The UK Natural History Museum (NHM) has selected construction company Mace as its preferred lead contractor to build new NHM facilities in Shinfield.

This project will see the development of a new Collections, Research, and Digitisation Centre.

The scope of Mace’s work will comprise preconstruction services comprising design and procurement.

The facility spans across an area of 25,000m² and is located at Thames Valley Science Park, the University of Reading’s innovation campus in Shinfield.

Upon receiving planning permission, which was recently presented to Wokingham Borough Council, the museum will begin construction of a sustainable new site next year.

Construction work is expected to be completed in 2027, and the centre is anticipated to be operational by 2031.

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It will include advanced laboratories/laboratory space for museum experts and purpose-built storage for 28 million specimens.

The UK government has supported this project with a £201m investment as part of its goal to expand investment in science, research, and development.

NHM Estates, Projects and Masterplanning director Keith Jennings said: “This new site will enable us to secure irreplaceable collections in a purpose-built storage facility, provide new scientific infrastructure to accelerate research and digitisation and act as a base for new collaborations and partnerships.

“We are very excited to see the project reach this stage and look forward to working with Mace under a preconstruction services agreement to further develop the project and prepare for the construction phase.”

CPC Project Services is the project manager, Arcadis is the cost consultant, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios is the architect, and Ramboll is the mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural engineer for this project.

The centre at Thames Valley Science Park will be built with a minimal amount of ecological impact, using sustainably sourced materials and services. The museum intends to construct and operate a net-zero carbon building.