Another major milestone for Manchester Engineering Campus Development

Brad Ryan Former UKIMEA Press Officer,London
28 October 2020

This month sees another milestone reached in the £420m 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 Grade II listed asset.

The newly refurbished space will be used as a multi-faceted workspace, conferencing and social venue. It will also be the home to the International Centre for Advanced Materials (ICAM) and the Dalton Nuclear Institute.

The heritage features of the original building are complemented by a new build extension with new building services throughout.

Through collaboration with the project team and contractor Balfour Beatty, and the use of BIM from the outset, the Arup team were able to meet the challenges of detailing and co-ordinating a design that was sympathetic to the heritage character of the building.

By using the historical building plans for Oddfellows Hall, Arup’s structural engineering team identified potential interventions to inform the refurbishment works, remediate some of the original structural defects and ultimately prolong the life of this listed building.

Arup designed a structural frame within the building extension to allow modern building services to be centrally distributed and then discretely routed within the existing building, so that they did not compromise the heritage of the original structure. Our Mechanical and Electrical engineers used as many previous service routes as possible, to minimise the need for new interventions within the original frame.

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

It’s fantastic to see Oddfellows Hall completed and handed over to the University. Not only is it a significant milestone for the delivery of the new engineering campus, it’s wonderful to see the historic building refurbished to celebrate its original heritage whilst realising the University’s bold future. ” Caroline Thomas Caroline Thomas Design Manager, Arup