This month sees another major milestone reached in the £400m Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) for The University of Manchester with the practical completion of Oddfellows Hall.

So called after the Oddfellows Society who originally built and occupied the building which is a beautiful and intricate Grade II listed asset. The newly refurbished space will be used as a multi-faceted teaching, conferencing and social venue with a splendid restaurant on the ground floor. It will also be the home to the BP ICAM and Dalton Research Institutes. The heritage features of the original building are complemented by a new build extension with new servicing provision throughout.

Conserving the heritage and bringing the facilities up to modern standards were of utmost importance to the University. Through collaboration with Balfour Beatty from an early stage, and the use of BIM from the outset, the team were able to meet the challenges of detailing and co-ordinating the design without compromising the heritage character of the building.  As such the whole team worked together to deliver a complex and sensitive £13m listed building refurbishment and associated new build components.

Despite additional challenges presented by the recent COVID-19 situation, the strength of the team has endured to deliver this building on time and on budget

The result is a new lease of life for an important heritage asset and a prominent gateway position to the university at the northern end of its main campus. Oddfellows Hall is also part of the wider MECD scheme that will soon deliver in excess of 80,000m2 of predominantly new build facilities, comprising the largest capital project the University has ever undertaken.