Major building projects

Our largest are high-profile multi-million pound, award-winning construction projects, such as the Blavatnik School of Government and the redevelopment of the historic Weston Library. They also range enormously in type – from the new sports hall at Iffley Road Sports Ground to high tech laboratories in the Physics Department's new Beecroft Building.

We handle many types of project:

  • Feasibility studies
  • New buildings
  • Major alterations or extensions to existing buildings, including improvements for accessibility
  • Demolition

Visit our gallery to see some examples of projects completed or underway:



Below, find out more about the services of the Capital Projects team, from the first stages of planning a project through to occupying the building. We follow the stages of the RIBA (Royal Institution of British Architects) Plan of Work, an industry-standard approach to running building projects.


RIBA Stage 0 – Strategic Definition 

Working with our Programme Manager, explore how we can meet the needs of your department and prepare a high level business case. This sets out your requirements and the potential constraints for your project. It’s the first step in securing approval and funding to carry out a feasibility study. We log the project on our project management system.

RIBA Stage 1 – Preparation & Brief

The Programme Manager leads a feasibility study of how to meet the needs set out in the business case. They investigate one or more options and estimate the costs of implementing them. We instigate our Project Quality Review Process, Gateway Reviews and Soft Landing Strategy – you can find out more in our Client Guide, available soon. By the end of Stage 1 a Project Board is appointed.


RIBA Stage 2 – Concept Design

Using the feasibility study as a starting point, we appoint a design team, which then prepares a concept design. This includes proposals for structural and building services systems, taking into account the design philosophies of Estates Services and the Safety Office. We seek approval for a detailed business case and agree the quality, cost and timescale requirements for the project.

RIBA Stage 3 – Developed Design

The design team develops the concept into a scheme design which includes further detailed systems requirements and functional layouts. We will prepare and submit applications for planning permission and listed building consent if required.

RIBA Stage 4 – Technical Design

The design team in collaboration with the appointed contractor develops a detail design and working drawings package along with an agreed cost. We prepare and approve the final business case and funding for delivery of the project, including the need for any philanthropic donations.


RIBA Stage 5 – Construction

Building works commence on site. The Project Manager and Estates Services monitor the work, reporting regularly to the Project Board. The design team carries out regular inspections of the works and draws up a snagging list. The Project Manager confirms that all requirements have been met and ensures that Estates Services teams undertake all pre-handover inspections.

We hold Soft Landing meetings throughout the life of the project and these increase during the construction phase. These aim to prepare the department(s) to occupy, use and manage your new facility. It also ensures an efficient handover that minimises any impact on day-to-day operations.



RIBA Stages 6/7 – Handover & Close Out/In Use

A certificate of Practical Completion is issued and the University assumes responsibility for the building from the contractor. It is brought into service and the department(s) can take up occupation.

This is also the start of the defects liability period (DLP). This usually lasts 12 months during which the contractor remedies snags identified or any defects that may arise. 

At the end of the DLP, the Project Manager agrees the final project accounts, final payment is made to the contractor and the project is closed down.

The Soft Landing process continues after Practical Completion for up to 3.5 years. This includes seasonal adjustments to optimise building systems as you occupy and use the building. We also hold Project Quality Review Process workshops with departments on practical completion, after one year of occupancy and after five years of occupancy. This is to check that the project objectives have been achieved and identify any lessons to pass on to future projects. 

Guidance documents

Download our Guide to Capital Building Projects and other guidance documents below


Latest news

Visit our news page to find out about current projects


Service Catalogue

To view and access the Estates Services service catalogue



Standing Orders

For general guidance on the split of responsibilities between departments and Estates Services refer to the Standing Orders.


Contact us

Richard Jones

Head of Capital Projects

Jennifer Makkreel

Deputy Head of Capital Projects