NZ MPI National Biocontainment Laboratory

NZ MPI National Biocontainment Laboratory

Project Overview

Sector: Government, Health & Research
Location: New Zealand – North Island
Status: In Progress

Project Features

  • PC2 and PC3+ rated laboratories
  • 3,400 sqm laboratory space
  • Negative pressure and multiple stage, high efficiency air filtration systems
  • Decontamination facilities
  • Flexible design to support greater use of the building during biosecurity emergencies
  • Earthquake protection capable of withstanding a 'one in 2,500 year' earthquake

Project Details

The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) is constructing the new National Biocontainment Laboratory at the National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Disease in Wallaceville, Wellington. The $87 million project will replace the existing high-containment lab that is out dated and cannot accommodate some modern laboratory testing methods.

Benmax secured the mechanical services contract for the project from Fletcher Constructions and it is expected that the team will be on site until early 2020. The new facility will meet international best practice for handling pathogens and will utilise the most sophisticated systems and safety features available anywhere in the world. The flexible and adaptable design will also support new technologies to be introduced as they become available into the future.

The laboratory project formally commenced in 2015 when site preparations and groundworks at the Wallaceville location started. Since that time the Benmax team has been on site completing the structural build and fit out of essential plant and services. Currently, the team are working in partnership with NBCL staff to conduct rigorous testing processes as part of the commissioning phase for the building.

Commissioning is critical to ensure the building works as it should and that all systems work together properly. During this phase the team will be extensively testing the lab’s systems when they’re operating normally; their performance during simulated failures (for example, during a power failure); pressure testing all laboratory rooms to find any leaks; and assessing decontamination equipment to confirm it is working properly. Once this stage of work is completed, the lab will work through the approval process to be certified as a high-containment facility.


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