The leading institution for biomedical research in the UK, the Laboratory for Molecular Biology is recognised as world-class. A new building, used by the University of Cambridge alongside the Medical Research Council, it replaces life-expired facilities with a new state-of-the-art laboratory. With a gross internal floor area of 32,800 square metres with net usable research space of around 24,400 square metres, it contains category 3 and 2 containment areas, a 210-seat lecture theatre and an eight-storey atrium to facilitate scientific collaboration.

Along with complex technical requirements, the challenges included an initial cost overrun that had to be curtailed to bring it within acceptable budget limits, complex stakeholder arrangements, liaison with Cambridge Medipark for delivery of site and infrastructure, and an evolving regulatory framework and enhancement of licensing guidelines during the project life cycle.

Our solutions included an extensive value management exercise undertaken through the second stage of procurement. This, coupled with a retendering of all works packages to the market to take advantage of the downturn in the economy, generated substantial savings. We also ran a continual process of engagement and refinement with the project board, including cost/programme risks and their reporting. The project was delivered under budget. We consistently demonstrated strong project governance and achieved Substantial Assurance ratings at project audits undertaken by the Research Councils Internal Audit Service and both Gateway 4 (Readiness for Service) and Gateway 5 (Benefits Realisation) reviews achieved the highest ratings.