Top construction firms appointed to build new PHE site in Harlow

Kier Group, Wates Construction and VolkerFitzpatrick have been selected to create the new £400 m public health science campus in Essex

PHE Harlow is expected to employ up to 2,750 people by 2024

Three of the UK’s leading construction companies have been chosen to create Public Health England’s (PHE) new public health science campus and headquarters at Harlow, Essex.

They have been selected for the four key elements of the £400 million capital spend programme to create the campus. This includes building and refurbishing new and existing laboratories and office areas; construction of a new arrivals area and logistics centre; and site-wide infrastructure including car parking.

The appointments sees the end of an 18-month procurement process, with work expected to start next month.

The successful companies bid for four lots:

  • lot 1 – new build of specialist bioscience laboratory building – Kier Group
  • lot 2 – refurbishment of main building, including laboratories and offices – Wates Construction
  • lot 3 – arrivals, administration and logistics buildings – Wates Construction
  • lot 4 – site-wide infrastructure, external works and energy centre – VolkerFitzpatrick (Royal VolkerWessels)

The next steps will see the contractors working with the existing design teams and preparing the site for major construction. This is planned to start in 2019, with phased occupation starting in 2021.

PHE Harlow, as the campus will be known, is expected to employ up to 2,750 people by 2024, with scope for further expansion. Facilities from Porton in Wiltshire and Colindale in north London, as well as PHE’s central London headquarters, will be relocated to the single centre of excellence for public health research, health improvement and protection.

From this new campus the PHE will be able to use the latest scientific advances to deliver leading science and evidence for issues such as infectious diseases, environmental hazards, smoking, alcohol, diabetes, dementia, and climate change nationally and internationally.

Richard Gleave, PHE Deputy Chief Executive, said: 'PHE is delighted to have secured three of the leading construction companies in the UK to deliver what will be a world-leading national and international resource.”

“Nigel Brook, Kier Group Executive Director, Construction and Infrastructure Services, said: “This £160 million project is another significant award for Kier in bioscience, building on our track record as a specialist delivery partner in the sector with projects including biomedical research facilities for the University of Cambridge with Project Capella and the Sainsbury laboratory as well as the state-of-the-art Derriford Research Facility for Plymouth University.”

Ian Vickers, MD, Wates Construction Home Counties, commented: “PHE Harlow will play a pivotal role in improving public health, providing state-of-the-art facilities for industry-leading scientists and doctors to address some of the most pressing medical and environmental challenges the world is currently facing. It is therefore a particular privilege for Wates to be awarded two of the four lots. It is also a huge responsibility, and over the next year we will be working closely with PHE and other partners as we prepare to start on site in early 2019.

It is hoped the public health science campus will be fully operational by 2024.

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