Against the backdrop of the project’s technically complex brief and operationally challenging build requirements, there was also a need to incorporate AstraZeneca’s environmental goals. This was integral to all elements of the design and construction, including architectural, HVAC, energy saving and electrical.
The key sustainability benefits from the architectural design centre around the re-use of existing built assets for phases 2 and 3 of the project. The fabric of an existing building was improved to reduce heat loss and weather resistance, and the Grade D GPC facility was constructed within the existing building envelope with additional steelwork to allow a mezzanine plant deck in preference to constructing an external plant room.
Meanwhile, the airtightness of the High Bay Warehouse constructed in phase 1 reduces the heat loss and gain of this building. The use of a hypoxic fire system avoids the need for a sprinkler system and the associated additional building height, water storage and plant.
Off-site fabrication of service modules for the HVAC system provided wide-ranging SHEQ benefits, which aided the environmental profile of the project along with programming and site safety. This included reduced waste and reduced deliveries. The cleanroom areas were designed to a strict sustainability matrix with a focus on minimising air change rates and adjusting them in line with operational requirements on a zone-by-zone basis in real time. The BMS ensures that air change rates remain compliant for each Grade D packing cell, while maintaining pressurisation at all times to maintain cleanliness. At night, the air change rate is reduced for all cells while the building is unoccupied.
While it is not possible to re-use the air extract from the GPC, a run-around coil has been incorporated into the HVAC system to enable pre-heating of the fresh air in-take, reducing the heating/cooling load required by the system. A heat recovery cassette system has also been included in the project for the office areas.
Multiple high efficiency fans have been used in preference to a central centrifugal fan to increase the flexibility and efficiency of the HVAC system, allowing it to operate at varying volumes depending on the capacity required. Similarly, the water system has been designed with variable speed pumps that can be operated using less power when lower volumes are needed. As the Macclesfield site is operated using energy from a central CHP, all reduction in demand from the new facilities makes a positive contribution to the overall energy capacity and efficiency of the entire campus.
Technically Advanced, People Focused
The project also focused on the human elements of the facilities, both during the design and construction process and as a workplace following commissioning and validation.
Collaboration was central to the project design and delivery, with complete transparency and visibility between all delivery partners. Budget information was shared from the outset and options were quickly budgeted to allow informed decisions early in the design process. Any savings on the final account were then shared as part of a gain-share element of the contract. All team members were encouraged to see the success of the project from the ultimate customer’s point of view – meaning the patient’s perspective, rather than just to satisfy the project manager signing the final account.
The finished GPC has been designed to ensure the cleanroom environments provide opportunities for human interaction within the GMP compliant areas. For example, flush mounting of vision panels has enhanced the work environment by enabling colleagues to see each other without compromising room cleanliness and qualification. In the open-plan secondary area, meanwhile, partial height glazed partitioning, designed specifically for this project, provides the necessary segregation of the operational packing lines without reducing the open feel of the area.
Controlled Environment Throughout the Product Journey
The GPC project may be on a pharmaceutical manufacturing site but it highlights that cleanroom environments are required for a much broader range of functions than lab production and testing alone. A controlled environment is critical to the integrity and efficacy of medical treatments throughout the product’s journey to the patient, including storage, packing and dispatch.
This project demonstrates that major improvements in packing and storage infrastructure can be delivered to a high level of technical specification and cleanroom compliance without compromising business continuity, operational efficiency or the work environment. Moreover, with a creative, collaborative and outcome-focused design process, GMP clean-classified facilities can be delivered within a framework of achievable sustainability goals.