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Exclusive: Willmott Dixon picked for Manchester University's Schuster Annexe

The University of Manchester has picked Willmott Dixon to build an £11m expansion to its physics and astronomy department, Construction News can reveal.

Construction News understands that the university has picked Willmott Dixon for the project, despite the contractor not being part of its construction partnership framework.

Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine are currently on the framework to deliver capital projects in excess of £10m over the next eight years for the university, having been picked in June last year.

Of the four projects procured through the framework so far, McAlpine has won three, while Balfour Beatty has won one.

Balfour Beatty was named as the construction partner for the university’s new £350m flagship engineering campus, which will span 78,000 sq m and house nearly 7,000 students and 1,300 academics.

Sir Robert McAlpine has won two projects at the university’s Jodrell Bank observatory, as well as a project to build a new chemistry building at the university.

However, the university has decided to go off-framework for its latest project.

Plans were approved for the £11m expansion to the university’s Schuster Building in July this year.

The four-floor 27,000 sq ft extension will deliver student services on the ground floor, two linked floors of teaching laboratories and project space, and a top floor of academic office accommodation.

Work is already under way on site, with completion scheduled for early 2017.

The University of Manchester has been contacted for comment.

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