Sector: Higher Education Completion date: September 2018

The project was procured through the Scape Major Works framework (now superseded by Major Works Scotland), part of the National Construction framework. It was delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Using this framework enabled a swift turnaround from the preconstruction stage to work commencing on site, meaning the project could be delivered in the short timeframe required.

Tight site and timeframe

The University had an urgent need for additional teaching spaces due to an increased number of students in the medical faculty. In addition, the site was situated on a cobbled street in Edinburgh’s busy, historic city centre, making logistics challenging.

There was limited space for site cabins, material deliveries and lay-down areas. The tight site and short timeframe meant that careful attention had to be paid to the construction programme, while also scheduling deliveries to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses.

Robertson redeveloped the existing Lister and Pfizer buildings located in a tight, historic city centre location with all the logistical challenges that entailed to create a modern, fully accessible learning and teaching facility comprising a new six-storey steel frame and aluminium curtain walling link building, and fully refurbished and remodelled the existing accommodation.

– John O’Hara, Senior Project Manager, Faithful+Gould on behalf of The University of Edinburgh

O'Hara added: "The challenging construction programme was managed to deliver Phase 1 of the project on schedule, meaning the University took possession of much-needed additional teaching space for over 670 students in time for the new academic year. Throughout this process Robertson have maintained a high level of professionalism and have continued to execute the UoE’s vision for this unique project."

Phased handover to release teaching spaces

The project involves a series of alterations and refurbishments to existing buildings, as well as construction of a new five-storey link building between the two existing buildings. Phase 1 was handed over on time in September 2017, on schedule for the academic year. This comprises 18 teaching rooms and three seminar rooms, with associated break-out space. These new facilities accommodate 670 students.

Work included:

The final Phase of the project was handed over on time in September 2018, also on schedule for the academic year. This phase finalised the refurbishment of the Pfizer building and completed the new link structure. We removed, the Phase 1 temporary works along with temporary partitions & screens, reconfigured M&E services, and transformed the temporary entrance into a modern lecture theatre.

Enhancing learning during construction

During the project, construction students from Edinburgh College took their learning out of the classroom and onto site, as part of an initiative that covered several projects across the city, including the Lister Learning and Teaching Centre.

Second-year HND Construction Management student Lewis McCann (21) spent a week with the team at Roxburgh Place, being shown the ropes of managing a live site.

"The whole experience has helped put my studies into perspective. I really enjoyed the initial induction and walk-around the site as it gave me a feel for the wider project and being given the chance to participate in meetings added an additional element to my learning, as it was the first opportunity I've had to do so."

The full programme of education and training included:

Safety, health and environment, KPI’s

Education and training


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