The ultimate ‘flexilab’ facility for GSK in Paris
28th October 2010
Morgan Sindall Professional Services has designed the ultimate ‘FlexiLab’ facility - a £40 million biomedical research centre in Les Ulis, Paris, for pharmaceutical specialist GlaxoSmithKline.
The resulting three-storey building, which has just opened, is a laboratory which goes beyond previous Flexilab facilities by offering a fully flexible space. The 8,300 sq m development houses pharmaceutical R&D facilities designed for 101 scientists and researchers working in the areas of diabetes, obesity and dyslipemia.
The pioneering Flexilab concepts came from a joint research project between Morgan Sindall and GlaxoSmithKline specialists. This latest development means that laboratory layouts at Les Ulis can be fully reconfigured in just a few days – dramatically faster when compared with the many months associated with reconfiguring a traditional fixed bench laboratory and quicker than previous Flexilab versions.
“The design team embraced, and even improved the innovations introduced by previous GSK projects of this type. Throughout the project, the team were conscious of cost, both in terms of their own performance delivery and that of the work package contractors which were well managed.”
Ken Newton, GSK Senior Project Manager
- Sidestitial plant rooms allowing services to be fed horizontally into the ceiling distribution zone (and avoiding vertical service risers outside the plant room)
- Use of pre-assembled modules (PAMs) – which are fully integrated within the building’s modular grid - for services distribution
- Flexible laboratory/write-up space based on a 10.8m X 13.5m structural grid
- Six metre floor-to-floor heights allow either high-ceiling laboratories (3.5m) or walk-on-ceiling and a laboratory ceiling at 2.7m.
- Fully mobile laboratory furniture, benches and fume cupboard and local exhaust ventilation
- Overhead services distribution (apart from drainage) means the floorplate is clear of fixed services points that would constrain the layout
- Regular service tap off points allows equipment to be repositioned without amending the services distribution.
Four months was saved off the construction programme through the use of pre-assembled modules (PAMs) for the services distribution. They were delivered fully commissioned from the factory allowing them to be installed before any of the external envelope was up. Off-site factory production also allowed a higher level of construction quality and site safety than the traditional method of site assembly from mobile platforms. Once connected to the primary frame, the only remaining task was the connection of services between PAM frames. The entire PAM installation – including final commissioning – was completed within an eight-week period.
The facility incorporates a wide range of sustainable and energy-efficiency measures including a brise soleil on the south elevation; high efficiency fans; sizing of water pipes to limit pressure losses; high efficiency boilers and chillers and optimised air distribution using variable air volume boxes.
Morgan Sindall Professional Services provided full design and construction management services, including design management, architectural, integrated laboratory planning, mechanical and electrical and civil and structural engineering; process engineering and cost management. The consultancy worked on the scheme from the initial front end study, through concept, scheme, detailed design and construction handover.