Increasing manufacturing capabilities to provide higher quality and effective rapid tests!
In 2021, Merit was awarded the project to deliver wet and dry lab facilities to Abingdon Health in York for the production of lateral flow testing equipment for COVID-19.
- Constructed using 29 Pre-Assembled Modules (PAMs).
- Infection control embedded solution.
- 90% of project completed offsite at Merit’s 270,000ft2 factory.
The project was delivered by Merit’s specialist healthcare division, Merit Health, and was the first phase of significant expansion plans for Abingdon Health, a leader in the field of diagnostics.
The new facility supports Abingdon Health’s ongoing development of high quality, effective rapid tests whilst increasing their manufacturing capabilities. The facility comprised highly technical spaces including wet laboratories that required close temperature control and dry room areas to a specification of 10% +/-5 relative humidity or less.
The build followed Merit’s offsite fit-out concept and included upgraded infection control and zero carbon emission design. The build was constructed of 29 Pre-Assembled Modules (PAMs), manufactured at Merit’s 270,000ft2 factory in Northumberland and then transported to York for rapid assembly and installation by our site specialist installation team. Over 75% of the project was constructed offsite reducing construction time and costs associated with site labour.
The facility is cooled via a dedicated single chiller unit from Daikin. The decking unit is fitted with a heat recovery system to also supply hot water to both the air handling unit and the Fisair dehumidifier unit. A dedicated Honeywell BMS controls the parameters of the dry lab and wet lab.
The dry room specification was achieved utilising a Fisair D flex unit. A continuous galvanised ductwork system was provided between the supply side of the Fisair unit and the ceiling of the dry room. Within the dry room air socks were utilised for an even distribution to the supply air. Return ductwork is of similar manufacture connecting to the return side of the Fisair unit. We used Kingspan cleanroom partition systems utilised extensively in pharmaceutical cleanrooms, which provided a clean, smooth and easily cleanable surface.
The wet labs were designed and delivered for the temperature control of 20°C +/-2°C 50% RH. This was achieved via a Daikin full fresh air unit with fan wall configuration and N+1 redundant fans. Both the air handling unit and the dry room dehumidifier are mounted externally and air socks are utilised for internal air distribution. Galvanised steel ductwork connects the return from the ceiling of the wet labs to the extract air handling unit and is exhausted to the atmosphere. Within the air handling units there were 67% effective heat recovery run around coils for energy conservation.
Merit utilised 80mm partition system from our supplier Stancold in order to construct the walls of the wet and dry lab as well as the panel ceiling of the dry lab. The dry lab vinyl flooring system that has been installed has antistatic dissipating properties installed below it.
Merit supplied an appropriately rated mezzanine structure to extend from the existing mezzanine above the existing labs, in order to facilitate the required layout. A goods lift and a steel staircase for personnel access were installed between the ground floor and the mezzanine areas.
The project was delivered using Merit’s embedded ‘Zero Carbon Emission 2020’ strategy, which includes elimination of direct carbon emissions from our buildings. This approach also minimises construction carbon through the maximised use (75% to 90%) of offsite Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV).