Department of Chemistry, Cambridge

Client: University of Cambridge – Estates Management and Building Service

DB&P's Services: Building Services Consultant Engineers

Department Of Chemistry

Description of Works: The Department of Chemistry located on Lensfield Road, Cambridge was opened in the late 1950s with a total number of academic staff, research fellows, PhD students and support staff in the order of 250. By the mid-1990s this number had significantly increased to almost 600; subsequently strategic plans were developed to refurbish and expand the buildings with the prime motive of "providing the best possible environment for all research activities focusing on Chemistry". Since 1997 the Department has been awarded over £55 million from industry and various public sector initiatives for modernising and extending its research laboratories; a never ending process which evolves simultaneously with the changing needs of scientific research.

In many respects the most recent phase of this modernisation programme is identical to a new build laboratory project, with today's scientists requiring ever closer controlled environments whilst operating within the boundaries of increasingly stringent regulations. Relative to a new build project, these additional requirements can be readily accommodated within the normal design process. However, with respect to a refurbishment project the additional spatial requirements of equipment and plant must be accommodated within the confines of an existing, congested and pre-determined area.

Indeed this was the main challenge facing the Design Team, with due consideration given to the following "typical" factors, each of which was resolved at the detailed design stage:-

• Increased levels of research equipment – higher power consumption / higher internal heat gains

• Finite tolerances in respect of room temperatures, humidity levels, room pressure regimes, air flow patterns and leaving velocities (particularly relevant when locating fume cupboards / safety cabinets)

• Additional / dedicated mechanical ventilation systems – the location of supply air handling units, fume cupboard extract fans, routing of associated ductwork, etc

• Increased plant capacity - to be contained in confined Plant Rooms where existing equipment takes prime location

• Additional statutory regulations – i.e: CAT 5 protection of the laboratory water supplies to prevent cross contamination with wholesome and potable water services.

• Adjacent laboratories to remain operational; such additional problems imposed include:-

o careful phasing / programming of the works

o phased interruption of the existing M&E services (to negate interruption of supplies to adjacent areas)

o the routing of primary services through existing / occupied areas

o the location of additional / larger capacity plant

dept of chemistry

Extent of Mechanical Services:

• Laboratory supply / extract ventilation systems – including VAV and constant volume control, LEV and fume cupboards

• LPHW heating / CH WTR cooling facilities

• Laboratory "CAT 5" H&C water services

• Laboratory gases

• Automatic Control Systems

Extent of Electrical Services:

• General lighting and emergency lighting

• Electrical small power and power distribution

• Safety control systems

• Data systems

• Door entry, CCTV and security systems