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Johannesburg 8 April 2015. New R13-million facilities were recently completed by consultants Royal HaskoningDHV for Mintek in Johannesburg, which will allow for the manufacturing of diagnostic devices that are capable of rapidly diagnosing illnesses such as malaria in its early stages. On the back of major milestones in malaria control for almost 80 years now, South Africa has a goal of zero local transmission by the year 2018. This malaria elimination campaign is championed globally by the World Health Organisation and spearheaded locally by the National Department of Health. One of the many key priorities for breaking the life-threatening transmission cycle is monitoring for antimalarial drug resistance. Early diagnosis and subsequent treatment is a crucial life saver for those afflicted and is a major step forward in disease control for the country.
The two facilities are an ISO 3 Cleanroom and an ISO 5 Cleanroom with a BSL 3 Laboratory for Rapid Diagnostic Device Manufacturing and Testing. A BSL 3 Laboratory is classified as a laboratory that handles agents which can be transmitted by the airborne route, often have a low infectious dose to produce effects and can cause serious or life-threatening disease. The BSL3 Laboratory is the second highest type of containment facility, the highest type of containment facility is a BSL4 Laboratory.
The ISO classification of a cleanroom indicates the level of air cleanliness inside the cleanroom, taking into account the size and quantity of various particles found in the cleanroom. An ISO 9 cleanroom is the lowest designated cleanroom classification. An ISO 1 cleanroom would be the highest (cleanest) designation for a cleanroom. The ISO 5 cleanroom is 10 000 times cleaner than an ISO 9 Cleanroom. An ISO 3 cleanroom is 100 times cleaner than an ISO 5 cleanroom.
Walter van der Linde, project manager and mechanical engineer in Royal HaskoningDHV’s specialised Cleanrooms division explained that there are very few design specialists in the country capable of meeting the exacting specifications required for BSL 3 graded laboratories and ISO 3 cleanrooms in South Africa – Royal HaskoningDHV being one of them. “Above all else the specifications meet the requirements for a facility that will give critically ill patients a fighting chance of life.”
“The contract involved the design and site supervision of an ISO 3 Cleanroom, a BSL 3 Laboratory and manufacturing lab for rapid diagnostic devices including all mechanical, electrical, lab layout and structural services.
“Royal HaskoningDHV managed all of the independently contracted services within the limited plant room and ceiling void space to ensure an installation that effectively
conforms to international cleanroom specifications. The electrical services included the lighting, electrical reticulation to support the mechanical equipment, the switched socket outlets and power supply to the general lab equipment. Various services are supported by UPS and generator power.” he explained.
The mechanical services included the Environmental Control System, the UDAFs (Uni-directional Airflow), Autoclave, the effluent system, the fumigation pass-through hatch, wet and gas services and the bio-safety cabinets.
“The cleanrooms team was also responsible for the lab layout and specifying the partitioning type and the shell of the clean rooms and bio safety laboratory. Input from our structural engineers was required to design the platforms which supported the Air Handling Unit (AHU), Safe Change Filter Housing and the Exhaust Fans” he added.
“Energy efficiency and sustainability were uppermost in our designer’s mind and features incorporated in the Mintek design include:
• Chillers with a high coefficient of performance.
• The smallest required amount of fresh air is introduced to the AHUs in order to pressurise the laboratories while meeting the National Building Regulations. This ensures that only the correct amount of air is being cooled down and therefore no energy is wasted to cool down excessive amounts of air.
• The laboratories are sealed to ensure that there are no unintentional conditioned air leaks. This will mitigate the risk of wasting energy to cool down the outside air before it enters the building. Furthermore the BSL3 remains under negative pressure to mitigate the risk of contaminants escaping from the laboratory.
• Insulated Chromadek panelling serves as the partitioning and walls of the laboratories. The installation of these panels aim to contain the heat loads generated in each room and it insulates the laboratory from the solar load which leads to less cooling required and therefore the chiller will use less electricity.
“The specialised nature of Cleanroom design means that within an existing facility, there are bound to be challenges to overcome and the Mintek installation was no different in this regard” said van der Linde. “The available plant space was limited to start with and this was a challenging issue which we resolved with the help of our structural engineers who designed the two platforms.”
The ISO 5 Cleanroom and BSL3 Laboratory are situated in an existing building and there is limited space available due to these physical constraints.
Therefore we had to create space for all the plant equipment. By utilising the existing building structures and the gaps between the different buildings, platforms were built to place the extraction fans, safe change housings and the air handling unit in the optimal position to serve the laboratories.
One platform accommodated the Air Handling Unit serving the BSL3 Laboratory and the ISO 5 Cleanroom. The other platform accommodated the extraction fans and safe change housings serving the BSL3 Laboratory
Royal HaskoningDHV has also contributed to fighting drug-resistant strains of Tuberculosis using its Clean Room expertise for the flagship laboratory of the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory. In this YouTube Video Dr AW Dreyer, Pathologist says: “The reason we chose Royal HaskoningDHV is that they are one of the only companies that, firstly, can interpret the WBHO recommendations specifically for facility design for culture in laboratories and also implementation.”