Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Nuffield Department of Medicine

Helping the University of Oxford to expand its biomedical research facilities

The construction of the Nuffield Department of Medicine and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology is enabling world class teams of scientists at the University of Oxford, to pursue state-of-the-art biomedical research into auto-immune diseases and inflammatory conditions.

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Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology and Nuffield Department of Medicine Project summary


Estates services, University of Oxford

Key partners

Make, EC Harris, Peter Brett Associates, RBDML

Services provided

Construct, Contracting


Healthcare, Life sciences and pharmaceuticals, Education, Sectors, Sectors


UK and Europe

Project timeline

Start date
July 2011
End date
May 2013

Project story

The £30m five storey Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology provides state-of-the-art facilities for research teams. The adjacent £20m Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM), has allowed one of Europe's largest groupings of university biomedical researchers to expand.

We ensured the design was checked against the brief and communicated to the client at every stage, including building a full scale mock laboratory off site to test the design detailing and to secure end user feedback and sign off.

The sites are on a densely occupied, live teaching and research campus with local residents living nearby. We appointed a dedicated liaison manager to look after campus and neighbourhood relations, and ensured we coordinated construction activities with day to day campus life. This included managing extensive service diversions and enabling works, including the demolition of four existing buildings with asbestos contamination.

NDM Kennedy Building Elevators - Mace Group

Points of note

Comparing objectives with the design

To ensure the project objectives were delivered, we first of all wanted to reconfirm what those objectives were. Our rigorous and continuous review of all the design drawings, specifications and schedules in terms of accuracy, coordination, defined interfaces, buildability and affordability left nothing to chance. Armed with a robust design that met the client's brief, we were able to construct the building quickly and efficiently. 

Excellent environmental standards

Both buildings achieved ‘Excellent’ BREEAM ratings, making optimal use of natural daylight and ventilation, and other environmental measures such as rainwater harvesting and LED lighting.

User-led design

For the high profile research areas, we created a full size mock-up of a typical laboratory module, complete with ceilings, floors, walls, lighting, lab benching, and shelving for the chemical compounds. A research team was then asked to test the mock-up lab and offer feedback on what was proposed. This could then be fed back into the final design.

Developing solutions in partnership

The facilities are just two of the buildings we have delivered for the University of Oxford. As a delivery partner we have developed solutions over many years to the challenges presented by diverse stakeholders, budgetary pressures and resource constraints.