Design and build of new mRNA vaccines manufacturing facility.


Enabling mRNA vaccine manufacturing in just 32 weeks.

  • Design and build.
  • Mechanical and electrical.
  • Prefabrication and modularisation.
  • Installation of process systems.
  • Fast track project delivered in 32 weeks bringing critical vaccine manufacturing on line quicker than next quickest offer of 14 months.
  • UltraPOD solution delivers offsite manufacturing in rapid timescales unimagined by traditional design and build.
  • Design workshops delivered in collaborative Teams environment.
  • Zero carbon emission facility.

When CPI was awarded £5m investment to develop an mRNA ‘vaccine library’ by the Government, CPI required a fast track solution to bring a building and manufacturing capabilities online quicker.

Our design included for:

Merit was awarded the contract following competitive tender, offering a solution of 32 weeks from process layout approval.

The vaccine library will form the basis of a rapid response facility, which will enable mRNA vaccines to be developed to help protect against new variants of COVID-19, as and when they emerge.

Using Merit’s UltlraPOD® fully offsite manufactured POD building design solution enabled fast track delivery of this health critical project.

The new mRNA facility has the same quality and feel as a traditional build, configured in a shape that facilitates off site manufacturing. This approach enabled the new facility to be delivered in 32 weeks. The quality requirements deliver a 50 year lifespan solution.

Of critical importance to the schedule was the agreement of the 1:200 internal and external architectural layout. The 1:200 layouts drive, programme, cost, build ability and regulatory compliance aspects of the project, and it was therefore essential to get these approved quickly.

Merit integrated into the BIM model the process equipment information given by CPI in order to develop the building layout in accordance with CPI requirements.

Layouts considered material, personnel, product, waste and consumables flows and optimise these in such a way that meets UK building and GMP requirements.

The HVAC design, GMP zonal classification and pressure cascades were noted on the 1:200 layouts and were confirmed during design workshops.

Once the 1: 200 layouts were finalised, this enabled the scope to be fixed and the project to commence. Running as a parallel activity was a workshop with the MHRA to review the designs and ensure future regulatory compliance can be achieved. Merit have QP capacity to support CPI in these meetings.

A significant part of the new GMP modular building was manufactured offsite in our offsite factories in Cramlington, Northumberland.

The main accommodation of the building was split into 12 modules, each 12.5 x 4.8m x 4m high to facilitate road transport and designed and manufactured entirely offsite.

In addition there were 2 modules, one for each floor, providing plant room facilities including the air handling units, compressed air system and water distribution systems. These were also manufactured entirely offsite at Merit and are 12.5m x 4.2m x 4m high.

The end 4.8m grid line of the building which includes the stairwell and lift shaft was built on site as that work does not lend itself to offsite manufacturing. The groundworks and foundation works were similarly delivered on site, in parallel with the module manufacture, ahead of their delivery.

The facility was designed in collaboration with the client team to deliver the functionality required for the modular building whilst considering future phases and works as part of the site master planning exercise.