Medical Air Technology | Tel: +44 (0)844 871 2100
MAT DELIVERS A NEW CL3 LABORATORY
FOR UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL CROSSHOUSE
University Hospital Crosshouse is a large district general hospital located near Kilmarnock. Operated by NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the hospital provides a wide range of services. The board commissioned Medical Air Technology (MAT) to design a scheme for the major refurbishment of an existing laboratory, having worked successfully together on earlier operating theatre projects. The upgraded laboratory increases the hospital’s Containment Level 3 (CL3) capacity, allowing it to work with a wider range of pathogens, including coronaviruses. CL3 is the highest containment level in common use in the UK, and laboratories of this type require certain features to be incorporated into the design to ensure appropriate containment.
After receiving the design order, MAT developed and submitted several different room layouts, each of which met the hospital’s key requirement to enlarge the lobby leading into the laboratory. Following an option appraisal, MAT and its supply chain then mobilised to site to carry out the entire refurbishment. This included a full strip-out of the existing laboratory, taking it right back to bare brick, then installing a new ventilation system, control panel, furniture, drainage, domestic water and decoration.
The lobby is a vital element of CL3 laboratory design. It marks the start point of the controlled airflow: the HVAC monitored pressure control system supplies air to the lobby and then draws the air through to the laboratory by a combination of safety cabinet extract and HEPA filtration of exhausted laboratory air, creating a gradation of negative pressure. On this particular project, MAT took air from the existing corridor and introduced it to the lobby via a pressure stabiliser. The laboratory door contained a door transfer grille to allow the pressure regime and design airflow to be met. The air was then extracted via two microbiological safety cabinets, procured by MAT from Contained Air Solutions (CAS).
In addition to designing and installing the laboratory, MAT had to meet two specific challenges during this project. The first involved working on the roof to install the ventilation system. This had to be done out of hours to create minimum disruption to the day-to-day running of the hospital, so the installation team was often working under floodlighting. MAT also had to ensure that all guidelines were followed to provide a COVID-secure workplace. However, thanks to close liaison between MAT and the hospital, these challenges were overcome.
CL3 Laboratory Room Structure and Specialist Airflow Design
A Category 3 or CL3 laboratory is an airtight, gas-tight, leak-proof room that uses specialised airflow design to ensure biocontainment. Conceptualising and designing a safe and compliant CL3 laboratory requires expert knowledge of the importance of room structure and a thorough and advanced appreciation of the way airflow operates. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations require that at CL3 the workplace must be maintained at an air pressure negative to atmosphere to stop the escape of hazardous pathogens. This is achieved by the specialist airflow created by the HVAC system, a critical part of the containment process, which establishes and maintains the negative pressure and thus ensures containment and operator safety.
MAT – A Specialist Contractor
MAT designs, manufactures and installs bespoke critical ventilation systems and turnkey project solutions for new build and refurbishment projects. As a specialist contractor with many years’ experience, it is passionately committed to improving patient protection and end-user safety in demanding clinical, research and drug production arenas. The company has extensive experience of working in live environments and understand the challenges around delivering a project within an operational scenario. In addition, MAT FM provides a range of competitively priced and highly effective service and maintenance packages for all core products and turnkey solutions offered by MAT or other suppliers, ensuring that equipment is maintained, serviced and validated correctly for optimum performance.
For more information, please contact Will Evans:
Tel: 0844 871 2100
After completing several previous cleanroom and containment laboratory projects at Imperial College London, MAT was proud and excited to once again have the opportunity to work in partnership with such a prestigious institution to deliver the new research environments.
After initial designs were developed and approved, building work began in summer 2020 and the new cleanrooms were handed over in June 2021, the entire project having taken just 11 months.
Imperial College London is a global top ten university with a world class reputation. Its alumni include 14 Nobel Prize winners, including Sir Alexander Fleming.
To enable the highest level of research, the university offers the best
possible facilities. One of its flagship buildings is the £90m Sir Michael
Uren Hub, located at the White City campus. Designed as a
collaborative facility, the 13-storey Hub provides space for Imperial’s
world-leading researchers, engineers, scientists and clinicians to work
alongside one another to investigate some of the twenty first century’s
most urgent biomedical and healthcare problems.
FEATURES CONTAINED WITHIN THE CLEANROOMS:
The new cleanrooms MAT was commissioned to design and build both had to be ISO Class 6 standard to safely accommodate the semiconductor research that would be carried out in them. Class 6, as defined in ISO 14644-1:2015 Cleanrooms and Controlled Environments, refers to the cleanliness levels that must be met within the cleanroom.
In addition to having a high air change rate, an ISO 6 environment must be accessed through airlocks to preserve pressurisation differentials and prevent the migration of particles from outside into the cleanroom space, increasing one class at a time. So, users should pass through an ISO 8 environment, then an ISO 7 environment, before entering the ISO 6 cleanroom.
MAT acted as the designer and main contractor on the cleanroom project, working closely with the university to ensure minimum disruption to the other activities being carried out in the Sir Michael Uren Hub.
The team developed a design built around the complex research equipment and specialist tools that would be housed in the new cleanrooms. Work included final services connections and extensive bottled and house gases installation to several hazardous gases and associated gas detection systems.
HVAC design is complex and requires a highly skilled delivery team.
MAT is an expert in the provision of specialist HVAC systems. The HVAC system is at the heart of cleanroom design. Cleanroom HVACs differ from standard systems in that they have an increased air supply, different airflow patterns, use of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, and room pressurisation, and clean to dirty room air cascades.
In order to meet the required air cleanliness, the air must pass through HEPA filters. The lower the ISO class, the more often the air must pass through the HEPA filter. This ‘air changes per hour’ rate (ACH) and the room volume are used to calculate the HVAC’s required airflow. A conventional HVAC system usually makes two to four air changes per hour, whereas in a cleanroom it can range anywhere from 10 to 250 or even more.
The ISO Class 6 cleanrooms at Imperial College London require air change rates from 50 to 70 per hour.
MAT designs, manufactures and installs bespoke critical ventilation systems and turnkey project solutions for new build and refurbishment projects. As a specialist contractor with many years’ experience, we are passionately committed to improving patient protection and end-user safety in demanding clinical, research and drug production arenas.
We have extensive experience of working in live environments and understand the challenges around delivering a project within an operational scenario.
In addition, MAT FM provides a range of competitively priced and highly effective service and maintenance packages for all core products and turnkey solutions offered by MAT or other suppliers, ensuring that equipment is maintained, serviced and validated correctly for optimum performance.
For more information, please contact Will Evans:
Tel: 0844 871 2100
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