Blog: SECBE Awards 2023 Finalist MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences Building (by Walter Lilly)

20 March 2023

Integration and Collaborative Working sponsored by PiLON

Photo by James Newton

MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) Building (submitted by Walter Lilly)

Integration and Collaborative Working Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalist

The Client built the foundations for collaborative success. The Medical Research Council (MRC) selected both the NEC3 contract that instils collaboration and a procurement route that encourages it. The initial design team selection process selected a fully engaged team with experience of working successfully together. This was reinforced by the competitive stage 1 construction team selection process that required the pairing of a main contractor and principal M&E trade contractor team, bidding together.

The project budget was shared openly, and the main contractor attended the Client’s Project Board meetings. This positive ethos, encouraged by the project principals, enabled all participants to manage what was a challenging project through unprecedented and globally difficult times.

A united team: From the outset, transparency between the client, design team, the contractor and the supply chain was established, and this core value was championed throughout the project’s life.

The team culture to work together ‘as one’ was led from the front by the Client, embracing a no blame approach. This was replicated with the supply chain and was rewarded by everyone’s willingness to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible outcome for the Client. The site remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Early engagement: The procurement strategy of this project was instilled with an open, transparent, and cohesive approach from the beginning, further enhanced by the novation of the design team, and the open selection process for the supply chain based on best value. Early engagement was achieved by the key package contractors and their specialists.

Overcoming challenges: The project is located on a live hospital campus with adjacent neighbours on all boundaries, the team maintained ambulance blue light access and ensured a very high standard of stakeholder communication with site management. This was reflected in a Considerate Contractors Scheme (CCS) score of 44/45.

The Project faced significant Covid-19, Brexit, Ukraine and other risks throughout the programme, some of which could have had detrimental impact on the project’s success. Through the open and truly collaborative approach by all parties involved, a proactive, pragmatic, and often innovative approach to resolving risks was taken.

Building Design: Arranged over nine-stories, the building itself has instilled collaboration since the early concept design stages. Bringing clinical and non-clinical scientists together within a collaborative research environment, the building offers training and mentorship to a new generation of scientists.

Susan Simon, MRC Director Capital & Estate, the principal client of the MRC LMS Project says:

 “As we are now operating the new, fabulous laboratory facility and are preparing for the formal close out of the project, I would like to recognise the exceptional contribution and support that the MRC received during this project. As the Programme Director, I am keen to instil project environments in which full transparency over all aspects of the activities, where trust and collaboration are the key principles.

I am very pleased to say, that the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) building project is the first project where this has been achieved.”

Key achievements:

  • The very successful delivery of a new state-of-the-art science research facility, providing a collaborative, efficient and effective research environment bringing together 40 research groups to advance interdisciplinary science and challenge-based medical research.
  • Tried and tested evidence that a collaborative, no-blame and transparent culture adopted across all parties can achieve ultimate project success to time, budget and quality, on a challenging and complex multi-million pound science project.
  • The development of long-lasting relationships across all parties that far exceeded expectations and have strengthened affiliations for future work opportunities.

Client: Medical Research Council (MRC)

Project Partners: Walter Lilly, Hawkins\Brown, Turner & Townsend, Buro Happold, Curtins


Find more about Project Partners:

Walter Lilly (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)

Hawkins Brown (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)

Medical Research Council (MRC) (LinkedIn, Twitter)

Turner & Townsend (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram)

Buro Happold (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook)

Curtins (LinkedIn, Twitter)


Find out who wins at the Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 Ceremony on Thurs 29th June 2023.


About the Integration & Collaborative Working Award (sponsored by PiLON): 

Collaborative working is central to the core values of Constructing Excellence and its drive for positive change in construction.  It is most likely to manifest in the delivery of specific projects, however those who can demonstrate a culture across a series or programme of projects show leadership in a sustained approach.  Integration of the supply chain, the client and end users will normally lead to a better outcome satisfying all stakeholders. More info

>> Find out more about the other Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2023 finalists here

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