University and Research Facilities
Our success in working with Universities and Research groups is based on the experience our staff has as members of Development organizations.
The key to creating a successful research facility is to insure flexibility of design while insuring critical design elements are present that provide a required set of conditions. We have the experienced team that can work with the researcher through the many decisions required to design and start up a new laboratory. Especially with the level of sophistication and technology required in today’s laboratories, it is even more critical to commission and validate the installation. Our capabilities are some of the best in the country, with a wide range of test equipment and protocols available to insure the facility is operating within specifications.
We provide a full range of services so that one company can be used for throughout the project, simplifying communication and management.
- Laboratory and facility conceptual and detailed design
Our unique skill set includes the ability to interview research scientists and place their needs into construction documents. We can provide the necessary dialog early in the process so that the key decisions that are made at that point will have significant impact on the final outcome. Many of our staff members have actually worked in research laboratory facilities and this provides a unique perspective when planning these facilities. This is key to effective engineering of laboratories. Also included in our portfolio is industry experience. As Universities and other public institutions are tasked with more industry related research, our experience again provides unique perspective particularly in the planning and design of Nano and Bio Tech research facilities.
Commissioning and testing of facilities
University research facilities track the general body of science which becomes ever more complex as time passes. Additional pressures on today’s University environment is the trend towards industry sponsored research at our institutions of higher learning. Time to market has now become a facet of University research construction programs and the need to begin commissioning activities early in the process becomes ever more critical. A shift of project goals away from simply the construction of the facility to the acceptance of the facility and setting those goals in the programming and planning phases will greatly increase the communication level between users and the design and construction professionals – the object is not the construct but rather the goal is for user acceptance of the facility. We offer a unique approach to commissioning where commissioning plans are integrated in to the construction documents so that all parties are aware of roles and responsibilities on bid day.
Validation and Nondestructive Testing (NDT) of Systems
Validation in the University context is an acceptance activity that is over and above basic commissioning. For Biotech facilities it usually involves the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is reserved for those facilities that are in the process of producing Phase II or Phase III clinical materials. Our team of experts can assist a research university in setting up a program that will gain FDA acceptance of the facility. For Nano-tech facilities, validation activities will take on the form of acceptance activities that are traceable to national or international standards and not merely the design intent. As Bio and Nano technologies converge, the acceptance of research institutions at University settings will require FDA acceptance and traceability of processes and supporting utilities to published standards.
Some of our experiences in this area are given below:
Animal Health Research Center Renovation and Commissioning, University of Georgia, Athens Georgia Provided Construction Investigation to evaluate claims made by the original builder, Programming and Commissioning Services for ABSL-3 and BSL-3 and BSL-3ag lab facilities. (2005, $43,000,000) These services included:
- Field surveys of structural systems
- Evaluation of containment integrity
- Exhaustive evaluation of the bio-waste treatment system
- Pressure decay testing of spaces and containment piping
- Helium leak testing
- HEPA filter challenges
- Control system characterization
California Nano Systems Institute (CNSI), University of California, Santa Barbara, California Provided design services for high tech systems serving the production laboratories and research laboratories supporting semiconductor research. (2005, $56,000,000). These services include:
- Design of ASTM Type E-1 High Purity Water System
- Design of Toxic Gas Monitoring and Alarm System
- Design of Laboratory gas and water distribution systems
- Design of Laboratory Power and Data distribution systems
Temporary Technology Development Center (Emory University and Georgia Tech), Atlanta, Georgia Functioned as designer and construction manager for a fast track project to provide 7,700 ft3 of temporary research facilities for the joint Biotechnology department. (2000, $1,690,000) The project featured:
- HVAC Systems and Lab Exhausts
- DDC Systems
- DI Water
- Security Systems