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Facility Design & Construction for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

Proposed Facility Details

The NBAF acquisition will be a 574,000 gross square foot biocontainment laboratory facility that will provide a state-of-the-art infrastructure for developing vaccines, performing diagnostics, and developing countermeasures against large animal FADs and zoonotic diseases.  There will be a number of ancillary facilities necessary to support the main laboratory facility, including a central utility plant (CUP). 

The proposed scope of the NBAF design was carefully analyzed and sized to meet DHS and USDA program requirements.  The final design represents extensive efforts to “right-size” the laboratory, above and beyond typical efforts to determine square footage needs, including consulting with operators of existing large animal biosafety level 4 (ABSL-4) laboratories in other nations.  Extensive, iterative design reviews were held to confirm the NBAF size and scope by identifying laboratory spaces and animal holding rooms that can be shared by the three agencies, thus eliminating duplicate spaces; applying a hotel design concept, thus maximizing the use of shared space between DHS and USDA research programs; benchmarking tours of other recently completed biocontainment labs in order to incorporate efficiencies in design; hosting an international peer review of prominent researchers and facility operators to evaluate overall efficiency, throughput, room sizes, and flexibility to handle emerging zoonotic diseases; and a mockup to ensure space clearances are appropriate for equipment and research processes unique to each space type.

NBAF is designed and will be constructed to meet or exceed modern biocontainment design principles and standards.  Redundant safety and containment features will be provided for critical life safety systems, including supply and exhaust air filtration, breathing air systems, decontamination systems, exhaust fans, emergency and/or uninterrupted power supply, etc.  All recommendations identified in the risk assessment were incorporated into the NBAF design.

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Design Services Contract

In January 2007, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) selected the NBAF Design Partnership (NDP), led by Perkins+Will of Atlanta, Georgia, as the architecture-engineering firm to begin pre-design services, such as determining program requirements, developing a feasibility study, and other planning services. In 2009, NDP began validating program requirements and designing NBAF for the selected site in Manhattan, Kansas. NBAF design was completed in July 2012.

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Construction Services Contract

On September 18, DHS announced the award of a contract for the preconstruction phase services of the proposed NBAF. This contract will allow the future construction manager to participate during the current design phase as a member of the project core team to perform design and constructability reviews.

The Department selected McCarthy/Mortenson, Joint Venture as the construction firm to complete the preconstruction phase services and construction phase services required for successful completion of the project. McCarthy’s headquarters office is located in St. Louis, MO. Mortenson has local offices in Manhattan, KS and is the largest general contractor in that area. McCarthy/Mortenson was awarded the contract through a competitive process based upon their expertise in constructing biocontainment labs. The contract awarded to McCarthy/Mortenson includes phased options to award future construction tasks to the firm for the duration of the NBAF development process as part of the Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc) acquisition approach successfully used on the Department’s National BioDefense Analysis & Countermeasures Center (NBACC) project.

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