Key contacts

Estates Project Manager

Mark John, BSc (Hons) MRICS

Engineering 2020 Programme Manager

Toby Giles


Summer 2019 - work starts

Dec 2021 - completion

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

Harrison – Engineering 2020 and essential maintenance work

Key points for W/C 27 Jan

We’re aware of the water ingress from the temporary roof and realise this has caused some problems within the building. This temporary roof is currently being replaced and we are confident that this will resolve the issue. This work will be complete by the weekend. We apologise to anyone affected.

Work to remove the original roof structure continues this week alongside general work on the existing mezzanine floor – we do not anticipate any noise or disruption from this work.

Work to clean and remove the original roof structure also continues this week and will progress into the night until 2am. This work will continue for the next three weeks. We are aware that this is creating a level of noise around the building. We have undertaken noise testing with the contractor to ensure that this does not disrupt teaching and study spaces, although is noticeable as you walk around the building. If you have any concerns, please contact Laura Baxter

Contractors will be working over the weekend.

W/C 3 Feb

Work continues from the previous week.

W/C 10 Feb

Work continues from the previous week.

As part of the work being undertaken to improve Engineering facilities in the Harrison building, a number of lab and workshop spaces will need to close over the summer vacation to allow essential work to take place safely. These dates are as follows:

• 30 Mar – 25 Oct 2020 - Electronics and Fluids labs, mechanical workshop and stores
• 30 Mar – 1 Jan 2022 – Fab lab, student workshop, Composite Materials lab
• 15 Jun – 21 Sept 2020 – Geotechnical/materials lab
• 14 Jun – 20 Sept 2021 – Concrete Preparation and Concrete Test lab

We will be arranging temporary accommodation for the Fab lab during this closure period, and we are working with staff and student representatives to understand any additional temporary arrangements that we may need to put in place. If you are concerned by these closures and how this may affect you, please contact Jo Duffin

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, a £6.5m programme of improvement work was approved by Council in October. Alongside a £13.5m programme of essential maintenance work within the Harrison building this will support the delivery of engineering education and ensure that our students have access to the best possible facilities during their time at the University.

This programme of work will focus on two areas:

1. Improvements to workshop space, facilities and equipment to support a new Engineering curriculum (Engineering 2020).

This will include 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

These improvements will support the delivery of a redesigned Engineering curriculum by 2020.

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

This will involve 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 will 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 will be at the centre of our student experience.


Work will begin in late June 2019 and will take place over three years, concluding in December 2021.

A detailed schedule of work will be available on this website as planning for the project progresses.

What does this mean for colleagues and students?

Whilst this work is on-going, users of the building will experience some disruption. Some staff and students will need to move from their offices and teaching space to an alternative location for an estimated period of 15 months so that this work can be carried out safely and efficiently. Some staff may be required to relocate for a longer period depending on their current location in the building.

The process of moving from offices and other spaces will be managed carefully with colleagues and students kept informed of how and when they will be impacted. Options for decant accommodation are currently being explored - this will include offices, meeting rooms and work space, and is likely to comprise the following:

  • existing space within the Innovation Centre
  • use of the temporary accommodation currently located within the Physics car park (portable cabins)
  • additional temporary accommodation within the Harrison/Kay car parks to accommodate project space.

Parking within the Physics and Harrison car parks will be unavailable for the duration of the project.

Safeguarding research and teaching

We recognise the importance of safeguarding the research activity and teaching which takes place in Harrison and we will be investigating options to keep disruption to a minimum.

Preserving the student experience for those studying in Harrison is a priority and the project team will work closely with the Students’ Guild to ensure this takes place. In addition, the team will work with the external contractor to explore opportunities throughout the project for engineering students to enhance their learning with site visits and project planning where possible.

Alongside this, the health and safety of colleagues, students and visitors to the buildings will be at the forefront of all planning activity.

The Estate Services team are working closely with colleagues in CEMPS to ensure the project runs smoothly and the impact of the work is managed carefully and considerately.

Work will be undertaken by a specialist third party contractor and their sub-contractors, and as part of the tender process, there will be clear restrictions and constraints on methods of construction, including hours or work, to ensure the disruption to building users is limited.

If you have any immediate questions, please email Project Manager, Mark John