H Block Kelvin Grove Campus, 30 Victoria Park Rd, Kelvin Grove
Fixed Lump Sum
QUT Facilities Management
Hi-tech transformation inspires QUT’s science cohort
The transformation of H Block Laboratory, a 1960’s building at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), provides a state-of-the-art preparatory and teaching laboratory for the university’s science and research faculty. Not to mention, for this project our Brisbane construction team won the 2020 Master Builders QLD award for Education Facilities up to $10 million category.
Located at the Kelvin Grove campus, the Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2) Laboratory is one of the university’s premier teaching labs and caters for up to 120 students at one time.
The highly sealed environment is fully equipped to support the university’s undergraduate teaching activities for the Faculty of Health involving bacteria, microbial cultures, and pathogenic samples.
The New Health Undergraduate PC2 Teaching Lab (Kelvin Grove) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
Cutting-edge in design and function
Conceptualised by RAL Architects, and built by our construction team, the 60-year-old building underwent extensive demolition, expansion, and hi-tech transformation, to support the university’s vision of a premier teaching lab.
The resulting design features an abstract perforated 3D façade and is defined by a science-inspired entry. Representing the silhouette of a conical flask, the building’s entrance is an architectural gesture to the lab’s cutting-edge facilities and research capabilities.
Inside, a 30-metre acoustic attenuated glass wall separates the space into two classrooms as required. The 1,200sqm PC2 laboratory is fitted with approximately $4 million worth of equipment and includes incubators, warm and cold rooms, medical gases, and microscopic equipment.
A double-layer ceiling achieves negative air pressure
The requirements for certification of a PC2 lab included the building’s capacity to achieve negative air pressure. In order to meet this standard, the airtight building was constructed with a double layer ceiling.
“After the final ceiling layer was installed, sealed, set, and painted, we tested the air tightness and beat the minimum measurement requirement by some 30%,” explains project manager, Enda O’Reilly.
This achievement ensures the sensitive nature of research and practical teaching in the lab can occur at the highest standard.
Our team reached practical completion of the lab within a tight four-month timeframe, which ensured classes could run as scheduled. As Director and State Manager Steven Kourevelis explains, “the project’s successful delivery was made possible with a flexible programme and committed subcontractors.”
“As classes were pre-booked six months in advance, changes to the completion date were not possible. The project started with a six-day workweek, which increased to seven days in the final weeks to meet the tight and unmovable deadline,” adds Steven.
Adding to the time pressures of the project, limited records of the building’s previous construction meant that flexibility and changes to design scope were quickly incorporated into the final detailing.
When the demolition process started, we uncovered multiple structural issues and changes to planned design was unfortunately required throughout the build. Through close collaboration with RAL, the engineer, and QUT, we were able to deliver on the original design intent without hindering the deadline.
Best in science and research
Our team also delivered external landscaping works, creating a vibrant and welcoming contrast to the natural stone walkways and steel-clad building. A new carpark was constructed, complete with wash facilities and electronic car chargers for the environmentally conscious.
The monumental refurbishment of QUT’s H Block Laboratory has stamped its position as one of the university’s premier teaching labs. Fitted with cutting-edge equipment and facilities, the PC2 lab will continue to provide teachers and students with the best in science and research.