GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

New Flagship Facility.


Complex live site. Global pharmaceutical impact. Undisrupted workflow.

In 2016, Merit was awarded the Places Portfolio (PP), a suite of 4 individual projects to provide GSK with a write-up, collaboration, laboratory and GMP cleanroom space.

  • 6,000m² of chemistry labs, write-up space, meeting rooms and offices.
  • 2,500m² construction GMP Grade D Cleanroom Suites with 2 storey extension.
  • Merit redesigned areas to combine write-up and lab spaces to improve collaborative working.
  • We prefabricated racks off site, L sections of roof ductwork and pipework to save time and costs.

The suite of projects included:

  • Chemistry Manufacturing Control (CMC) HVAC
  • Chemistry Manufacturing Control (CMC) Labs
  • Oral Solid Dosage (OSD)
  • Rapid Development Area (RDA)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a British multinational pharmaceutical company, and as of 2015 was the world’s sixth-biggest pharmaceutical company. They focus on three areas of global businesses, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and consumer healthcare.

In 2013, Merit initially advised GSK on the feasibility of the original design to replace 23 AHU’s at Building 5. As a result of our innovative design solutions and consultative approach to working, we were later taken on to develop the scheme design and thereafter detailed design of 23 AHU’s, which we rationalised into six AHU’s with service routings resulting in several key improvements.

Such was the success of the partnership that Merit was then asked to competitively tender to deliver the HVAC upgrade as well as three other projects associated with the Places Portfolio. The programme was made up of four distinct areas of works incorporating design, construction, installation and refurbishment work to the three-storey building.

Chemistry Manufacturing Control (CMC) HVAC

The building 5 HVAC design was fully 3D modelled using BIM at both concept and scheme design which was essential in understanding the complicated space management constraints. This also allowed for off-site fabrication within the construction phase.

A key concern for this project was to minimise disruption to the existing users. This was achieved through the final concept design and the accompanying crane logistics’ concept. The ductwork was positioned in such a way to enable construction using a spider crane – this allowed for fast and safe construction with minimal disruption to site operations. It also minimised the influence and risks of weather conditions during crane operations.

Chemistry Manufacturing Control (CMC) Labs

The project included the design, build and commissioning of a suite of CMC labs to clean, non-classified (CNC).

The CMC labs and the OSD suite ran concurrently and were delivered to a combined programme of 40 weeks. To achieve the programme Merit split the works and managed an ‘on-site team’ and a ‘prefabrication team’. We prefabricated the Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) laterals for both the CMC and OSD. We utilised measured site surveys and BIM Level 2 to design the scheme in detail in advance and from this we could produce detailed prefabrication drawings. Works at the fabrication facility commenced in conjunction with the structural alterations to the building.

Rapid Development Area (RDA)

The RDA project included the development of a new class cleanroom suite designed to Grade D standard. RDA was a flexible suite of cleanrooms to facilitate hook up of transportable equipment for research and development purposes.

Merit undertook the strip-out of existing cleanrooms and M&E services. This element of the works required daily coordination with the client as system isolation and strip out was on a live site with in some cases very limited access.

Mechanical services included chilled water, compressed air, nitrogen gas, dust extraction and vacuum. Electrical works included BMS, LV, energy metering, lighting and utility power.

Oral Solid Dosage (OSD)

The OSD suite provides GSK with a facility for commercialisation of products for inhalers and is a GMP facility with stringent requirements to meet FDA regulations and standards. The project was delivered without any disruption to GSK activities maintaining the integrity and operational certification of the live areas.

The works to the OSD area took place on the ground floor of Building 5 and comprised demolition, strip out and build including installation of internal cleanroom and construction of a small extension to the rear of the building. The cleanroom construction was for use at Grade D (but designed with Grade C capability for future configuration).