University of Lincoln Medical School

Investing in a healthier future

BAM has delivered the first zero carbon building on the University of Lincoln’s city centre Brayford Pool campus: a new, purpose-built medical school that will help train the much needed doctors of the future.


Project details

  • Customer: University of Lincoln
  • Architects: HLM / BAM Design
  • Project and cost management: BAM Design / Perfect Circle 
  • Structural design: BAM Design
  • Mechanical and electrical services: BAM Services Engineering

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BREEAM Fact icon Excellent rating
200+ Fact icon solar PV panels
9,000m2 Fact icon earth excavated during the build

The new Medical School is a partnership between the Universities of Nottingham and Lincoln, delivering a range of foundation and degree programmes to boost recruitment and retention of doctors in Lincolnshire and other rural areas. 

Inspired by the vibrant waterfront at nearby Brayford Pool, the building is the most sustainable at the University, featuring solar panels, a dramatic living wall and innovative air-source heat pump technologies, among other environmentally responsible solutions. 

The EPC ‘A’ rated Ross Lucas Medical Sciences Building – named after local entrepreneurs and philanthropists David Ross and Rob Lucas, who made significant donations to the project – is at the heart of the University’s science corridor.

When BAM won the contract to build the new medical centre, little did anyone realise the challenges that the world was about to face… The team moved on site in November 2019, so the project had hardly begun when the Covid-19 pandemic took full hold. 

The issue of training new medics was about to take on a whole new urgency. Work on this vitally needed facility had to continue. But BAM realised that it was essential to keep lines of communication open with all its stakeholder groups: so virtual meetings became the order of the day. 

On top of issues caused by the pandemic, the site is close to the centre of a live university campus, alongside a main road, which brought with it some logistical challenges. Restricted access to the site was especially tricky when it came to managing traffic and deliveries. 

Despite the difficulties, the building was delivered successfully and welcomed its first cohort of medical students in 2021.


The University provided a clear brief in terms of how the building needed to function for current generations of students. But future flexibility is built in. For instance, by reducing the number of supporting columns in functional areas and installing some folding partitions, spaces can easily be reconfigured as needs evolve. 

Early in the design process, whole-life carbon emissions were assessed in detail. This led to the choice of sustainable materials wherever possible. For example, the façade features high-quality stone, quarried locally. 

Planning for quality

First and foremost, the building is a teaching facility for healthcare professionals. 

So BAM invested a great deal of time in creating the BIM 3D model to ensure that all the mechanical and electrical (M&E) services associated with fume cupboards, medical areas and ‘Containment Level 2’ labs (used for work with medium-risk biological agents and hazards) were co-ordinated effectively could be installed to a high standard. 

This upfront planning was also key to ensuring that there is good access when it comes to the all-important on-going maintenance of the systems.  

More than efficient

Across the whole building, sustainable installation and highly energy-efficient M&E systems were a key requirement on this project. 

For example, BAM carefully evaluated all the options for heating and cooling: balancing CO2 emissions and energy consumption. As a result, air-source heat pumps (ASHP) and a hybrid variable refrigerant flow (VRF) ventilation system, coupled with natural ventilation, are being used for top cooling. VRF only circulates the minimum amount of refrigerant needed during a single heating or cooling period. 

This is one of the first times this kind of installation has been used in a higher education setting. As a result of this decision, the energy consumption of the ventilation system alone is only half that originally targeted by the University. 

Other sustainable solutions – such as ASHP hot water, smart LED lighting and the 97kW solar photovoltaic array – mean that overall the building consumes less that 75% of what was originally specified. 

Working with nature

Over 200 rooftop solar panels and a vertical solar façade on the south side deliver most of the building’s electricity, while a living wall absorbs much of the noise from the nearby ring road. The impressive greenery is also visible expression of the University’s commitment to environmental responsibility.

The second-floor roof terrace, beneath the spectacular solar wall, is designed as a modern interpretation of a ‘physic garden’, featuring plants and herbs with medicinal properties. It provides a quiet and contemplative space for students and staff alike.

To ensure that the building continues to perform as predicted, BAM is working with Yonder Building Physics to monitor its energy performance. Tracking this metric for the first three years of the building’s operational life will provide valuable insights that should help the University develop its sustainable building strategy for the future.

Award winning development   

In 2021, the project scooped the title of ‘Sustainable Development of the Year’ at Business Link Magazine’s Brick Awards. The awards recognise the companies behind the changing landscape of the East Midlands region and this accolade is a testament to BAM’s commitment to sustainable development.