Key contacts

Project Manager

Mark John

BSc (Hons) MRICS

Senior Building Surveyor


Easter 2019 - work starts

Dec 2021 - completion

Plus additional funding for essential maintenance work

Harrison – Engineering improvement work and maintenance

A competitive tender process has taken place and Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the principal contractor for the work.

The next stage will see the design team and contractor collaboratively developing technical designs and package costs which will be submitted as part of a Full Business case to the University’s Capital Investment Group in April this year. Following approval, the removal of asbestos and replacement of the North Block roof will begin in June 2019, with the planned Engineering improvement works following in 2020.

In preparation for work to begin, enabling work including scaffolding and the contractor site set up, are likely to be carried out during the Easter holidays. More details on this will be circulated as planning progresses.

Construction work is also underway for the permanent relocation of the Harrison red and blue computer suites to the Innovation Centre. This relocation will not only create new, purpose-built facilities for Computer Science but will also allow the reconfiguration of lab, workshop and project space within Harrison to support the planned Engineering improvement works (Engineering 2020 Project). This work will be complete in time for the relocation of the existing suites to take place during the Easter holidays.

This is a complex project with a number of dependant work areas. The project team are working hard to confirm a detailed schedule of work and decant arrangements, and hope to share these  in March.

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, and funding for essential maintenance within the Harrison building was approved by Council in October. This work 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

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 Easter 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 car park 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.

Throughout the construction work, weekly meetings will take place between the contractor, Estate Services project manager and representatives from Harrison to deal with any issues and outline the work planned for the following week. These details will be published on this website and circulated to Harrison colleagues for their information.

By using this process, we hope to mitigate the impact on teaching and research as much as possible, allowing colleagues to plan their week and also raise any issues they envisage for that week at an earlier stage.

Details of who to contact to raise an issue will be circulated to all building users prior to any work commencing.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact the Project Manager, Mark John



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