Alliance Manchester Business School

Building tomorrow’s leaders

In July 2015 we were appointed as Construction Manager working on the University of Manchester's £55m redevelopment of Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS). The project will create a new first -class teaching and learning facility that aims to position the University alongside other leading education and research establishments worldwide.

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Alliance Manchester Business School Project summary



Project value


Key partners

BDP Architects, Booth Kink Partnership, Hulley & Kirkwood

Services provided

Construction management, Construction


Education, Health and education


UK and Europe

Project timeline

Start date
January 2016
End date

Project story

The refurbishment of the Alliance Manchester Business School (ABMS) forms part of the Manchester University’s £1bn Campus Masterplan. The plans also include extensive remodelling and refurbishment of the existing 300,000 sq ft Business School, to provide significant modernisation and improvements to its teaching and administrative accommodation, and a new library and enterprise zone, as well as updated catering facilities. The old precinct centre will be extensively redeveloped to create a 45,500 sq ft retail and leisure space with double-height glazed facades looking out onto Oxford Road.

Public realm improvements will be central to this significant project, and will include pavement widening to enhance the area for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, linking up with the Oxford Road corridor works and adjacent construction of a new hotel forming part of the masterplan.

Bruntwood is one of the UK’s largest, family owned property companies, with fixed assets of over £904m, and 117 properties totalling 8.8m sq ft of owned space. Partnerships are at the heart of everything that Bruntwood does. Their partnerships with their clients, suppliers, and particularly the partnerships with the cities in which they operate, remain key to their success. The mantra of ‘if you succeed, we succeed’ is one that they have lived by ever since the company was founded in 1976. With a proven track record of over 40 years’ experience in both developing and managing buildings, that are right for the customers they serve, Bruntwood is the property partner of choice for many.

In 2012 Bruntwood was appointed by the University as Development and Project Manager on the project. In March 2015, they approached us to discuss delivering the project as Construction Manager and in July 2015 we were appointed. We are providing full construction management services and are Principal Contractor for the delivery of the project including extensive stakeholder management.

We have overcome a number of significant challenges on this live project to ensure that the occupied areas of the school are fully operational during the extensive redevelopment work. This has included managing significant demolition work within an occupied building that houses campus security control, maintenance teams and a live steam generation plant. We also had to balance works to support the needs of academics who remain in residence throughout the course of the project.

This project profile features in our Northern Powerhouse section.

Project stats

£1m+ saved through an alternative procurement strategy for asbestos removal
£1.4m already saved in construction costs through extensive value engineering
98.2% of the project's current demolition waste has been diverted from landfill
1 year reduced from the programme by re-sequencing construction phases

Points of note

Managing stakeholders closely

From the start of the project, we put actions in place to establish close working relationships with end users and project stakeholders. This included weekly and monthly presentations and communication sessions to inform the users of the occupied buildings of planned activities.

Challenging the programme

Prior to our appointment as Construction Manager, our team identified the opportunity to resequence Phase 1 and 2 of the programme so reducing it by a year. This provided resultant cost savings of £1.4m and maintained the original completion date of semester one in 2018.

Our can do and client focused approach has also mitigated problems on the project when they occur. For example, an existing retail tenant vacated their unit 16 weeks late at start of the project and by careful re-sequencing the impact was reduced to just six weeks.

Innovative construction delivery

Working closely with our supply chain, we developed alternative methods of construction delivery to minimise the impact of demolition operations on occupiers who were adjacent to the site. An example of this was our management of dust on site by using extensive damping down and purpose dust suppression equipment during demolition activities.

Value engineering

Working closely with the design team, Bruntwood, the University of Manchester and the supply chain, our team has challenged the design and specifications to identify alternative solutions while maintaining the programme. Currently this has secured £1m of mechanical and electrical system (M&E) savings and £400k of general savings with a further £600k still being pursued. These savings are more remarkable as they were achieved while maintaining programme delivery milestones against an evolving design. Our team continue to investigate value engineering opportunities throughout the project.