Eleven ICE London and South East Fellows had a look behind the scenes at the Francis Crick Institute last week (Thursday 8th October).
Neil Smith, Laing O'Rourke's project leader for the scheme, which will deliver one of the most advanced bio-medical research buildings in the UK, spoke to the group about the complex construction process and led a site tour so the Fellows could see the results of the innovative approach for themselves.
During the tour, the group, which included a major projects director from Arcadis and a programme delivery engineer for London Underground, gained an insight into the challenging nature of the project. The building features a huge amount of bespoke laboratory equipment, 4,600 MEP modules fitted to plant room areas that make up 42% of the total floor space and a series of containment zones that demand precise levels of vibration resistance and air quality specifications.
Collaboration and the sharing of ideas are key concepts informing the building's design and the Fellows were able to see some of the inventive ideas that will help to foster this approach among the Crick's scientists. These include open plan office and laboratory spaces, plus dedicated collaboration zones with whiteboard walls to encourage them to note down ideas and involve colleagues in suggesting solutions at challenging stages of their research.
Lawrie Quinn, ICE London and South East Fellows champion, said: "We're grateful to the Crick team for taking time out at a crucial stage of the project to show our group around the Institute. It was fascinating to see the advanced techniques used and the quality of the architectural finishes within the building. The Crick is one of the most complex and stunning projects that we've visited."
Once complete, the building will house 1,200 scientists and 300 support staff, including a mix of PhD students, established scientists and five Nobel Prize winners. They will research and develop new treatments for diseases including cancer, heart disease and influenza. Internal fit-out of the building will finish at the end of this year and the Institute will be fully commissioned by spring 2016.
Find out more information about the Francis Crick Institute.