

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