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Balfour Beatty signs £287m Manchester Uni deal

Balfour Beatty has finally signed a £287m deal to build the University of Manchester’s new engineering campus, a year-and-a-half later than expected.

The contractor was appointed preconstruction director for the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) in November 2015, carrying out advanced work on the site and developing the building’s design and programme strategy.

At the time the full construction contract was expected to be signed in spring 2016; however, it’s taken until now for completion of the deal.

The contractor did sign an advance works contract in the summer 2016 which enabled major substructure works, ground risk mitigation and value engineering in later works packages ahead of the main contract award this week. A spokeswoman for the contractor said this work had progressed well.. 

The contract is part of the University of Manchester’s £1bn eight-year capital works framework, on which Balfour Beatty secured a place alongside Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine in June 2015.

The development will consolidate the majority of the university’s estate onto one campus, housing all of its engineering schools as well as the Dalton Nuclear Institute and International Centre for Advanced Materials.

MECD will feature a number of laboratories able to accommodate up to 7,000 students and 1,300 staff, and the development will see around 1,000 people employed on the site during construction.

Balfour Beatty managing director UK construction services Dean Banks said: “We have extensive expertise in the higher education sector having delivered schemes such as the Holyrood postgraduate village at the University of Edinburgh, the Diamond building for the Engineering Faculty for the University of Sheffield, and the Foundry Courtyard Student Accommodation Complex in Glasgow.

“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.”

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