Engineering Services for Buildings

Critical room conditions require an engineering solution…

Continuing our work in Cambridge and relationship with main contractor SDC, we have secured a project at Astex’s drug discovery research headquarters on the Cambridge Science Park.

Astex is a leader in innovative drug discovery and development, committed to the fight against cancer and disease of the central nervous system (CNS). To aid their further development they have commissioned a two storey building at the facility which is dedicated to housing three Cryo electron microscopes (EM) and associated ancillary rooms. to enable. The Cryo EM’s are state-of-the-art fully automated electron microscopes designed for rapid, stable, high-resolution data collection on frozen-hydrated samples.

Due to the sensitivity of the mechanisms within the microscopes, the design of the building and the associated M&E services are controlled by stringent noise, vibration, temperature, pressure and humidity criteria set out within the pre-installation manuals for the EM’s. The new building sits on 600m3 of concrete to help eliminate vibration from the surrounding area including the nearby A14 trunk road.

The complete first floor of the new building houses dedicated chillers and ventilation plant to serve the new areas and will require detailed spatial planning within the plantroom area to maintain access during installation and servicing once the building is operational. Some of the mechanical and electrical services distribute from the existing site including water, LTHW, power, fire alarm, data and security services.

Each of EM spaces will have dedicated passive electromagnetic screening, specialist laboratory gases and associated alarms/monitoring, essential UPS backed PDU/bypass distribution, local power stop buttons and intelligent lighting controls. The scheme will also involve a stringent testing, interfacing and commissioning process to ensure the critical room conditions are maintained, thereby allowing the effective performance of the new electron microscopes.