Benmax is pleased to have delivered the mechanical services for the new National Biocontainment Laboratory located in Wallaceville, Wellington. The highly technical and complex facility is a landmark project for New Zealand and houses the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Diseases. Construction of the world class facility required a specialist team involving international consultants and expert trades and Benmax was proud to be part of the hand selected team put together by Fletcher Construction for the project.
The 3,400 sqm space was five years in construction and meets Importance Level 4 (IL4) Building standard with capacity to withstand a one in 2,500-year earthquake. It contains PC2 and enhanced PC3 rated laboratories, the highest approved containment level in New Zealand, and meets international best practice for handling pathogens. The facility utilises the most sophisticated containment systems and safety features available anywhere in the world and the flexible and adaptable design will also support new technologies to be introduced as they become available into the future.
The Benmax team were on site for much of the five-year construction period contributing to the design of the facility and completing the structural build and fit-out of essential plant and services.
The team spent much of 2020 working in partnership with staff from MPI and the Biocontainment Laboratory to conduct the demanding testing processes required for the complex commissioning phase for the building. Commissioning was critical in ensuring the facility performed as it should and that all systems worked together effectively. From operating under normal and expected conditions, to the performance of systems during simulated failures (for example, during a power failure), the Benmax team completed rigorous testing of all laboratory rooms to ensure it would achieve certification as an international standard high-containment facility.
The hard work of the project team was rewarded in April 2021 with the facility receiving formal certification as a PC3 standard laboratory.
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