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Bouygues in £100m office win for Cambridge Uni exams board

Bouygues is set to bag a £100m contract to build a new international headquarters for Cambridge University’s exams board.

The contractor has been chosen as preferred bidder by Cambridge Assessment after going head-to-head with Balfour Beatty to land the major set of works.

The development will initially house 2,300 staff but this is expected to climb to 3,000 once complete in 2025.

The move signifies a strategic shift geographically for the firm, which had predominately focused on the education sector in London in recent years, according to a well-placed source.

It is also expanding into different sectors in London, having won two luxury hotels deals in the capital in January as revealed by Construction News.

The design of the Cambridge development includes the demolition of the existing Edinburgh Building offices and warehouses, currently occupied by Cambridge University Press.

They will be replaced by the new development dubbed The Triangle, which will include the construction of a number of buildings ranging in height between two and six storeys, and will total 449,393 sq ft.

The project will also provide a courtyard entrance as well as outdoor space and the construction of a 39 m tower.

Demolition began on site in May this year, after outline planning was granted in March.

Cambridge Assessment is currently housed in a number of offices around the city, which it said was becoming “increasingly impractical” as the group continued to grow.

The headquarters will therefore bring together all of the company’s existing offices under one roof.  

Bouygues recently bagged a £27m contract to build a graduate facility as part of Queen Mary University in London.

The complex job will see the contractor build an eight-storey facility with two concrete cores and feature a 750-tonne steel frame with a brick facade and curtain wall.

The building has an irregular facade so it is not uniform in design and, due to its proximity to the Central line, has also had to incorporate features to absorb and minimise vibrations from the trains using the underground.

Timeline

Public and stakeholder consultation: October 2013-March 2014

Anticipated planning decision: March 2015

Physical demolition: April 2015

Main contractor starts on site: End July/early August 2015

First stage occupation: 2018

Full occupation anticipated: 2025

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