Accelerated construction programme revealed for UK vaccine facility

CONSTRUCTION work has started ahead of schedule to build a specialist facility in Oxfordshire that will house the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC).

VMIC is a not for profit organisation, which will provide the UK’s first bespoke strategic vaccine development and manufacturing capability. The 7,000 square metre facility is set to open next year, ahead of the original scheduled date in 2022.

Groundworks began on the site at Harwell Campus earlier this month. Main contractor Glencar said it expects to see the base build ready for early access for fit-out in late July/early August. Design and fit-out is being led by WHP Engineering.

Dr Matthew Duchars, chief executive of the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre said, “Whilst no-one could have predicted the Covid-19 outbreak we are doing all we can to fast track the build so VMIC is set-up to offer long-term support to the UK’s future vaccines needs whilst simultaneously contributing right now to the vital work that will help us emerge from this pandemic.”

Cliff Dare, COO of Harwell Campus management team and development manager for the VMIC build added, “This is an unprecedented time and one that calls for collaboration across many fields and sectors. We are working closely with Matthew and his team, national and local government, and Glencar the main contractor involved on this complex development. It is essential that we continue to fast track this project of national importance, bringing the facility into operation as quickly as possible.

“This is not a straightforward build and fit out; it is a complex advanced centre of technology and that throws up its own particular challenges. One way we are addressing this is by looking at novel strategies for developing fit-out/technologies, including off-site manufacture that will sit within the building to be developed alongside groundworks.”

Eddie McGillycuddy, MD of Glencar Construction said, “Glencar is pleased to
collaborate with VMIC, Harwell, The Vale of White Horse Council and other stakeholders to deliver this critical project. We have made an accelerated start and reduced our construction programme with the support of our partners, making this project an excellent example of all that is good about our industry.”