University of Exeter

The University of Exeter are currently undertaking a major expansion of their Medical School at their Streatham Campus in the centre of Exeter. Part of this expansion includes the development of  new specialist Research Centre building, which is expected to be completed c2016.

Prior to this new facility becoming operational, the University had identified an urgent need to provide additional temporary specialist research facilities to cover an immediate shortfall prior to  the new building becoming available. This shortfall was to be covered by:

  • the refurbishment of part of the existing Hatherly Laboratory building
  • provision of a new extension wing to the
    Hatherly building.

Due to recent experience The Austin Company have had with similar, highly complex specialist facilities, both refurbishment and new build, together with the ability to offer a seamless “fast track”  approach, the University appointed Austin to undertake the architectural, structural and services design (concept, preliminary and detailed) and construction of this highly important facilities.

The separation of the project into two distinct elements allowed the most critical facilities (within the Hatherly building) to be provided first to meet the most pressing need, whilst the extension  would follow soon after, and provide the needed near-term expansion. The programme for the two elements was designed to benefit from the overlapping of both the respective design and construction stages thereby providing the most expedient, efficient and economical response in satisfying the identified and urgent requirements.

The refurbishment works (c400m²) involved the remodelling of a suite of specialist bioscience laboratories and associated support and storage facilities over three floor levels within the existing Hatherly building. New HVAC and electrical systems serving the most critical of these new areas.

The new extension building (c330m²) was designed as a self-contained facility consisting of two levels, linked by an internal stair and lift. The new facility incorporates its own air handling ventilation, cooling and humidification systems for internal environment control. This also provides correct negative and positive pressure regimes for containment purposes and to prevent ingress of contaminants. The constant volume air ventilation and controls are additionally integrated to various specialist laboratory support systems.

New power, lighting and fire alarm systems  were interfaced to the existing estate infra-structure, including a new standby generator providing back-up power to critical systems in both the refurbished suites and the new extension wing. Additionally specialist lighting controls were installed to the new laboratory suites to end-user specifications.

Following commissioning The Austin Company oversaw a two week environmental validation period prior to hand over.

Throughout both projects, close liaison with the University’s user and estates teams, specialist equipment manufacturers and associated regulatory bodies, proved essential for successful planning, finishing, servicing and maintenance of the new facilities, thereby ensuring successful handover, validation, regulatory certification and compliance.

“Many thanks to the Austin Team involved with delivering the project successfully” – Phill Alker, Project Manager- Deb Galley, Facilities Manager

  • architecture
  • mechanical
  • electrical
  • structural
  • public health
  • construction
  • management