Blog: Integration & Collaborative Working SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Beecroft Building

23 May 2019

Sponsored by Waterloo Air Products

*** WINNER *** Beecroft Building, University of Oxford - submitted by Hoare Lea

The Beecroft Building at the University of Oxford provides new cutting-edge laboratories, alongside collaborative office spaces to explore theoretical physics. The laboratories demanded close working practices amongst the project, contractor and client teams - establishing bespoke methods of simulating, then testing and verifying the design. 

The building has pushed the Building services design to its limits and has been a research project for Hoare Lea, Laing O’Rourke / Crown House Technologies. The building provides technically onerous laboratories that are unprecedented in this configuration and context and are amongst the best globally, operating within the tightest possible tolerances of vibration and temperature.

The specific requirements of laboratories added design and build challenges to the project, with temperature control critical to its success. For example, temperature control of +/- 0.1⁰C was an ambitious target but they surpassed the brief and provided close control to +/- 0.02⁰C. This level of control has only been achieved in a handful of facilities around the world – and they have achieved it in 20 laboratories within the Beecroft Building. To deliver this, a bespoke system had to be designed, tested and built which has been proven to work, validating the design for the wider industry to adopt when required. As a result, they have shown their findings to clients and design teams working on similar projects for other universities including Cambridge, UCL and Cardiff, so they can incorporate the best practice from the Beecroft into their designs.


  • The client’s aspiration for close temperature control was +/- 0.1 ⁰C and they achieved +/- 0.02 ⁰C in all 20 laser laboratories. The client’s aspiration for room temperature control was +/- 0.5 ⁰C and they actually achieved +/- 0.2 ⁰C in all 20 laser laboratories. Vibration criteria VC-F was achieved in Laser Labs through collaborative working with specialist vibration consultant ISVR, the vibration criteria limited airflow through the system and noise rating the system had to achieve. The project team designed and delivered unprecedented research facilities in a constrained urban context through close collaboration, extensive engagement with the client team and contractor’s supply chain.
  • The labs will enable Oxford Physics to advance their research areas such as quantum science and technology, to develop the next generation of computers: trapped ion quantum computers
  • At 16M depth, the basement of the Beecroft Building is Oxford’s deepest basement and this is immediately adjacent existing live research facilities, in one of Oxford’s most sensitive sites.

For more details:

Visit Hoare Lea

The SECBE 2019 Integration & Collaborative Working Award is sponsored by Waterloo Air Products.

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