Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia at LSHTM

Medical Research Council (MRC) is active in The Gambia as the UK’s single largest investor in medical research in a developing country. The growing demands placed on the MRC’s operations in The Gambia focusing on infectious diseases highlighted the need to review and update the facilities in various locations and make provision for the extended scientific needs of the organisation.
The MRC’s main Unit in The Gambia is situated in Fajara, approximately nine miles from the capital Banjul. The Unit operates over a 100 acre site which consists of research and clinical laboratory facilities (up to ACDP containment level 3). The Unit is also home to the busy clinical services department, the Unit’s biobank, as well as approximately 40 residential units of various sizes.
As well as maintaining existing site services, there is a requirement to add new facilities to continue the MRC’s commitment to leading scientific research. These new facilities will introduce a greater demand on the site utilities, specifically the electrical infrastructure which is the Unit’s primary energy source. The anticipated new facilities are:

  • New molecular laboratory (1000m²);
  • Biobank extension (160m²);
  • New lecture theatre (600m²);
  • Accommodation for academy (Two 10 bedroom blocks – 800m²); and
  • A Training centre (approximately 1000m²)

Following a number of commissions for the MRC in The Gambia including a review of energy consumption across its sites Austin were commissioned to undertake a survey of the site electrical infrastructure across the unit in Fajara.
MRC approached Austin as they required a survey to be undertaken on their infrastructure in The Gambia.

Austin approached the requirements by undertaking a detailed survey to establish the current electricity demand including identification of peak times in consumption with potential causes. This included:

  • Provide a replacement schedule for equipment associated with the electrical infrastructure including respective time frames
  • Identify installations which are deemed unsafe or not in accordance with current standards; and
  • Identify the required power capacity for the site in order to future proof and ensure reliable power provision for current and planned activities

The survey was carried out over five days with its extent and recommendations limited to the low voltage infrastructure, culminating at the point of isolation within each building.
Detailed recommendations were provided in a report that addressed current and future needs for the unit and the required upgrades. This included the recommendation for installation of new substations that allows connectivity of the proposed developments onto the upgraded infrastructure. This extended to provision of an additional standby generator to overcome manual intervention and reduction in available capacity during periods of simultaneous standby and further upgrades to problematic generators.
Austin subsequently oversaw the implementation phase on site by supporting MRC with procurement, monitoring installation through to final commissioning and into operation.

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