26 MAY 2023


A white paper, giving developers specific requirements and knowledge for designing and constructing life sciences buildings has been released by Ramboll and Wates.

Speed to Market: Life Sciences Buildings, has been released as a ‘helpful blueprint’ for developers keen to enter the market, as the UK prioritises funding in the life sciences sector as part of an ambition to make the country a “Science Superpower” by 2030.

It discusses how the market for specialist buildings is set to grow rapidly, making now the right time for development, despite the challenges that may be faced.

The paper also draws on the two firms’ experiences designing and constructing science buildings including the University of Oxford Life and Mind Building the Quadram Institute at Norwich Research Park, and the Basingstoke Pathology Laboratory.

Rebecca Mortimore, UK science sector co-lead at Ramboll and co-author of the white paper, said: “With the current focus on development within the life sciences sector, speed to market is becoming a critical factor for developers, particularly for new entrants who may not be familiar with life sciences’ requirements. 

“However, it also provides a major market opportunity for those who are ready to tackle the challenge and this whitepaper is designed to provide a roadmap for those looking to do that. 

“We know that constructing science buildings can be a complex process, so our whitepaper helps simplify the life sciences sector’s language and rules, so that developers understand how to get the design and construction right, first time.”

Jamie Young, principal design manager at Wates, one of the UK's largest privately-owned construction, property services and development companies, was co-author of the paper.

“As an organisation which has been involved in the life sciences sector for many years, we’re keen to share the knowledge we’ve gained working on landmark projects across the country, to help more developers come into the market,” he said.

“We understand that it can be very daunting for potential new players to get involved, given the huge investment which can be required.

“If the UK is to realise its ambition of becoming a science superpower, we need to be getting the most talented people developing the assets we’re going to need.

“The buildings we design now are going to be defining the future of science not just in the UK but across the world.”

He added both Ramboll and Wates hope the whitepaper will go some way to “bringing more talented, and creative people into our sector”.

The white paper sets out key principles and priorities for the design and construction of life science buildings, in a bid to help developers avoid potentially costly errors.

These include key location characteristics and types of spaces, how to ensure flexibility and help futureproof laboratories and the standardisation of laboratory design briefs and construction methods.

The white paper also discusses regulation to be aware of and lessons which can be learned from other sectors. 


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