Bam Construct has started work in Merseyside on an advanced manufacturing facility for Unilever.
Construction intelligence provider Glenigan said the project was worth £12m and that ISG and Eric Wright had also bid for the main contractor role.
The 6,500 sq m facility is being built at the Unilever hub in Port Sunlight and is due to complete in 2017.
Unilever said the centre would allow scientists and engineers to “test new ideas during personal care and home care product development on a factory scale”.
The new facility brings to £200m the amount of investment by Unilever in the Port Sunlight hub.
Unilever Port Sunlight site leader Cameron Jones said: “Today heralds a new phase on our journey of research and development at our historic Port Sunlight home.
“In building the centre, we are renewing our commitment to R&D in the UK and the North-west.
“From here we will have the capacity to innovate products with increased speed and efficiency, which we will turn into winning products to be enjoyed by tens of millions both here and around the world.
“The centre will complement existing and new facilities such as the Materials Innovation Factory currently under construction at the University of Liverpool due to open in early 2017, where new materials will be explored by our scientists that could then be further developed here at the Unilever Advanced Manufacturing Centre.”