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This high-profile institutional client needed a BSL level III space to accommodate a newly grant-funded research project. Beyond the typical issues of schedule and cost, compliance issues as well as environmental health and safety concerns were paramount given the urban setting and potential public perception of this type of research space in a densely populated area.


  • BSLIII compliant ventilation design. Design was based on 21 ACH with a pressure differential of 0.12 from common space to level 3 area per ASHRAE lab design standards.
  • Equipment selection based on a high level of containment. Inlets and outlet streams were filtered from the building/space envelope, ducts were welded spool pieces with gasketed, flanged connections, and dampers were bubble-tight design.
  • Lab piping design for new lab sinks and hoods including process CO2, and O2. Lab gases were designed with high purity SS piping and high purity diaphragm valves and components.
  • High purity gas service design for incubator and -80 freezer applications.
  • Exhaust design for new Fischer Scientific fume hoods and associated biocontainment safety cabinets. Filtered exhaust compliant with requirements for BSLIII environment.
  • Capacity study of existing AHU supply and survey of existing equipment showed that the new design could incorporate existing components with new coils and HVAC distribution
  • Detailed layout of ductwork, process piping, lighting
    and power.


  • Used ASHRAE and NIH standards in conjunction with local, state and federal codes to govern the design of the facility and eliminate the possibility of infiltration from an environment that contains “agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease” to the common areas.
  • HVAC and exhaust systems were sized and selected to support pressurization and climate control concerns. The BSL III lab environment was contained and operated continuously with no exposure to the surrounding areas through a cascade pressure design.
  • Coordination of MEP services with architectural concerns and modifications to minimize construction and service impacts for the client.
  • Efficient reuse of specific elements of existing HVAC system to reduce cost.