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 a 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 is partially to be covered by the refurbishment of part of their existing Hatherly Laboratory building.

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

At commencement, The Austin Company worked very closely with the facility users as well as surveying the existing building. One of the key drivers at this stage was to understand fully all user requirements and ensure that they could be provided within the constraints of a 1940’s building whilst recognising the associated regulatory requirements.

The refurbishment works (c400m²) involved the remodelling of a suite of rooms, located over 3 floor levels, wtihin the existing Hatherly building. These included specialist bioscience laboratories, associated specialist support and storage facilities. The scope of the works included replacement of all HVAC and electrical systems serving the most critical of these new areas.

New air handling and cooling plant and distribution services including laboratory gases were successfully co-ordinated and installed into highly constrained spaces, replacing the old existing plant. These new systems provide the refurbished suites with ventilation rates, pressure regimes and environmental control appropriate for the standards of modern laboratories.

The existing power and lighting were also stripped out and replaced in line with end user discussions throughout the process. A new standby generator provides backup power to the laboratory systems for both the F&G facility and refurbished suites.

The constraints of the existing building meant that in order to accommodate the required accommodation and to achieve appropriate, economic, safe adjacencies and work flow patterns, the layouts of the spaces and in particular attention to ergonomic requirements, were subject to detailed and very close liaison with the University’s user and estates teams as well as specialist equipment manufacturers. This also included close liaison with associated regulatory bodies to ensure successful planning, finishing, servicing and maintenance of the new facilities and to ensure successful handover, validation, regulatory certification and compliance.

“Very good response received from Senior Management” – Phill Alker, Project Manager “Standard of workmanship was very good” – Deb Galley, Facilities Manager

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