University of Manchester – Schuster Building (Value: £11m)

Part of the University’s Masterplan, the project has allowed the department to improve the student experience, diversify recruitment, enhance transferable skills and employability of their students and accommodate the recent growth in STEM-Foundation and Physics & Astronomy (P&A) undergraduates at the University.

The new site is challenging as it is adjacent to one of Manchester’s main roads. The building will provide an important civic marker at the gateway into the campus and Brunswick Street.

The Schuster Annexe was built on unoccupied land adjoining the existing Schuster Building, on a challenging site adjacent to one of Manchester’s main roads. The Annexe now provides an important civic marker at the gateway into the campus and Brunswick Street and also provides seamless connection with the academics and students currently studying in other parts of the School of Physics and Astronomy.

At the heart of the building is the ‘Ideas Mill’, an innovative learning space that will extend the possibilities for collaborative teaching and learning in the department. The Ideas Mill will also extend the outreach activities of the department and provide a venue for schools and industry.

The building delivers circa 2,500sqm of accommodation across four floors, organised with the Ideas Mill and student services at ground floor, two linked floors of teaching laboratories and project space, and a top floor of academic office accommodation.

The building is designed to connect into the existing circulation and lifts in the Schuster Building, providing seamless connections with the academics and student’s occupying other parts of the Physics Department.

Key to the successful delivery of this Project was:-


  • Compliance with existing University Policies and Procedures and an understanding of the University Strategic Vision for future redevelopment
  • Provision of free CDM Training to the Client and their appointed Consultants and Contractor
  • Capability assessments of Designers and Principal Contractors on behalf of the Client
  • Organising and chairing cross-project coordination meetings with adjacent projects
  • Liaising with PM, Design Team, Faculty Liaison Officers and building users in respect of existing hazards, day to day working arrangements, security and segregation arrangements, traffic management, delivery and access restrictions, sensitive research and teaching operations, the maintenance of essential infrastructure services, minimising the impact of construction generated noise, dust and vibration on valuable academic and research activities and experiments and the effective programming of works around Centrally Timetabled student  examinations, lectures and seminars
  • Chairing regular Design Hazard Workshops at which design development is reviewed in the context of foreseeable significant hazards. These Design Hazard Workshops enable cross-discipline coordination of design, monitoring of significant hazards and ongoing information-sharing / communication with the project team, stakeholders and other key parties (University Maintenance, Professional Services Units, Faculty Representatives, University Fire and Asbestos Teams, Exam Timetabling, Car Parking and Security Teams and the Student Union).
  • Maintaining a Project Hazard Register and obtaining Designer Hazard Assessments for inclusion within the PCI
  • Providing an auditable trail of risk reduction
  • Provision of comprehensive Site Safety Inspections and CDM Audit