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Electric and net zero carbon in construction and operations in its shared spaces

10 million

Live samples being relocated

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The challenge

UK Biobank is the world’s most comprehensive source of health data for research. It is a unique and innovative organisation that fosters an engaging environment and supports the development of employees, supply chain partners and international researchers. UK Biobank provides scientists across the globe with a rich and in-depth database detailing the health and lifestyle information of half a million volunteers. Since 2012 UK Biobank has made the de-identified data globally accessible to approved researchers undertaking health-related research that is in the public interest. The project was not only to relocate over 10 million biological samples but to create of a new purpose-built facility to house up to 20 million samples and collaborate with scientific institutions based in the North-West, and further afield. The purpose of this is to enable UK Biobank’s millions of samples to be accessed more efficiently, resulting in more data which can be used to advance modern medicine, enable better understanding of the causes of disease and drive the discovery of new preventions, treatments and cures.

The solution

Arcadis provided project advisory services which covered a range of programme, cost, and commercial advice, collaborating with the development partner to achieve the client’s vision of a new facility that would preserve the future of the organisation. This was not a standard Project Management and Cost Management role, but becoming part of the client’s organisation to really understand what was required to deliver the scheme. We worked closely with the economic specialists to navigate the client through the government gateway process for Business Cases and project reviews, advising on both the Outline Business Case and the Full Business Case. By integrating into the client team, we became part of the organisation, solving issues related to the business case, procurement, governance, programme and providing vital construction insight to agree a deal with the developer.

The impact

The cutting-edge 131,000 square foot new building, of which UK Biobank will occupy three floors, will include laboratory space and a latest-generation robotic freezer that will be able to store and retrieve up to 20 million biological samples four times faster than before, revolutionising the pace of scientific discovery. It will increase UK Biobank’s capacity, speed and efficiency and is supported by a £127.6m award from the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund for the next phase of UK Biobank’s development.

The project is planned to deliver a new, centralised storage of UK Biobank’s biological samples, and an opportunity to collaborate with the scientific community based in and around Greater Manchester, generating new jobs and opportunities for further research. The facility is targeting BREEAM Excellent and will house multiple working areas such as laboratories, offices and shared spaces to bring those working at UK Biobank closer together in their working practices. By providing a more energy efficient sample storage system, thermally efficient offices and having the site closer to public transport, the new building will save the client thousands in energy costs whilst offering more carbon efficient ways to travel to the office.

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