INFRASTRUCTURE

Balfour Beatty wins £70m contract to deliver Edinburgh Futures Institute

SOURCE: University of Edinburgh
Artist's impression of the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

The University of Edinburgh has awarded a GBP70 million contract to leading international infrastructure group Balfour Beatty to deliver the school’s flagship Edinburgh Futures Institute refurbishment and extension project.

The construction giant will be responsible for restoring and connecting six wards; unlocking the building’s wide corridors to create free-flowing areas in the university’s Grade A-listed Old Royal Infirmary hospital building, spanning over 21,000 square meters.

Once completed, the development part-funded by Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, will provide university staff, students and the general public multiple teaching and learning facilities, as well as workspaces.

The company will use Building Information Modelling (BIM) and augmented and virtual reality technologies to enhance the restoration process of the iconic building.

In construction, BIM is a crucial process for generating and managing information on the physical and functional information of a project throughout its lifecycle. It makes the design, construction, operation and decommissioning process more efficient.

Artist's impression of the Edinburgh Futures Institute.
Balfour Beatty will use BIM and virtual reality technologies to restore the iconic structure. Source: University of Edinburgh

Balfour Beatty is BIM Level 2 certified by the British Standards Institute (BSI) and has completed 35 projects using the tool, with more than 60 projects currently being delivered.

“We have a long history of restoring listed buildings, including the National Museum of Scotland and the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

“Combining the latest construction techniques and technologies, we look forward to sympathetically restoring Edinburgh’s Old Royal Infirmary hospital for the wider benefit of the community,” said Balfour Beatty Managing Director of Scotland and Ireland Hector Macaulay.

Works on the Futures Institute will commence in Spring this year and is expected to be completed ahead of the academic year in 2021. At its peak, the project will employ an estimated 170 workers, as well as a range of local supply chain partners. Information on this has yet to be released.

Balfour Beatty is currently servicing a separate GBP67 million contract secured from the university last year to modernise and extend its School of Biological Sciences at the Kings Building’s campus.

The project to be delivered by autumn 2020 involves the refurbishment of the 11-storey Darwin Tower and re-cladding using a double-skin cladding system, which will improve both its appearance and energy performance. The 1960s building will also be extended to house a lecture theatre, seminar spaces, meeting rooms and a cafe.