Customer_bulletin_banner-Capital Capital Projects Buildings & Space Environmental Sustainability Round-up People Achievements Coming up

Modular teaching buildings take shapeUnder construction

Construction of temporary buildings to replace research and teaching facilities following the closure of the Tinbergen Building is underway.

Modules are in place and are currently being fitted out at the University Club sports field site to create the two large single-storey labs that will accommodate over 200 students. The build team is working to get the labs up and running for Biochemistry and Biology students during the Michaelmas Term.

Groundworks for a temporary two-storey research and administration building for Zoology, also on the sports field site, started in September. Meanwhile, over on the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) site, construction of a research building for the Department of Experimental Psychology is underway and expected to complete in the New Year.

Following the closure of the Tinbergen Building in February, a University-wide steering group was asked to explore options for the building and recommend a long-term solution. The group – chaired by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt FRS – unanimously recommended the demolition and replacement of the Tinbergen Building with a new facility. This recommendation will now be considered under the University’s established governance procedures. 

Security Services bunker turned into high-quality rest facilities

Refurbishment works have finished at the so-called ‘bunker’ at the Security Services headquarters at the Old Observatory in the Science Area. Until recently the area was used for storage and was in poor condition; it has now been transformed into attractive, modern rest and recreation facilities where patrol officers can spend break times and rest until their shift starts. It features a small kitchen, lockers, changing rooms and a staff rest area. The refurbishment was managed by the Estates Services Capital Projects team.

Status of major projects


  • Kellogg College – works on a student hub to house common room and café built to Passivhaus accreditation completed in May 2017. Project manager: Tim Leigh, Ridge.
  • Old Observatory – the old bunker has been converted to a rest and changing area for security staff. The project completed in June. Project manager, Nick Mullineux, TMD.
  • Cricket Pavilion, University Parks – refurbishment works to improve the away changing facilities completed at the end of September 2017. Project manager, Jack Endley, TMD.
  • Robert Hooke Building – phase one to refurbish lab space for the head of MPLS completed in September 2017. Project manager: Andrew Sneddon, Ridge.

Completion in 2017 and 2018

  • Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) lift – a project to re-purpose the sub-basement area and improve access with the creation of a larger goods lift. Due to complete in October 2017. Project manager: Nick Mullineux, TMD.
  • Social Sciences building based in 1 and 2 South Parks Road – refurbishment works are now complete. The second phase of the project, in the Dyson Perrins Building, is expected to complete in early 2018. Project manager: Tim Leigh, Ridge.
  • Beecroft Building for the Physics Department – work on many of the labs and offices is nearing completion and thebuilding is due to be finished early 2018. Project manager: Allan Ashenden, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. 
  • Iffley Road Sports Centre – the multi-purpose training room will be ready in October and the new sports centre is expected to complete in Q1 2018. Project manager: Richard Todd, Bidwells.
  • Chemistry teaching labs – the frame is now complete and air handling units installed; cladding due to commence shortly with completion expected in April 2018. Project manager: Colin McAuley, CPC.
  • New research building for the Department of Zoology at the Wytham Field Station. Preparation works are due to start in the autumn and the project is expected to complete in summer 2018. Project manager: Nick Mullineux, TMD.
  • Refurbishment works at the Hans Krebs Field Station at Wytham are also underway to improve labs, offices and communal areas. Project manager: Rebecca Kitchin, Ridge.
  • Project 696 (Old Road Campus), which will hold the BioEscalator, Novo Nordisk research facilities and a car park – works are progressing on site with fit-out of laboratories now starting. Estimated completion date Q3 2018: Hans Andreae, CPC.

At planning and design stages

  • Biochemistry Phase II, Science Area – developed design stage now completed. Project manager: Jon Odell, CPC
  • Humanities on the ROQ – the pre-feasibility study for a new Humanities building is being reviewed following revisions to the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) site masterplan. Project manager, Matt Eaton.
  • Castle Mill graduate accommodation – planning permission for developed design proposals for the building and landscaping was granted in August and work is expected to start on site in the New Year. Project manager, Mark Wheatley.
  • Dyson Perrins – work will start on site in September to adapt existing space to accommodate new equipment for the Archaeology department. Due to complete in Q1 2018. Project Manager, Tim Leigh. 

New forum to share best practice on construction sites

A new forum aimed at sharing best practice in construction site safety has been initiated by Capital Projects.

The University team and its contractor partners now meet regularly at the health, safety and site review forum tackling wide-ranging issues, including security terror threats, rescuing people from cranes, through to managing the mental well-being of construction site workers.

The forum was recently awarded ‘best practice’ status in the latest Customer Service Excellence (CSE) review for the Capital Projects team.

Big Data Institute environmental performance ‘outstanding’BDI Building

The Big Data Institute (BDI) on Old Road Campus recently achieved ‘outstanding’ certification from BREEAM.  The outstanding rating puts the building in the top 2% of BREEAM-assessed buildings worldwide and is a significant improvement on the initial project target of an ‘excellent’ rating.

As part of the sustainability strategy, the building incorporates a 600 metre-long network of air intake tunnels known as the ‘labyrinth’. Set below the basement to maximise the benefit of constant ground temperature, it cools incoming air in summer and helps to reduce heating loads in winter. This is only one of a few such labyrinths in the United Kingdom.

The Big Data Institute is a new medical research building dedicated to complex analytical research into the causes, consequences, prevention and treatment of disease. It is the workplace of more than 500 people and is designed for storing, analysing and processing enormous quantities of data, which will provide new insights into illnesses and treatments worldwide.

Low-energy building nominated for award

Kellogg College’s new hub opened has been nominated for the national Civic Trust Awards. The awards celebrate outstanding architecture and the judging panel will be announcing their shortlist in November.

The new building, which has obtained its Passivhaus accreditation, has a common room and café, providing a social centre at the heart of the college.

Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, it is the first non-residential building in Oxford to be designed according to the Passivhaus approach, which produces heavily-insulated buildings that use an exceptionally small amount of energy while also being very comfortable. 

The hub was opened in May by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson and was visited by HRH The Prince of Wales the same month. 

Wytham Chalet to be refurbished 

The chalet that has been at the heart of Wytham Woods since the early 1920s is to receive a major refurbishment. In late August, funding was approved to turn the former hunting lodge – almost certainly Oxford’s only authentic Alpine chalet – into a hub for all Wytham’s research projects. The building is currently in a poor state but this will change, with plans to install showers, bunk rooms, better teaching facilities and a new single-bedroom apartment. This will mean the Woods team can offer overnight accommodation to researchers, helping ensure the next 75 years of science there are as outstanding as the last. The Estates Services Capital Projects and Facilities Management teams have played a vital role in getting the project to this stage.

Capital Plan refresh underway

Estates Services staff from several teams are working closely with departments and divisions, the central Finance Division and the Planning and Resource Allocation Section (PRAS) to carry out the yearly refresh of the Capital Plan, which aims to balance the needs of all parts of the University to set out major construction priorities for the next 20 years. The exercise is expected to be finished by November. 

Begbroke expansion included in Cherwell local plan

Two University-owned sites are being promoted as possible sites for housebuilding under the Cherwell District Council’s Local Plan.  At the University’s Begbroke Science Park site, the Plan proposes the creation of 1,950 new homes as well as expansion of the Science Park itself to include new research facilities, better transport links and improved staff amenities. The North Oxford Golf Club site, owned by the University and Merton and Exeter Colleges, is also included in the plan, which suggests that if released for development the land could hold a further 530 dwellings.

The Plan is now the subject of a public consultation, which continues until 10 October. This is Cherwell’s response to Oxford City Council’s identified housing need. There will be a Public Inquiry in summer 2018, during which an appointed planning inspector will consider the full range of opinion on the proposals before making recommendations. The University is actively engaging with Cherwell District Council to take the proposals forward.

Oxford Local Plan moves towards completion

A consultation on the new Local Plan for Oxford finished in late August, and Estates Services made significant representations after having consulted widely across the collegiate University. The University is a key stakeholder in the Local Plan, which will set out the broad framework that will govern the city’s development until the mid-2030s. The University is generally supportive of the Plan’s vision and goals, but has suggested changes in key areas of detail such as requirements to build affordable housing and policy on preserving views of historic buildings. The University will continue to work closely with the Council to ensure, where possible, that planning policy supports its future development programme.

Click here to sign up for future issues of Estates Services News