30 Aug, 2016 | Written by Premis

Building State of the Art Labs

The delivery of laboratories isn’t a straightforward process and is perhaps one of the most challenging specialist environments to build from the ground up. The design, construct and upgrade of any laboratory, particularly specialist laboratories, involves the coordination of many competing factors. Complex requirements are inherent in program and methodology, where aspects such as air quality, management systems, sterility, contamination control, and noise and dust management are accounted for.

Premis has delivered multiple specialist laboratory environments for education providers over the years. Notably, the Premis team facilitated an extensive, complicated program that ultimately resulted in the successful delivery of the R Block Wet Laboratories at the Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point.  The chemical lab pictured below achieved a [-10Pa] environment.

QUT laboratory requires “reverse osmosis” water – a process by which a solvent passes through a porous membrane in the direction opposite to that for natural osmosis, when subjected to a hydrostatic pressure greater than the osmotic pressure.  It also requires direct ventilation and specialised pipe utilities necessary in testing and analysing chemicals, drugs and other materials. They are unique in their configuration and accommodate synchronised and independent ventilation and utility connections that work together and separately. As such, the structure and operations of the lab itself are sensitive, and its conditions need to be maintained.

At the completion of construction, QUT’s laboratories attained the required physical containment standard within two days of the initial final testing inspection, enabling the project to progress rapidly to a compliant completion. This was regarded as “an excellent outcome for the project.”

The refurbishments of Level 4 and part of Level 1 were completed whilst the remainder of R Block was occupied by staff and students. Sophisticated service works in the roof void were completed concurrently, constituting a complex build within the Heritage-listed site. Seven fume cabinets were fitted-off and installed that culminated in a state-of-the-art, certified Physical Containment Standard 2 laboratory in the east wing of Level 4 with a [-15Pa] environment. The project’s chemical laboratory in the West Wing was delivered in a similar capacity that achieved a [-10Pa] environment.

In driving this project, Premis engaged a full-time site foreman in addition to the project manager and the necessary resources instrumental to the success of this project. This included contracting a training exercise professional services group to visit the site and deliver a specialist installation course, so that subcontractors could appreciate the importance of why it was important for them to fit the amenities the way it was specified. Specialist materials for laboratories are often imported from overseas, and the likelihood of a stringent deadline needs to be anticipated.

Premis understood every detail and intricacy of this project and when they anticipated an issue they were quick to work with the design team to find a workable solution before it impacted upon the program.

We are currently refurbishing Guillermo’s, Rainer Grun and other existing campus science laboratories at Griffith University’s Nathan campus. This project will run for 6 months and will be completed over a four-stage process.   We look forward to working with Griffith University once more and the opportunity to hone our capabilities in specialis laboratory environments.

Tags: laboratory designwet labs

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