Laing O’Rourke is finalising details for construction of the Sir Henry Royce Institute For Advanced Materials in Manchester.
The firm has been working with Manchester University under a pre-construction agreement and is now set to sign a contract for construction to start in March, subject to planning.
Manchester University submitted plans for the new materials research centre last week.
The 46m tall building is expected to cost £150m to build and will open in 2019.
Once built, the nine-floor building will be home to a mix of high-tech laboratories and offices and will rank as the tallest building at the University’s Oxford Road Campus.
It will act as a hub, bringing together a series of research themes under one roof and has been described as ‘The Crick of the North’.
Former Chancellor George Osborne announced the Government would be funding the project back in the 2014 Autumn statement, in a similar way that Gordon Brown, then prime minister, backed the Crick Institute for biomedical research in London, which Laing O’Rourke also built.
The 165,000 sq ft Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials will become an international flagship for the discovery and development of new materials systems.
The laboratories will be designed to bio-containment level 2. Several will accommodate heavy equipment and some laboratories, including those at basement level, will provide a vibration-sensitive environment.
Construction activities will comprise piled foundations and contiguous piled wall to create the basement to the West side of the building. Laing O’Rourke will use pre-manufactured concrete systems for the superstructure.
The facade concept interlocks stepping solid and glazed areas into a visual appearance echoing the scientific work around bonding molecules into new materials within the building.
Laing O’Rourke’s head of UK construction, Liam Cummins said: “It is fantastic news that we are continuing our partnership with The University of Manchester by delivering a state of the art facility that will carry so much significance for Manchester and Britain’s global research position.
“We’re looking forward to getting on site and delivering a high quality building that supports innovation and excellence.”