Dame Margaret Barbour Building, Newcastle University

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Summary

Sector
Higher Education
Value
£6 million
Location
Newcastle upon Tyne
Status
Completed
Customer
Newcastle University
Completion
December 2020
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Robertson steps in to deliver Newcastle University's new Centre for Sport Exercise Sciences, Nutrition and Psychology. 

Robertson delivered the latest addition to the Newcastle University Campus — The Dame Margaret Barbour Building — stepping in after the loss of the previous contractor.
The state-of-the-art six-storey building has become the university's centre for sport exercise sciences, nutrition and psychology, and serves students studying many different disciplines, as well as the wider community.

  • 300 seat lecture theatre.
  • 90 per cent subcontractors retained.
  • Jobs saved – on average the site had 110 operatives working.
  • 9,000m2, six-storey building project.

Working together to tackle challenges

Robertson was brought in as the new contractor for the multi-million-pound development in January 2020, following the initial contractor going into administrator.
With so much potential disruption possible, the Robertson North East team worked hard to limit the impact to the university, local businesses and the local economy, successfully retaining 90 per cent of the supply chain.

The team worked with Newcastle University to devise a two-stage project approach to minimise the impact on students and limit the delay on delivery timelines. This made sure the university was able to open for the start of the academic term, which was critical to the university and the communities it serves. To make this happen, the project programme was accelerated through early contractor, and sub-contractor engagement, to provide solutions and deal with challenges before arriving on site, speeding up the timeline.
 

Robertson helped us to fulfil our ambitions for the building as well as honour our commitment to local suppliers. The team worked closely with the University to ensure the first phase of the building was made available to our students for the start of the academic year. They then worked sympathetically with the building users to complete the final stages of the building. This is a fantastic facility and I am extremely grateful to the Robertson team for the great work they did in seeing it through to completion.
Iain Garfield
Director of Estates & Facilities Newcastle University

The team also overcame many COVID-19 challenges by working with the client to reduce risks and delays. The construction team implementing Safe Operating Procedures which included one-way systems, staggered breaks, and additional safety processes to protect the workforce, the university and the wider community.

Building pride

The project is one that Robertson is very proud of. By working closely with the university's many stakeholders, Robertson was able to deliver a world-class facility that is highly valued by all who learn within it. The completed building is now among the most attractive on Newcastle University Campus, with fresh, bright, and open social learning spaces, a teaching kitchen and sensory suite, seminar rooms, clinical suites and a 300-seater lecture theatre, all enjoying the latest in learning technology. The Dame Margaret Barbour Building now provides a world-class learning experience for students of Newcastle University, and members of the wider North East community, with state-of-the art facilities that the university can be proud of.