Stages of the new biocontainment laboratory

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

Construction phases

Site preparation: October 2014 to 2015

Construction: 2015 to 2019

Lab fit-out: 2018 to 2020

Commissioning: 2018 to 2020

Certifying: 2020

Transition to the new lab: 2020

Progress so far

2015: Site preparation and groundworks started.

2016: Extensive reinforced steel foundations were assembled and embedded in concrete, base isolators were installed, and the ground floor slab poured. The first sections of the structural steel framework were put up.

2017: Structural steel framework and floor surface was completed. External panels, glazing and roof installation made the building mostly weathertight.

2018: Fit-out of essential plant and services (ductwork and supply pipes), interior wall framing, and wall and ceiling panels is underway.

2020: Room finishing completed (including trunking installation), penetration coordination and point-to-point testing for the building management system (BMS).

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. 

Find out more

December 2018 lab newsletter [PDF, 502 KB]

April 2018 lab newsletter [PDF, 948 KB]

December 2017 lab newsletter [PDF, 469 KB]

April 2017 lab newsletter [PDF, 1.6 MB]

October 2016 lab newsletter [PDF, 835 KB]

May 2016 lab newsletter [PDF, 1.5 MB]

November 2015 lab newsletter [PDF, 808 KB]

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Who to contact

If you have questions about the National Biocontainment Laboratory, email

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