VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver UCL’s world leading Person-Environment-Activity Research lab

VolkerFitzpatrick has been awarded an estimated £17 million contract to construct a world leading Person-Environment-Activity Research lab (PEARL) in Dagenham, for UCL. The project began in January and will continue until early 2021.


The bespoke, new-build PEARL facility has been designed as a reconfigurable space to explore how people interact with a range of different environments.

Construction work will consist of the erection of the 100m long facility, which will include an entirely column-free experiment space, 500 person retractable seating area and 2,500m2 of storage space. VolkerFitzpatrick will also install changing, fitting and meeting room facilities, for use by PEARL participants.

This will ready the facility for the subsequent installation of reconfigurable flooring modules, a carpentry workshop for making scenery and set buildings, specialist lighting and sound systems, studio space for 3D printing and sound design, eight decommissioned train carriages and a decommissioned aeroplane when one becomes available.


During the project, a minimum of 25 per cent of labour and suppliers will be drawn from within the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and the building is being designed to be net zero carbon.

Stuart Deverill, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick’s Building division, said: “I am delighted that VolkerFitzpatrick has been appointed to deliver this exciting and unique facility for UCL. The development will benefit from our established experience within the education sector and I look forward to working in close collaboration with the University over the coming months.”

Neil Turvey, assistant director capital projects for UCL, said: “UCL are looking forward to working closely with VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver this important research facility.”