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Manchester Engineering Campus Development reaches for the sky

29 May 2018

Balfour Beatty has reached a key milestone on the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) project with the first reinforced concrete core reaching full height

MECD drone image

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 and Facilities 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’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.