Enabling The Pirbright Institute to improve its centre of excellence for animal health

A purposeful partnership

The Pirbright Institute has a pioneering ambition to protect economies and save lives by containing, controlling and eliminating viral diseases of animals, including those which spread from animals to humans. Originally housed in ageing post-war buildings and struggling to deliver a 21st-century science programme requiring increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, The Pirbright Institute together with its strategic funder BBSRC UKRI developed a business case to secure over £250m of investment to transform its campus in Surrey. Since 2015 ETL has been strategically involved in helping to consolidate the estate into one world-class campus by providing overall project & programme management to this complex, multi-phased redevelopment programme.

Raising the standard

When complete, the overall Programme will create over 25,000m² of specialised research facilities, facilitating scientific collaboration and improving the quality of science outcomes. The Programme has the unique requirement of delivering some of the most stringently regulated research environments, alongside an operational campus capable of rapidly responding to the strategic needs of the UK in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

Strategic perspective

ETL has been responsible for key elements of programme delivery from the earliest phases of the programme delivering the business cases through to construction and occupancy. Our proactive approach ensures that the stated objectives of the business case are achieved.

In the development’s design phase, ETL used a number of tools including ‘benefits mapping’ to assess how we could create value by looking at the behaviours of designers, contractors and suppliers mapped against the project deliverables to extract maximum benefits realisation. This gap analysis allowed us to pinpoint the risks of this extremely complicated programme and to focus on mitigation measures.

Next, a series of value engineering exercises were undertaken to ensure capacity was optimised while not impacting capability or quality. ETL managed this optimisation process.

ETL also carried out several programme management functions for projects that are in construction/fit-out. Conducting regular performance reviews ETL’s team were able to recommend timely corrective action when projects were going out of tolerance.

A further successful strategy has been our management of risk within the programme. ETL utilises Quantitative Risk Analysis for both schedule and cost. A major advantage of our approach has been to allow the programme to hold only minimal risk contingency, releasing available capital to either bring forward future work packages or enhanced benefits for individual facilities.

Creating unique research environments

In addition to our strategic programme management role, ETL has been providing project management and leadership for the Brooksby Building, an £80m highly specialised animal research facility. When complete, the building will allow The Pirbright Institute to further expand its science programme into emerging zoonotic diseases, as well as enhancing its World Reference Laboratory status for diseases of high consequence, such as foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue. ETL has led the project team from early user brief and concept development, through detailed design phases and into site delivery. Our collaborative approach has allowed the team to focus on developing robust technical solutions, ensuring a continual focus on delivering project outcomes and value for money.