Air tightness x1,100

tighter than building regs



size of the project

Achieved a licensed

facility in under 1 year from PC

The BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building – designed, built and engineered by Shepherd Construction and SES Engineering Services (SES) will play a vital role in driving the Government’s vision to stimulate the UK economy through science innovation and infrastructure.

Delivered ahead of programme and under budget, these high security bio-containment laboratories will be instrumental in leading global studies in the surveillance and control of viral diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans.

Funded by Government through the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) Large Facilities Capital Fund, this exceptional building is classified at Category Level 4 (CL4), the highest possible level of bio-containment for work on animal pathogens.

Our unique expertise and collaborative approach helped create many innovative solutions. Before full construction commenced our project team built a separate research and development (R&D) facility in the form of a full replica laboratory, to guarantee certainty of delivery and a zero failure approach to the final build.

Given the challenges of working to an unprecedented design brief, combined with the need for flawless accuracy, we established the integral team identity and culture between Shepherd Construction, SES Engineering Services, The Pirbright Institute, the designer and supply chain forming ‘Team Pirbright.’

By working in close collaboration with the Institute, Team Pirbright delivered a world-class research facility.  A high-performance building ahead of programme and within budget.

Dr Michael Johnson, Head of Engineering and Estates, The Pirbright Institute commented:

“The unique one-team approach of Team Pirbright has ensured co-operation and collaboration between Shepherd Construction, SES Engineering Services and the Institute. The legacy that all members of the team have left to the nation is a magnificent building that will be one of the world’s great centres of virus research.”

Dr Michael Johnson
Head of Engineering and Estates, The Pirbright Institute