UTHSC Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) Facility

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Sep 13, 2017
Pickering Firm

UTHSC, a longtime client of Pickering’s, is wrapping up construction on a Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) facility that will manufacture drugs for clinical trials. Pickering provided Mechanical and Electrical Engineering services for this 9,000 SF of renovated space, which included:

  • 3 prefabricated clean rooms (PODs) by G-CON Manufacturing
  • 4 Labs
  • Offices & other support areas

Jon Foshee, PE served as the lead Mechanical Engineer on this project, and will elaborate on some design details.

What makes this project interesting?

The size of this facility was fairly small, but it included so many different systems that one might expect to see in a larger lab building, such as hot water boilers, screw chillers, steam humidifiers, emergency power, heat recovery loop, clean steam, etc.  There were different design arrangements for each of the (4) air handlers that serve the facility, with one unit serving the offices, one serving Labs, another unit serving a clean corridor, and a make-up air unit dedicated to air handlers provided with the PODs.   The design requirements proved to be fairly complex for such a compact operation. 

What were the biggest challenges you experienced during the design phase?

Coordination with G-CON, a.k.a. the “POD People”, and their requirements for power, water, make-up air and exhaust air required for the POD systems proved to be very challenging since they changed and evolved throughout the design.  The conventional mechanical and electrical systems also had to share tight equipment space with the special systems provided by G-CON.

Avoiding contamination was a major concern for the client. What efforts were made to ensure MEP design services were in compliance with the client’s wishes? 

Several spaces outside of the PODs, including the Clean Corridor and Air Locks, were specified to be validated as clean spaces, and required certain procedures be implemented throughout construction to minimize contamination.  A special validation and commissioning contractor is employed by the client to verify that systems in direct contact with the POD systems and clean corridor are validated to their satisfaction, and that specified building areas are certified as “sterile” when GMP operations begin.

What is an interesting fact you learned from this project?

That a building which was originally a “Holliday’s” women’s fashion store and warehouse could be repurposed as a Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) Laboratory facility.

Read more about what this facility will be used for here. Great job to Jon and his team!

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