Press Release

Reaching for the sky at the University of Manchester’s Manchester Engineering Campus Development

17 May 2018


Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has reached a key milestone on The University of Manchester’s £287 million Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) project with the first reinforced concrete core reaching full height.

The core, which is one of four, will be an integral component of the seven storey ‘MEC Hall’ building, housing lift shafts and stairwells. Core 4 stands at 22.4 metres high and 9.15 metres wide, constructed on a 1.8 metre deep reinforced concrete raft foundation.

A hydraulic jacking system is used to construct the cores, formed of plywood-faced metal formwork modules, floor-by-floor. Once in place, concrete is poured in and allowed to set before the system ‘jumps’ to the next level and the process is repeated until the core reaches full height. The remaining three cores will be completed over the coming months.

Upon completion, the MEC Hall will house an array of cutting-edge teaching and research facilities including lecture theatres, laboratories, an anechoic chamber (designed to completely absorb sound and electromagnetic waves), and an Electron Microscope suite.

Mark Pearson, Balfour Beatty MECD Project Director, said: “We are delighted to reach this project milestone which has seen the team safely construct the first core to full height. The core gives a true indication of the vast scale of the MEC Hall and how this will form a fundamental part of the MECD.

“We have extensive expertise in the higher education sector and look forward to continued collaboration with the University of Manchester to deliver the project, which will bring benefits for staff and students, in addition to the local community through work and development opportunities.”

Diana Hampson, Director of Estates at Facilities at The University of Manchester, said: “The Manchester Engineering Campus Development will be a world-leading centre for learning and research and is set to become one of the largest buildings in UK higher education.

“It is an exciting development for The University of Manchester and is great to see it start to take shape.”

The four-year MECD project, which is being delivered in collaboration with the University of Manchester’s Directorate of Estates and Facilities, is one of the largest capital development projects ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution. The scheme is being project managed by Buro Four.



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Cassie Farrar
Balfour Beatty
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Notes to editors:

  • Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 28,000 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 & Ireland, 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 has a long and proud history working in the North and Midlands, delivering innovative infrastructure and build projects and supporting growth across the region. The company has proven expertise across multiple sectors including education, flood & coastal defence, and of working with local authorities through the Scape National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework along with other regional and national frameworks.
  • Our portfolio of current projects includes the University of Manchester’s £287m Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD), representing one of the largest capital developments ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution. The company is also delivering an £85m, automotive research facility for the University of Warwick in Coventry. The National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) will feature state-of-the-art equipment and will provide a national focus for expertise in automotive research and development. Additionally, Balfour Beatty is delivering the £53m Rossall scheme for Wyre Council, which forms part of the UK’s largest coastal defence programme.
  • Recently completed projects include the £50m ‘Diamond’ building at the University of Sheffield, the £14m mechanical and electrical services for the new National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester and a £22.5m new teaching and lecture space at Sheffield Hallam University. Balfour Beatty has also recently completed the £27m Anchorsholme coastal defence scheme on behalf of Blackpool Council.
  • Committed to ongoing investment in the North and Midlands, the company’s regional business employs over 630 employees, with 49 in earn and learn positions such as apprenticeships, graduate placements and traineeships.


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