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Investment in biopharmaceuticals is critical to the future of pharmaceuticals and for that reason, science-led global healthcare company GSK, committed £94m to designing and constructing an 11,500 sq m highly complex and world-leading, state-of-the-art, aseptic manufacturing facility – Q Block at its Barnard Castle site, in County Durham and chose the best in digital and offsite construction as the preferred methods to deliver the project.

As can be expected of a pharmaceutical manufacturer, GSK works to the highest standards. These exacting standards and the need to guarantee quality and maintain tight control over the build process and schedule, along with the manufacturer’s desire to be able to replicate the building anywhere in the world, were key drivers in choosing offsite as the central construction method and which led to SES’ direct appointment with GSK.

The early appointment of the project team, particularly SES, ensured that offsite manufacturing principles, prefabrication and BIM could be applied to best effect. This was particularly the case in relation to SES when the contractor’s BIM Level 2 expertise and experience combined with Prism; its bespoke offsite capability based at its in-house offsite manufacturing facility, Prism, ensured that the contractor was able to influence the M&E design at the outset of the complex and highly regulated facility.

BIM technology and its uses have grown on GSK throughout this project. It has gone from initially only requiring clash control and engineering enabled BIM use, to looking at how BIM can improve facilities management and business readiness. Although Augmented Reality has only just started to be used at Barnard Castle, examples of its success can be seen on site and the team is planning on further exploring its uses.

SES is currently working to a detailed schedule of works to install all mechanical and electrical (M&E) building services, ensuring that there is minimum disruption to the live manufacturing site which is due to complete in November 2019.

Colin Driver, Project Manager, GSK said:

“The investment in biopharmaceuticals is critical to the future of pharmaceuticals and this is a flagship project for global investment. The idea is to replicate the design globally on secondary sites, building in the flexibility within individual modules, but also future-proofing the design for at least 10-20 years without the risk of drug regulatory impact, hence reducing future design costs. I believe this can only be achieved using offsite technology.”

Colin Driver
Project Manager, GSK