Blog: Project of the Year under £10m SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Science Oxford Centre & Wood Centre

03 May 2019

sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

The Science Oxford Centre and The Wood Centre for Innovation - submitted by Beard

The centre is the UK’s first science centre specifically for  primary-aged children and an innovation centre for STEM start-up  companies, funded by a science charity.  It is a great example of what can be achieved when everyone collaboratively buys in to the bigger picture, from the hands-on customer to the enthusiastic contractor, proficient M&E specialist and motivated subcontractors.

A high-profile project, it has received interest from local communities, schools, universities, government, local enterprise, and the science community to name a few, so the spotlight was firmly on us!  The site team hosted circa 25 tours - one included David Cameron - with stakeholders such as local primary school children. Each time, tidying the site and preparing for a new audience, our site team worked overtime at their expense to ensure the constant interruptions did not delay the programme. This was a very demanding project regarding budget and timescales. The team value engineered every part of the building stripping out cost, and were capable of greatly improving the aesthetics by employing a combined M&E contractor early-on to refine the design.  Its challenges included: bid to increase original budget, residential area, confined site prone to mud, making day-to-day operations tougher.  The project manager’s collaborative style of management saved the handover from delays, and unified the team.


  • Through value engineering, they saved the customer £1m.
  • They provided a bespoke service to the customer, spending significant amounts of time engaging with their stakeholders.
  • Early involvement of M&E specialists, simple management techniques and daily calls with subcontractors ensured we delivered the UK’s first Science Centre early.

For more details:

Visit Beard construction.

The SECBE 2019 Building Project of the Year under £10m Award is sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

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