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

Please note: on Saturday 7 March there will be internal demolition to the front wall of the mechanical workshop and work will also be undertaken to replace the door to the X-AT reception.

Key points for W/C 9 March

Work begins this week to remove lab and workshop equipment from the building. The Harrison car park will be closed all week due to the large amount of removal vehicles and the parking bays along the slip road leading up to the Kay building will also be out of action. Additional parking will be available in Car Park B during this time.

Scaffold adjustments, alterations to mechanical and electrical services, fine cleaning of the roof space and work within the existing mezzanine area continue all week. This may result in some intermittent, moderate noise (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm). There will be no disruption to services. If you have any concerns about this, please contact Laura Baxter to discuss.

We are aware of the Offer Holder Visit Day on Wednesday and contractors will not be undertaking any noisy work during the day.

On Friday, contractors will be reconfiguring the stair within the mechanical workshop from 5pm. Please note, that for health and safety reasons, rooms 235, 237, 252, 250, will need to vacate the building by 5pm on this date.

Work will also take place over the weekend from 8am-5pm.

W/C 16 March

We previously reported that the single door between the loading bay and corridor outside the General Purpose Lab will not be accessible until September due to required scaffolding modification. An alternative solution has been found and this door will now remain in use with access through the building as usual.

Work continues from the previous week. This may result in some intermittent, moderate noise (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm). There will be no disruption to services.

The scaffold adjustments will extend into the double height loading bay – this will be done overnight.

We are aware of the Postgraduate Offer Holder Visit Day on Wednesday this week and contractors will not be undertaking any noisy work during this time.

Work is likely to take place over this weekend.

W/C 23 March

Work continues from the previous week, and work including painting and welding begins in the roof enclosure.

The forming of new piled foundations will also begin. This will be noisy and will be carried out overnight (6pm-2am).

We are aware of the Offer Holder Visit Day on Wednesday this week and contractors will not be undertaking any noisy work during the day.

Work is progressing on the North Block to remove asbestos and replace the roof of the building. The contractors are now cleaning the roof using a process called quilling which is causing some noise around the building - the project team have undertaken noise testing to ensure teaching is not disrupted, however, if you have any concerns, please contact Laura Baxter. This work is expected to complete mid - late February.

This current phase of work, including dismantling the existing scaffolding, is due to complete in August/September 2020.

The next phase of work to remove asbestos and replace the roof on the south side of the North Block of the building will begin in August 2020 and will complete in November 2021.

Reconfiguration of the existing mezzanine floor

As an extension to the original work planned, the project team are also now undertaking improvement work on the existing mezzanine floor in Harrison. This will include replacing the entire floor, reconfiguring the existing facilities and creating a new PGT engineering suite. This new suite will connect with the planned new student project space.

Decant update

A decant plan for the next phase of work is in development. This plan will include moving colleagues who are currently displaced back into CEMPS offices and relocating colleagues who have offices in the next phase of work to either Hope Hall or Innovation 1. This will take place in August/September. Decant plans will be shared with all those affected before the end of term 3.

To facilitate this decant, work will begin in the spring to refurbish the ground floor of Innovation 1. This refurbishment will provide 14 offices and a large open plan postgraduate office. Once all work is complete at both Innovation and the Harrison buildings, thefinal proposal is to, where possible and practical, ensure that colleagues are co-located within their departments.

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:

• 16 Mar – 25 Oct 2020 - Electronics and Fluids labs, mechanical workshop and stores, Geotechnical/materials lab
• 30 Mar – 1 Jan 2022 – Fab lab, student workshop, Composite 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