As we move through the challenges of the 21st Century, governments and businesses worldwide are using research and development as an instrument for economic growth. In particular this involves the creation of specialised laboratories to house various processes and specific equipment. Laboratories can be quite diverse in terms of purpose and risk, and in broad terms, usually fall into the following categories: testing, instrumentation, environmentally controlled, containment, radiation and clean rooms.
Universities and pharmaceutical companies are investing more and more into biotechnology in many expanding fields, as they search for cures to infectious diseases and viruses. They are typically involved in genomics, cloning, nanotechnology, neuroscience, histology, microscopy, pathology, metrology, pharmacology, tissue culture, imaging, and electro physiology.
Beca's role is to assist in the front-end of this discovery by designing laboratory facilities with the twin objectives of providing safe, efficient and clean environments to a very high level, and complying with stringent international standards and health and safety guidelines. Beca has built up a strong team of dedicated engineers with hands-on experience of the design, installation and commissioning of these specialised facilities.
Beca recognises the often significant financial impact a new laboratory can have in terms of design, capital expenditure and operational cost. Research facilities are generally long term investments, albeit with changing programmes and processes, so our design philosophy incorporates evaluations of flexibility, low energy systems, long life plant selections, lifecycle costings, validation and commissioning management.
One of Beca's recent projects was the masterplanning and detailed design of the University of Auckland's Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences building, which included PC2 and PC3 laboratories, ISO 5, 7 and 8 clean rooms and various multi-discipline teaching laboratories. A fully operational campus proved a complex environment for this project, which involved a mixture of new build and refurbishments along with a new central plant.
Beca has a wide range of engineering support to back up core HVAC, Electrical, Lab Gases and Hydraulics services. These include risk management, HSNO specialists, CFD, ESD, thermal, fire and dispersion modelling, benchmarking and fire engineering.