Recognised internationally for its excellence in research and teaching, completion of work at the School of Chemical and Process Engineering faculty, which caters for some 1,000 students from 70+ countries, will assist the university to achieve ambitious growth in academic activity.

Working on behalf of main contractor Galliford Try, SES has been on site for two years to deliver the complex refurbishment of the 60s building as part of the university’s £520m transformation programme.

Against the odds and mirroring the university’s collaborative approach, Galliford Try and SES completed the extensive work on time, despite the array of hidden challenges brought about by an outdated 60s building and a raft of necessary variations to the original contract which were driven by the university’s desire to remain in the building and maintain critical laboratory space.

While on site, SES and the team effectively delivered 12 contractual phases, 12 commissioning periods and 12 handovers under the one contract. To achieve this, and ensure that the client was able to remain on site while live construction works were ongoing, a different approach to project delivery was adopted to make a seamless transition possible from out-dated and corroded building services to all new mechanical and electrical installations.

Commenting on the success of the project, David Oldroyd, Senior Project Manager, University of Leeds said:

“Without doubt, the refurbishment of the School of Chemical and Process Engineering was complex on many levels. The building fabric and services threw up various surprises to the team coupled with changes in research and recruitment, which forced a high volume of changes by the university. To ensure the remodelled building would help us to achieve what we’d set out to achieve, the client and contractor’s design team pulled together to resolve the issues jointly and a can-do attitude was applied by both SES and Galliford Try.

“I also believe that the timely completion of the project would not have been reached were it not for the open, communicative and collaborative approach adopted by both contractors at the outset and their willingness and ability to respond to the changes without breaking stride. They are to be commended for that.

“I’m delighted to say we have a building that everyone involved can be proud of.”

David Oldroyd
Senior Project Manager, University of Leeds

Briefly, the building comprises a suite of three purpose-built laboratories for research using radioactive materials, with space for pilot scale rigs, bench top chemical experiments and high-spec analytic equipment.

A new photonics laboratory hosts ultrafast laser plasma implantation equipment. This not only allows research to be undertaken, it also supports the use of facilities for commercial applications to be undertaken.

Steve Joyce, Business Director North and Scotland, SES added:

“This project, in my opinion, is exemplar and has been a feat of logistics engineering in itself. It is a clear demonstration of how a collaborative approach can overcome challenges and deliver results that everyone on the team can reflect on positively and apply to future projects. “

Steve Joyce
Business Director North and Scotland, SES

The multi-million pound project was recently awarded the prestigious Chair’s Award in The RISE Awards 2017 which, each year, rewards the most pioneering initiatives in research, innovation, sustainability and enterprise (RISE).