New Plymouth Lighthouse Laboratory to Boost NHS Test & Trace Capacity



The brand-new Plymouth Lighthouse Laboratory (UHP) will join Britain’s largest network of diagnostic testing facilities in UK history to increase coronavirus testing capacity. The laboratory itself will be the largest of its kind in the South West.

Operated by the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, the new laboratory will be brought into the network and will initially be processing around 3,000 samples per day, increasing to circa 20,000 per day within 4 weeks. With the demand for testing continuing to rise, this project is an essential component in the UK’s fight against the Coronavirus.

The project consisted of a complete conversion and upgrade of an existing warehouse space to become a high processing capacity laboratory. Due to this, there was a demanding delivery programme which has been overcome by utilising a locally based specialist team. The rapid pace of both design and construction was a testament to the skill and collaboration of the various professional and trade disciplines involved. From inception to completion the project took just 4 months.

Ensuring sustainable waste management was an important requirement of the project and was carefully considered and managed through the hospital’s supply chain. The recycling of these materials was implemented wherever possible throughout construction.

One of the most significant challenges of the project was not only the speed at which the Lighthouse Laboratory had to be designed and constructed but the difficult environments the team had to work in. The design and construction teams working remotely through the design phase but working safely on-site during the continuing pandemic was critical to minimise any risk of spreading the Coronavirus. To meet the programme, over 200 workers were required on-site at peak times, all working in compliance with rigorous COVID-19 safety measures.

The Lighthouse Laboratory in Plymouth is not only on the frontline of battling the pandemic it is benefitting the wider community by creating additional temporary and permanent jobs in Plymouth. Once the level of COVID-19 testing decreases the laboratory will extend the capacity and capability of the Pathology Units of University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust. For the project, Ward Williams Associates provided Quantity Surveying, Project Management, CDM Advisory and Clerk of Works services.

Client: University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Quantity Surveying, Project Management, CDM Advisory and Clerk of Works: Ward Williams Associates
Main Contractor: Kier Construction
Engineers: Clarkebond
M&E Consultant: Hoare Lea
M&E Contractor: Totus
Architect: Stride Treglown
M&E Engineer: Hoare Lea

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