National Biocontainment Laboratory taking shape

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From the largest current heritage restoration project in the world, to now, the latest, most cutting edge Biocontainment Facility – with technology comparable to anywhere in the world and deemed a building of national significance - Benmax continues to lead the industry in its work completing complex and challenging projects.

Partnering with the experienced Fletchers Building team, the new PC2 and PC3+ (Physical Containment Level 3) laboratories represent only a little over 3000m2 of space with a total construction value of $90M. 

The facility is being built at The National Centre for Bio-Security and Infectious Diseases, Wallaceville Upper Hutt. There have been animal research facilities on this campus since 1905, being the first veterinary laboratory in the Southern Hemisphere. Befitting the nature of the project, the mechanical services component is extremely high ‘spec’ and forms the basis of the buildings ability to operate as a high-risk pathogen containment unit. 

Utilising the latest BIM processes, Benmax is the lead services coordinator and are responsible for delivering an LOD500 model for use by the facilities management team. 

We are currently at the Engineering, Technical Submittal and Procurement Phases of the project with highly detailed and technically challenging requirements, and near-bespoke equipment being the order of the day. An indication of our pre-construction phase requirements is such that the Benmax team has been working on the project for over a year now with install starting in May this year. The project is due for initial completion around September 2018, with the last 6 months set aside for the very exacting; commissioning acceptance tests, containment integrity tests, and third-party validations. Adequate commissioning time on this project is not negotiable.


"One of our current challenges is the fact that the building has to withstand a “one in 2500 year” earthquake. This not only extends to the building’s structure, but also to all of the mechanical equipment’s internal componentry that has to, not only stay in one piece, but continue to function after a major seismic event. Getting this understood by our suppliers has been an exercise in patience by our team." Peter Clayton, Wellington Manager, Benmax NZ


The wider ‘Bio-Lab’ project team is great to work with and all have an appreciation of the significance of the job that we are involved with, making it a project of collaboration and good communication.

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