Stages of the new lab

Building the new high-level biocontainment laboratory began in October 2015. The new lab will open in 2019, after thorough testing and certification.


Construction timeline

construction timeline of the National Biocontainment Laboratory

Progress on the lab construction

Construction of the National Biocontainment Laboratory in Wallaceville is progressing with the extensive foundations, including the installation of base isolators, completed in 2016. Contractors have begun installing the structural steel, which forms the rigid frame of the building. It is expected that the new lab will be weathertight in late 2017, ready for fit-out to begin.

When completed and operational (in the beginning of 2019) the new lab will meet international best practice for handling pathogens and will have some of the most sophisticated systems and safety features in the world.

Before we move in

We'll be running rigorous tests during and after construction of the National Biocontainment Laboratory, as part of commissioning the building. We've employed international experts to oversee this work and provide reports for certification. Commissioning is critical to ensure the building works as it should and that all systems work together properly.

We'll be testing extensively including:

  • the lab's systems when they're operating normally
  • simulated failures (for example, during a power failure)
  • pressure tests of all laboratory rooms to find any leaks
  • decontamination equipment to confirm it's working properly.

We'll do all of this before we move any organism into the lab.

Getting certification

After commissioning, the lab must be approved and certified as a high-containment facility before we can begin working in it. The whole laboratory and our operating procedures are subject to review by international experts. MPI will have to demonstrate that we can meet rigorous containment and safety standards before we can start using it. 

Who to contact

If you have questions about the National Biocontainment Laboratory, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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