Skip to main content
Key contacts

Estates Project Manager

Mark John, BSc (Hons) MRICS

Engineering 2020 Programme Manager

Toby Giles

CEMPS Infrastructure & Project Officer

Laura Baxter


Summer 2019 - work starts

Dec 2021 - completion

Refurbishment/equipment - £6.5m
Essential maintenance - £13.5m

Harrison – Engineering 2020 and essential maintenance work

In the last two years the University has invested £6.5m in remodelling engineering lab spaces to support the delivery of engineering education for the future and to ensure students have access to the best possible facilities during their time at Exeter. Alongside a £13.5m programme of essential maintenance work within the Harrison building.

The new engineering labs provide space for dynamic, flexible and responsive teaching, in a safe, modern environment and enable engineering students to ‘learn by doing’ from day one and throughout their time at Exeter, preparing them to enter the workplace with the practical knowledge and experience to become professional engineers of the highest quality.

A number of new labs spaces in the Harrison building have opened in 2021/22 academic year, including the General Purpose lab, Mechanical lab, Vehicle Assembly area, Electronics lab, a new Fabrications lab, student Makerspace and the Exeter Digital Enterprise Systems Lab (ExDes lab). More information on these remodelled spaces can be found in the ‘New engineering spaces for 2021/22’ tab below.

New Engineering spaces for 2021/22

General Purpose Lab (GP LAB)

This is a new, highly flexible and adaptive general teaching space that will be used across the Engineering disciplines. We have expanded the set pieces of equipment in the area, and new modern equipment has been installed to allow for additional practical activities. Examples include the TechnoLab™ – Mechanics & Dynamics Teaching Platforms to demonstrate the effects of loading structures and System 8000 scanners to monitor and record strain in materials and structures under test. The space also has new AV equipment to allow students to see demonstrations from all angles and to support online remote learning.

Mechanical Workshop
Investment in new state-of-the-art, multi-functional equipment and a remodelled layout has made this lab space more efficient for practical teaching and flexible for project work. This facility mimics what students will find in many modern industrial settings, with up-to-date, programmable equipment, such as semi-automated milling machines and lathes, guillotines and bandsaws. There is also a new Waterjet cutter that can cut any material up to 25mm thick using a jet of water containing an abrasive compound. Plus, the AV equipment in the area hugely enhances the learning experience by giving a wide range of digital visuals and up-close camera angles for demonstrating the use of machines. The lab also includes a new, fully equipped vehicle assembly area to support Formula Student, where students can design and build a race car and compete nationally with other University teams.

Electronics Lab
The electronics lab has been optimised to make it a more efficient and flexible space. Bespoke benching has been installed to accommodate the new electronics test equipment and integrated computers, and the new benching features a built-in extraction system to support soldering activities. New AV has been installed to enable students to see teaching close up from their work station and new comprehensive storage solutions provide easy access to equipment. We have also created a dedicated electronics projects space, and a touchdown bench to support research requests.

Fabrications Laboratory (Fab Lab)
The new Fab lab has more space and facilities than previously and provides a space for both taught and independent project work. The new area contains programmable equipment such 3D printers (SLA & FDM), 3D Scanners and laser cutting facilities. Student’s will be able to explore and experiment in this space to develop and enhance their creative engineering skills.

This new space is a state-of-the-art facility designed to help students be creative and work collaboratively together on projects. The space will be run for students by student champions, to support them in the development of 21st Century Skills. The space is available for all stages of our degree courses and provides a space for all requirements, from entrepreneurial students striving to be innovators of the future to creating quick prototypes for testing and exploring ideas. It aims to help transition between year stages and builds students practical confidence to create a pathway for access to specialist labs and workshops in stage 3 and 4.

Exeter Digital Enterprise Systems Lab (ExDES Lab)
The Exeter Digital Enterprise Systems (ExDES) lab is a key part of the engineering management research and masters education, providing training to generate and implement multi-disciplinary, advanced, and smart engineering applications in a student-centred, and competence-orientated ways. The newly developed and extended lab will provide students with better access to the space to make use of the advanced robotic and digital simulation equipment available.

The University continues to invest in existing and new teaching and research facilities to enhance the experience of our students at Exeter. As part of this investment, in 2019 we began a £19m programme of improvement and essential maintenance work within the Harrison building. This work supports the delivery of engineering education in the future and ensures that students have access to the best possible facilities during their time at Exeter.

This programme of work has focussed on two areas:

1. Improvements to workshop space, facilities and equipment to support a new Engineering curriculum.

This includes a refurbishment and remodelling of laboratory and workshop space, new project and storage space and the purchase of new and replacement equipment. Specifically this includes:

  • New student project-based learning space
  • Creation of composite materials, clean structures and geotechnics labs and teaching facilities
  • Relocation and extension of the fab lab
  • Refurbishment and modernisation of electronics labs
  • Optimisation of fluids lab to create flexibility and adaptable teaching and storage space
  • Creation of a vehicle assembly area
  • Relocation of computer suites to the Innovation Centre


2. Essential maintenance in the North Block of the Harrison building

This involves replacement of the north block roof, the removal of asbestos in this part of the building and the replacement of services including heating, ventilation and lighting.

Together, these two areas of work deliver space within the building to provide a dynamic, flexible and responsive curriculum to our students, in a safe, modern environment where practical engineering and creativity are at the centre of our student experience.


Work began in 2019 and will conclude in December 2021.

A regular schedule of work is available on 'Latest construction update' tab on this website.

The project team are working hard to minimise disruption to colleagues and students throughout the project.