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BioCity Discovery Building

Project value: £27m

Sector: HE&FE

Client Satisfaction: 8/10

Local labour within 20 miles: 75%

Local spend within 20 miles: 82%

Waste Diverted from landfill: 99%

We are particularly pleased that, through this funding, the development of facilities for Nottingham’s biosciences firms can go ahead to support both start-ups and expanding businesses."

Cllr. Nick McDonald

Nottingham City Council

BioCity's Discovery Building is a cutting-edge laboratory and research facility, in a location with a long pharmaceutical heritage and rich scientific background, which was previously disused land.


Housed in a striking five-storey architectural building, the project was an expansion of the existing life sciences complex, which will support more than 700 new roles in the city over the next 30 years.

Delivered by Willmott Dixon through the SCAPE Major Works framework, the improvements cement Nottingham's position as the UK's fastest-growing life sciences community, while underlining the need for high quality tech-driven research space.

It provides laboratory space and offices plus areas for conference and meeting facilities and is expected to act as a catalyst to bring more life science employers to Nottingham. In addition, the building includes flexible spaces of various sizes, to allow local enterprises to flourish.

The visually stunning sunscreen consisting of a 17-metre-high curtain of aluminium tubes on the outside of the building not only creates a grand entrance for visitors, but it also helps to make it more energy efficient, reducing the risk of the building overheating. These tubes are filled with fibre optic lights which link the building to NASA satellites.

In conjunction with this project, Willmott Dixon led a regeneration project on a derelict cricket pavilion by the River Trent in Nottingham, transforming it into a new community facility called the ‘Field of Dreams’.

This volunteering project not only provided work experience for four local unemployed young people and ten college students, but generated £123,772 of community investment, through a total of 4,268 hours of Willmott Dixon staffs’ time.

The pavilion now runs courses for disadvantaged young people and apprenticeship opportunities, creating a total of 22 apprenticeships, 5 of whom went on to work at the pavilion in groundsman roles. The project also won the Skills and Apprenticeships award at the East Midlands Property Awards 2016.

To deliver enhancements to the existing Biocity building, which provide access to high quality laboratory and meeting space and encourages local start-up enterprises.

Due to high levels of growth, expanding this hub to allow more bioscience companies to move in formed part of Nottingham City Council’s strategy to innovatively stimulate the local economy.

Risk reduction – Through early engagement, the Willmott Dixon operations team and supply chain could de-risk the site during preconstruction. This included asbestos removal and demolition of a former nursery.

Stakeholder engagement - Effectively managing the needs, expectations and ongoing communication with over 40 user groups, stakeholders and interested parties.

Cost certainty – With a tight budget, it was essential to provide cost certainty at all stages of the project. We are delighted that through careful cost control, the contract price was delivered below the agreed initial cost plan


Client satisfaction


Local spend within 20 miles


Waste diverted from landfill

In collaboration with:

SCAPE Construction Primary Logo
Willmott Dixon main logo RGB 300dpi

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