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MECD Reaches Major Project Milestone

18 May 2021

Construction completes on base build

Grand MECD internal stairs with neutral colours

On Friday 14 May 2021 the initial ‘base build’ construction of MECD was completed and officially handed over to The University of Manchester. The main construction phase was managed by the Capital Projects unit from Estates & Facilities and supported by a collaborative team from  Balfour Beatty (Principal ‘design and build’ Contractor), supporting architectural and engineering consultants, and in collaboration  with colleagues in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

MECD is one of the biggest, single construction projects ever completed by a higher education institution anywhere in the UK. The overall architectural concept was designed by Mecanoo with support from Penoyre & Prasad, with detailed design, during the technical and construction stages by BDP, and engineering services provided by Arup. Project Management support and Contract Administration was provided by Buro Four.

Neil Stubbs, Project Director (Directorate of Estates & Facilities) for MECD said: 

“It’s been a huge effort to get us to completion of construction of the base build, but there is much still to do in advance of opening MECD to students and staff. There is a considerable programme of work being undertaken to fit out the workspace areas of the buildings and to move in over 3.500 pieces of specialist equipment to make MECD’s world class research facilities and teaching and learning spaces operationally ready.  The whole project team continues to work together to make MECD a world leading home for engineering and material sciences.”

Rated BREEAM Excellent, the development incorporates a number of existing and new buildings: the eight-storey 80,000sqm Engineering Building A; James Chadwick Building and Engineering Building B (on Upper Brook Street) which features a 200 seat blended lecture theatre, one two in the scheme; the refurbished Grade II listed Oddfellows Hall; and the York Street Building with a range of student workshops, project and practical areas.

Rachel Brealey, Director of Faculty Operations said:

“I would like to offer a big thank you to all my colleagues and to our construction partners who have helped us get to this point in the project. There really is so much that’s special about MECD and right from the start of the project our vision was to be big and bold, in essence creating a cathedral to engineering to inspire future generations. What has been delivered is unrivalled in scale, with world leading research facilities that have been specifically designed to enable greater collaboration, sat alongside a vast array of flexible, adaptable high-spec teaching and learning spaces, that is something very few buildings in the world can offer.”

When officially open in September 2022, MECD will house a community of 8,000 students, researchers, academic and professional services staff. It will be home to four Departments:  Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science (CEAS); Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE); Materials; and Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) together with two Research Institutes:  The Dalton Nuclear Institute and BP International Centre for Advanced Materials. This will make up the largest concentration of interdisciplinary engineering and material sciences expertise in any UK university.

Find more information on MECD here -   

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