The Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS), a division of the Virginia Department of General Services, was formed in the early 1970’s combining laboratories from several Virginia organizations. DCLS serves a wide variety of agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia including local government, state and federal law enforcement, emergency response, health, and environmental protection programs to help ensure the safety and health for Virginia’s citizens and environment.
The DCLS Biotech 6 Facility in Richmond supports a number of research focuses including an expansive BSL3 laboratory suite and a BSL4 glovebox facility. The BSL3 suite is approximately 12,000 GSF and is maintained in Richmond by the Commonwealth to handle any emergency needs in Virginia, as well as an overflow capacity outlet for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia in the event of a national epidemic. As part of an on-going term contract, RMF provided engineering design and master planning services for the complete re-design, renovation and upgrade of the BSL3 suite to meet and exceed the latest performance standards set forth by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others. Our work was initiated in reaction to noticeable air infiltration into the BSL3 suite from outdoors (driven by the spaces’ high negative pressures).
The solutions employed to correct the situation included a complete reconstruction of the exterior wall system, total upgrade of air system controls, and bolstering of the interior partitions that separate the BSL3 suite from the balance of the building program. All of this was accomplished in an occupied facility where even the BSL3 program remained in operation in an onsite, RMF-designed ‘mini BSL3’ swing space during re-construction. The swing space was retained at the close of the renovation project for use as a BSL3 Training Facility for researchers both internal and external to DCLS.
- Complete dedicated, N+1 air handling and exhaust system replacement
- New HEPA custom filtration for BSL3 exhaust that allows filter change-outs to occur with no impact to the BSL3 suite operations
- Extensive exterior wall system upgrade including negative pressure side moisture barrier and re-flashing and sealing of existing glazing system
- Revisions of hazardous (BSL3) exhaust routing for compliance with IMC/VMC 2009
- Complete commissioning of HVAC, normal and stand-by power, containment and security systems and sequences