Harrison Building, University of Exeter

  • Client

    University of Exeter

  • Contractor

  • Value


  • Completion Date

    January 2022

The Harrison Building is located in the centre of the Streatham Campus, surrounded by several other University buildings, key facilities, roads and footpaths. The works to the operational building included the replacement of the roof, northlights and complex building services, whereby a scaffold birdcage and temporary roof were erected over the building to facilitate the removal of asbestos also involving a significant amount of temporary works.

Several interior refurbishment sub-projects were delivered concurrently including the new state-of-the-art ‘Curriculum 2020’ suite, comprising lab space, workshops, offices and open-plan workspaces.

A carefully planned logistics strategy was developed for each stage of the project, the planning of which began at the earliest possible stage.

The Challenge

The Harrison Building’s technical challenges and site constraints, combined with the requirement for the building to remain operational throughout, placed additional importance on the safe segregation of our works, stringent management of hazards and careful mitigation throughout in order to minimise the impact of works on the student experience and day-to-day campus operations.

Neighbouring campus buildings were occupied throughout the works and continuity of “business as usual” was vital for all campus users.

The Solution

Key to our successful relationship with the University was our established levels of communication, commitment, planning and understanding, coupled with the professional and considerate conduct of our site team at all times. Mitigation techniques included:

  • A carefully considered ‘birdcage’ scaffolding solution implemented due to standard temporary works scaffolding not being viable due to the constraints of the building;
  • Working concurrently, the team re-engineered the programme across two phases so that the building could remain operational, allowing the university time to safely decant between areas once handed over;
  • Recognising and ensuring all works were programmed with sufficient detail whilst maintaining the flexibility required for a live environment. Strong planning techniques were critical and all members of each site team were kept up-to-date on any issues relating to their particular element of works;
  • Works were suspended during exam periods and key events such as graduations, open days and the ‘Big Bang’ event.

The Results

In understanding and upholding the University’s commitment, core values, approach to sustainability and the Environmental Climate Emergency, we are proud to have now delivered 7 carbon reduction projects for the University within the past 5 years, including this project, through:

  • Upgrading the thermal insulation value of the roof to provide 0.18 W/m² K;
  • Upgrading the thermal insulation value of the Northlights to provide U-values of 2.0 W/m² K;
  • Upgrading building services to modern standards, rigorously commissioning to ensure the most efficient energy in use.

All of Morgan Sindall’s sites remained open throughout the initial Covid “lockdown” period including the Harrison Building. A visiting HSE inspector described our infection control measures as “above compliance”.




SME Spend


Added Value


Client Satisfaction

Client Testimonials

“I am very pleased with how Morgan Sindall have performed at Harrison Building, it is possibly the most challenging construction project the university has seen in many years and so credit should be given for the stringent management of safety, progress and quality on site.”

Contractor Performance | Commitments


100% payment within 30 days terms



CCS Score 43/45


96% waste diverted from landfill

100% timber responsibly sourced

159 tonnes carbon saving

12 SMEs

We have remained committed to provide a local workforce with the capability and capacity to deliver our clients’ requirements, whilst generating a positive impact on the communities and environments in which we work. At Harrison Building, an impressive 60% of our project spend was within the projects ‘catchment area’ (within 15 miles of site) and 75% within 30 miles.


34 beneficiaries

6 jobs created

320 trainee weeks

£1,730 donations

71 volunteer hours

82% social value created

We employed two construction management apprentices and supported our supply chain to recruit, train and retain local apprentice including MEP, where a further 2 apprentices were employed.

In recognising an opportunity to promote the varied and exciting careers available to the University’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Science (CEMPS) students, we helped in the organising of site visits and a ‘careers fair’, where students met members of our project team with engineering backgrounds and were also able to apply for work experience opportunities.

Throughout the project we have worked closely with local schools, Job Centre and Build Force, giving opportunities to those interested in careers within construction to gain practical, work-based experience in a range of areas, providing a total 14 week-long work experience placements.


Soft landings for handover

Dedicated Morgan Sindall point of contact

On-line portal for notifying any defects with 3 priority categories for response times

On completion of the first phase, we dedicated a 3-week ‘post-contract’ period within our programme, giving our project management and MEP contractor the opportunity to provide any necessary training for building users, resolve concerns, and undertake ‘fine-tuning’ as required.

SCF Framework Manager

Kingsley Clarke

Email: kingsley.clarke@devon.gov.uk

Phone: 07805760622

Contractor Framework Manager

Alan Smedley

Email: alan.smedley@morgansindall.com

Phone: 07967 686066