Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick, MD

The $105 million National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Integrated Research Facility (IRF) at Fort Detrick in Maryland was created to carry out biodefense research needed to understand microbial-induced disease for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).The facility features BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 biological containment laboratories, with unique aerobiology and BSL-4 imaging. The IRF will provides 11,125 square feet of secure research space for 30 investigators. This is the first BSL-4 facility designed to contain MRI imaging technologies within a containment space, and was the fifth operational BSL-4 laboratory suite in the United States.  

In collaboration with the NIAID and the U.S. Army, CRC’s professionals provided consulting services on the design, construction and commissioning and certification of the IRF. Located on the National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick, the design of the facility had to comply with the U.S. Army standards and regulations. The project was part of the U.S. Army Garrison Commander’s focal point for providing sustainable operations support and environmental stewardship to facility the sustainment of vital public health interests. Biodefense research commenced at the facility in 2013. IRF contains BSL-2, BSL-3, ABSL-3, and BSL-4, Vivarium, and Imaging Suite that researches Plague, Rabies, Tick-Borne Encephalitis, West Nile virus disease, Influenza, Anthrax, Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever, HIV, Tuberculosis, and Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, and Q fever. This is the first BSL-4 laboratory designed to contain imaging equipment within a containment suite. Research is conducted on nonhuman primates, mice, and ferrets.

CRC’s professionals served as the biocontainment subject matter expert representative for the NIH, Division of Occupational Health and Safety during the design and construction of the facility. CRC was tasked to provide peer review and expert consultation on the detailed design (15%, 35%, 65% and 95% architectural and engineering drawings and specifications) to meet all biocontainment regulations. Through periodic site construction assessments, CRC’s professionals evaluated the BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories ability to be validated. CRC attended progress meetings and served as an Owner’s Advocate on behalf of the NIH. CRC consulted on verifying the effluent decontamination system (EDS). While commissioning testing was conducted, CRC’ professionals witnessed the testing to verify if the results would meet biocontainment regulations and standards. A precertification test was conducted by CRC to ensure that the HVAC failure scenarios ran per the design. In conjunction with the NIH, Division of Occupational Health and Safety, WBHT’s professionals coordinated and conducted the annual certification. CRC performs HVAC verification for the BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories annually. Pressure decay testing is also conducted quarterly for specific quadrants. The IRF Operations and Maintenance Personnel have received  training by CRC’s professionals that address BSL-4 design, certification and preventative maintenance

Integrated Research Facility at Rocky Mountain Laboratory

In support of the nation’s biodefense plan, the NIAID, IRF at Rocky Mountain Laboratory provides 105,000 gross square feet of laboratory space. The laboratory that supports approximately 100 researchers includes BSL-4 laboratories, BSL-3 laboratories, ABSL-3 animal suite, animal holding rooms and steam jacketed cook tanks for effluent waste handling. The $80 million dollar project supports the conduct of emerging infectious disease and biodefense research to develop vaccines, countermeasures and improve medical outcomes for patients.

CRC provided consulting services on the design, commissioning and certification of the IRF’s ABSL-3, BSL-4 and BSL-4 laboratories. CRC’s professional engineers and biosafety subject matter experts reviewed design documents at planned intervals and issued comments to the A/E firm through coordination with the Office for Research Facilities (ORF) to ensure that the laboratory was constructed to meet all applicable guidelines, regulations and standards. During the plan review, our Team’s engineering personnel assessed the building hardening and biosurety initiatives and provided recommendations to strengthen the security of accesses to building systems and security of entering and exiting of laboratories that contain agents with bioterrorism potential.  We also served as an Owner’s Advocate for the project a cost saving and risk management proponent to ensure that the occupational safety and health policies and procedures were achieved for this construction project.

Upon completion of the project, CRC performed the facility’s first third-party certification of the ABSL-3, BSL-4 and BSL-4 laboratories. We subsequently validate the high and maximum containment laboratories’ engineering systems in preparation for the CDC/USDA Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) inspection annually. CRC’s professionals provide continuous consultation on biocontainment issues and perform risk assessments as needed.