The project required the unit to be stripped back to an empty shell before the construction of the laboratory and facilities began, and increased the floor space from 1440 meters squared to 2300 meters squared of floor space with the inclusion of mezzanine floors and additional levels within the building.
The new design incorporated a specialised water discharge plant and water treatment plant, M&E services, specialised gas services for the specific function of the lab, water wash fume cupboard and extraction systems, and full heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and facilities.
Project requirements were for a laboratory that would facilitate the complex testing and analysis of geological samples related to the recovery, exploitation, and production of materials using the Earths natural resources within the petrochemical and oil or hydrocarbon related industries.
The client being a world leader in these industries had a clear vision for their laboratory facilities, and the specifications and implementation of the project due to their experience and leading position within the industry.
The total cost of this project ran to over £2.5 million and involved the design, build, and full management of the project from inception to delivery, and proves the ability of the design company (iab Lab) to deliver effective solutions to incredibly complex requirements, both on budget, and on time.
Design and Build
IAB took the initial concept and scope of works (provided by Capita) and developed the entire project resulting in a series of fully functional labs, plant rooms, warehouse or storage areas, and office areas, all inside an existing industrial warehouse and office facility.
The external provisions and services included plant gantry, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning plant and equipment, gas, electricity, power, and water utility supplies, increased drainage for the labs, fresh equipment zones, a 24 hour standby generator, and three stage settlement tanks among other state of the art, and proprietary additions.
On top of this boosted tank cold water and mains were also catered for in 2 separate plant rooms, with each having boilers and controls fitted, in addition another plant provisions room was incorporated for the mains input supply, with generator wiring and automatic switch over supply, as well as distribution of the mains from a specially designed mains distribution board that fed the entire building.
The project required a significant floor space to accommodate the storage of samples, with suitable storage, shelving, and racking facilities, site based equipment, a bonded plant room for the specialised waste water and water treatment plant and facilities, as well as an equipment storage area, and an engineer’s workshop.
The labs on the first floor were constructed on a specially designed and manufactured mezzanine flooring area which allowed the extension of the existing warehouse or industrial unit area in terms of both length and width.
By applying partitions to these sections which extended up to the inside of the sloping metal roofing areas, it was possible to create individual sealed and independent laboratories which could each incorporate its own fume cupboards, benching, fume hoods (both cone and canopy), fume extraction systems, close control recirculating air conditioning, and replacement air supplies, ensuring an almost bespoke solution for each and every lab in the facility.
It is worth noting that the air conditioning also was achieved with energy efficient VRF air con equipment, and that this flooring level also included the changing rooms for male and female staff members, as well as the emergency equipment storage area, laundry area, cleaners store, solvent store, acid store, and chemical stores.
Also note that the east side of the plant included access via a hooped ladder to the external plant gantry, supporting thirteen fume extraction fans, an internal fire escape, and a lift for passengers and samples and / or supplies to the higher floors.
As you are almost certainly aware, preparing and testing geological samples requires a number of highly hazardous processes to be undertaken, and consequently the best practise was to produce a large laboratory that would be able to facilitate the inclusion of a cantilever perimeter and peninsular bench installation.
This included 8 x 2000mm width re-circulating water wash fume cupboards, and was designed to also provide a temperature controlled air supply that also included a significant quantity of replacement air from a Bivalent air handling plant which was supplied by air source heat pumps as well as gas fired heating.
This allows air temperature to be very closely monitored and controlled during all seasons, with the gas fired provision allowing for control even when external temperatures drop substantially in winter and colder months of the year.
In order to facilitate a clean air supply, a duplex compressor system was fitted to supplement and complement the primary heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and the M&E services, the compressor situated close to but external to the plant in a specially designed and dedicated weather proof, sound proof, and ventilated housing.
Under bench gas supplies of nitrogen and hydrogen are provided by generators, with oxygen, helium, and carbon dioxide being supplied to each lab via gas bottles.
With energy conservation and the carbon footprint of the lab being observed and considered, energy saving lighting in the form of LED lights has been installed to give a very high level of illumination in lumens, whilst still maintaining energy saving principles, each LED light fixture having an in-built and self testing emergency light fitting.
List of Provisions
A fuller list of included services is below:
- External plant gantry
- Fume extraction
- Plant base for HVAC plant
- Plant base for fume extract equipment
- New utilities – mains gas supply
- New utilities – mains water supply
- New utilities – mains power supply.
- External underground drainage
- External interceptor settlement tank.
- 24 hour automatic standby switchover generator
- New external windows.
- Internal block work walls.
- Mezzanine flooring decks.
- Platform lift.
- Warehouse Shelving.
- Fan assisted heating system to warehousing areas.
- Domestic mains water system.
- Domestic mains hot water system.
- Boosted tank cold water system.
- Boosted tank hot water system.
- Drainage & sink systems.
- Duplex run and standby medical air external compressor and distribution pipe working.
- External compressor housings.
- External bottle store.
- Run and standby gas manifolds.
- Distribution pipe work for Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Helium and Liquid CO2.
- New power distribution network within the Building.
- LED lighting.
- Emergency lighting.
- CCTV system installation.
- Fire alarm system installation.
- Electronic door access security system installation.
- Small power distribution with three compartment trunking.
- Data installation.
- COMMS Cabinet installation.
- HVAC installation.
- Laboratory pressure profile.
- Variable air replacement.
- VRF Installation.
- Air handling.
- Distribution ductwork.
- Trend BMS controls.
- Controls cabling and installation.
- Power distribution to plant and equipment.
- Cantilevered laboratory benching.
- Mobile under bench cabinets.
- Trespa Athlon worktops.
- Solid 20mm thick Polypropylene worktops.
- Bespoke designed and manufactured 316 acid stainless steel sample wash down sink modules.
- 2000mm wide recirculating water wash fume cupboards with linked extraction systems.
- 1200mm wide fume cupboards and extraction systems.
- Bespoke fume hoods and individual movable Alsident hoods.
- Manual and automatic waste tank discharge systems to Beckart Treatment Plant.
You can learn more about the requirements and specifics of geosciences testing at: