Installation is set to start of Portakabin modular buildings to serve as a temporary home for St Andrews University science labs that were destroyed by fire earlier this year.
Sunday 10th February saw fire rip through two labs in the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) building on the North Haugh. The building’s compartment design restricted the spread of the blaze but the operation to douse the flames caused extensive water-damage to all areas of the research facility.
Since then, a specialist university team has worked closely with members of staff from BMS and Portakabin to develop temporary laboratories. These will allow the research at BMS to be re-started while the lengthy operation to recover the building continues.
The complex will accommodate biology teaching and research laboratories alongside office spaces. The specialist modular units are built by Portakabin at its factory in York. Installation is set to start next week, with construction and specialist internal fit-out works due for completion by mid-October, at a cost of £9m.
From Monday 15th July, for a period of five days, the 44 Portakabin modular units, which fit together to create a specialist laboratory complex, will be transported from York to St Andrews and craned into position to create the new building.
Professor Tom Brown, dean of science at the University said: “The fire at the Biomedical Sciences building was devastating to not only the researchers, students and staff here in St Andrews, but was also felt across the whole scientific community.
“The construction of the temporary lab facilities ensures that the ground-breaking research carried out within BMS continues and lets the world know that we are open for business, delivering results of real global significance.”
The full extent of the fire damage to the BMS building is still unknown. Following the clearance works undertaken in the building, including the careful removal of the chemicals and equipment, a full assessment of the damage will take place over the coming months.