Christie Proton Beam Therapy

Landmark cancer treatment centre is a first for the UK

We project managed the construction of the UK's first NHS high-energy particle radiation cancer unit, meaning hundreds of cancer patients will no longer have to travel thousands of miles for the treatment.

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Christie Proton Beam Therapy Project summary


The Christie NHS Foundation Trust



Key partners

HKS, Arup, Todd and Ledson

Services provided

Project and programme management, Cost consultancy




UK and Europe, UK North

Project timeline

Start date
September 2015

Project story

We worked with the Christie NHS Foundation Trust on developing its new Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) Centre in Manchester, which will treat patients with a new kind of radiotherapy.

The challenging build was designed in line with UK guidelines, with the full support of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive’s Radiation Protection Advisers.

To ensure the hospital could remain fully functional throughout construction and avoid any disturbances to clinical activity, we worked with the trust and the main supplier to develop detailed logistics and construction plans that identified and resolved potential issues and challenges.

Our appointment as project manager of the PBT centre’s construction under the NHS P21+ framework was one of many developments that we have delivered for the trust, with which we have had a long-standing relationship. In 2014, we completed the Palatine Treatment Centre, which incorporates a Young Oncology Unit and Haematology Transplant Unit. We are also currently working on its new Integrated Procedures Unit (IPU).

Project stats

750 patients a year could benefit
6 metres thickness of concete needed for radiation protection
150 tonnes weight of some items of equipment being installed

points of note

Reducing side effects among children

Proton beam therapy (PBT) is a different type of radiotherapy for treating cancer that delivers doses with a high-energy beam of protons rather than high-energy X-rays used in standard radiotherapy treatment. PBT can deliver radiation more precisely to tumours thus sparing neighbouring healthy tissues. It therefore increases the effectiveness of radiation and reduces the side effects of treatment, particularly in the treatment of children.

Simulating construction

The building has radiation-shielding walls made from high-density concrete, making the construction process particularly complicated. Work was carried out to resolve issues on site in advance, including the construction of test walls and simulated models to confirm the installation process.

A new space for young patients

In 2014, we completed the trust’s Palatine Treatment Centre, a space for 16 to 24-year-olds receiving cancer treatment. It was purpose built to meet the needs of oncology inpatients and outpatients and also provides facilities for haematology and transplant inpatients.

Heavy lifting

The main piece of proton beam equipment, the cyclotron, is the size of a big car but weighs the same as a Boeing 747 and will generate a proton beam capable of treating three patients at a time, five days a week.

Multi-project relationship

We worked with the trust on another project in tandem. The Integrated Procedures Unit (IPU) scheme will provide a new unit that co-locates a number of services including radiology, the procedure unit, pain service, plastic surgery, endoscopy and day-case surgery.

Proud to be a part

“Working on such a life-saving building makes this project even more rewarding.”

A productive partnership

“The Christie has worked with Mace on previous projects, as well as over the last year on the proton project. We’ve always been pleased at their ability to develop productive partnerships with the contractor, the trust and other members of the trust team in order to drive effective management of the project.”

Changing lives

“It’s absolutely fantastic to know that proton beam therapy is finally in the UK, and particularly Manchester. It will give more children like Lucy the opportunity to have this form of treatment.”