The facility provides a mix of medical research, including an NHS standard medical suite with drug trial unit and specialist MRI and Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanning suites, laboratories, office accommodation and large seminar facilities with outside garden terrace.
“In theory, it’s a simple box, but the building had to be future proof.” says construction manager Justin Price. “We've installed demountable curtain walling to the scanner areas which allows the University to move large equipment in and out as their research grows, without affecting the building fabric. We also absorbed several client changes without changing the handover date.”
The team used waterproof plasterboard in the risers. “By using waterproof plasterboard, we were able to get our M&E subcontractors in before the whole building was water tight. That’s a three to four week save on the programme. Waterproof plasterboard costs a bit more but the overall saving is worth it.”
As well as housing a 7 Tesla MRI scanner, two other MRI scanners and a MEG scanner, the building will home include a 3 Tesla Microstructure scanner which will use 24 megawatts of power, as much as a fast attack submarine. “We had to move the low voltage power cables to the other side of the site as the electric magnetic field would affect the scanners,” says Justin.
Communicating with a team across the Atlantic was also a challenge. “The MEG scanner was designed by a Canadian company,” he says. “We had extensive talks with those scientists to understand the requirements for the scanner to work effectively here.”