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Covid-19 Surge Laboratory

Portview completed work on a state-of-the-art Surge Capacity Laboratory in the Halo Building (part of MedCity) in Central London, in response to the government’s call for additional covid-19 testing facilities.

Location The Halo Building, King's Cross London

Sector Life Sciences

Located in King’s Cross, the 500m2 testing facility is utilised by pathology provider, Health Services London (HSL), in partnership with University College London (UCL) to process 10,000 covid tests a day.

Given the nature of the project, the turnaround was fast, with the existing space transformed in under three months.

Portview worked tirelessly by operating a 24/7 site and doubling factory shifts to produce the joinery – such as laboratory benching and sink units – ahead of schedule.

Despite the knock-on effect of the pandemic on the global supply chain, Portview was able to source and coordinate the delivery of materials from outside the United Kingdom safely, on time, and in the quantities needed without complication.

The newly refurbished laboratory offers a variety of contemporary and flexible clinical spaces filled with natural light, tall ceilings and long- distance views overlooking MedCity.

While it’s a busy test centre, it is also a place where people need to work, and the details emphasis this sense of flexible workspace and flow. There are no obstructions at eye-level on the windows, so that workers can see the views beneath them.

Each floor of the building had to be coherent and fuse together. The space aims for a minimalist look with a colour palette inspired by the centre’s brand identity of blues, white and neutral. The same shade of grey and “clinical” white is used throughout the space. The lighting echoes this – creating a “cool white.

The space needed to be technically sound and beautiful. The lab benches are made of Trespa, an antimicrobial laminate panel material reinforced with wood fibre and all the joinery is bespoke.

The lab sinks are made from epoxy resin, which was tested for staining. The wash hand basins are also made from the same material.

One of the key pieces of equipment at the lab are the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR diagnostic analysers) diagnostic analysers, which run tests on the swabs. These have to be contained in a safe environment so that contamination does not occur.

This area was of the project’s biggest challenges and required a number of tests throughout the build, finding a balance between the pressurisation needed and the existing space. The rooms are sealed and contain 22 safety cabinets, there are also four automated sample lifts which transfer the couriered samples to the laboratory level.

Despite covid-19 restrictions, the Portview team maintained an open site by introducing stringent covid-compliant site safety measures to deliver a high level of service whilst protecting the health and safety of its people, contractors, and HSL employees.