University of Liverpool Energy Centre

Sectors: Build Division | Heritage & Listed

Client: University Of Liverpool

Value: £1.35m

“Converting a Victorian-era listed building into a highly innovative Energy Centre, where noise levels need to be kept to a minimum is a complex process and getting the timing right was critical. We were essentially making an old dilapidated building fit for a purpose that it was never designed to meet. The project had to be carefully planned and managed to allow the principal contractor Vital Energi to install equipment, including two huge engines, early on in the construction phase. Ideally the structure would be built before any M&E is installed, however in order to deliver the shortest programme possible and allow the University to start reaping the benefits of their energy saving sooner, we essentially worked around the installation of the equipment, completing major structural alterations and adaptations to create three floors accommodating pumping and electrical units, two CHP engines and a heat recovery system.” 

John Cunnane, Senior Contracts Manager, Harry Fairclough Construction


Harry Fairclough Construction (in partnership with Principal contractor Vital Energi) was commissioned by The University of Liverpool to develop a new Energy Centre on the site of a Grade 2 Listed, 19th Century former mortuary building and chapel for what was originally part of Liverpool Royal Infirmary. The overall aim of the project was to secure the future of a listed building, improve the University’s carbon footprint, allowing it to reap a financial return on the capital invested from the savings made in energy costs.


  • A sustainable solution to retaining and restoring the existing dilapidated building, adapting it to house engine/plant infrastructure/equipment for the combined heat and power generation.
  • Development of the shortest programme possible to allow the University to benefit from energy savings (to the value of £24k per week).
  • A staged approach to working in a ‘live’ environment that allowed Vital Energi to install the equipment during the construction phase.


  • Large amounts of restoration work to safeguard the structure of the original building
  • Value engineering to various aspects of the original scheme including the floor design to ensure that vibration and noise was minimised
  • Responsibility for complicated design solutions including structural steelwork openings and support steel work, roof to engine bay and all temporary works, scaffolds, access, loading platforms and structural propping
  • Investigation into drainage systems and adaption of programme to cope with flooding due to the existing drainage being blocked, collapsed, and inoperable.
  • Flexible approach working within a difficult environment ‘on campus’ and situated within a very small compound area with difficult access