Press Release

Balfour Beatty formally awarded £287 million Manchester Engineering Campus Development project

23 November 2017


Contract represents one of the largest capital developments ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution

Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, today announces that it has been formally awarded the £287 million contract by The University of Manchester to construct the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD).

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.

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.

“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.”

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates at The University of Manchester, said: “The Manchester Engineering Campus Development will be a world-leading centre for learning and research. This development is central to the University’s ten-year Campus Masterplan which is creating an exceptional environment for our exceptional people. We are providing state-of-the-art facilities that will rival those of our international competitors and help attract world-class academic talent to the institution.”

Balfour Beatty was appointed to the University’s Construction Partnering Framework in May 2015 and has been working under a Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) since November 2015, enabling design development and early engagement with key supply chain partners.


Media enquiries to:
Cassie Farrar
Balfour Beatty
t:  +44 (0) 207 963 2150

For all non-media related enquiries please contact +44 (0)20 7216 6800 or

Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 30,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
  • Our main geographies are the UK, US, and Far East. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
  • Balfour Beatty is as well-established provider of construction services to the higher education and university market. Through a variety of procurement models, we are currently engaged in or have delivered over £1billion of work in the sector across the UK.
  • We have completed projects throughout the UK from the refurbishment and extension of existing facilities, to the construction of and investment in brand new campuses. The facilities we build, from laboratories to lecture-theatres and residences to research facilities, aim to enhance the learning experience of young people so they can achieve their full potential.
  • Our portfolio of current projects includes the £19m scheme to renovate and extend The University of Bristol’s Grade II listed Fry Building, providing state-of-the-art facilities for the School of Mathematics. The team is also currently working on the University of Cambridge’s £500m Estate Management Framework, whereby Balfour Beatty is delivering a range of projects worth more than £30m.
  • Past projects include the £50m new engineering faculty ‘Diamond’ building at the University of Sheffield. Located in the centre of the University campus, it stands as a significant investment in the learning and teaching of engineering. We have also provided £14m of mechanical and electrical services for the new National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, an intensively serviced 7,600 sq m building, and a £22.5m new teaching and lecture space at Sheffield Hallam University.

About The University of Manchester

  • The University of Manchester, a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK’s largest single-site university with 38,600 students and is consistently ranked among the world’s elite for graduate employability.
  • The University is also one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’ (REF 2014). World class research is carried out across a diverse range of fields including cancer, advanced materials, addressing global inequalities, energy and industrial biotechnology.
  • No fewer than 25 Nobel laureates have either worked or studied here.
  • It is the only UK university to have social responsibility among its core strategic objectives, with staff and students alike dedicated to making a positive difference in communities around the world.
  • Visit for further information.
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Image: A digital impression of the completed Manchester Engineering Campus Development

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