Relocating solution for research facilities gave a better working environment
Facts and figures
Facility Manager (MPE), Scientist
Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Malin was involved throughout the project as a user, ensuring that it met the needs of scientists and provided the right working environment. Malin is a scientist and head of the Mammalian Protein Expression Core Facility (MPE), which produces proteins for various research purposes.
Facility Manager (Proteomics), Scientist
Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
Carina was involved throughout the project as a user, ensuring that it met the needs of scientists and provided the right working environment. Carina is a scientist and head of the Proteomics Core Facility, which analyses proteins for various research purposes.
My extensive array of expensive, high-tech analytical equipment needs premises that can cope with both heat generation and high levels of noise from the vacuum pumps.
Relocating of research facilities for a limited time window in autumn 2019
The new Natrium building is under construction at Medicinareberget, a stone’s throw from Linnéplatsen square and the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in central Gothenburg. Parts of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg are due to move into the building in 2023. By bringing educational and research facilities for the natural sciences and medicine closer together, the university will be better positioned to address the challenges of the future for society and the environment.
The location of the building is a challenge. The working environment has been affected by the blasting taking place while the university is undertaking research that is sensitive to interruption; this work needs to continue throughout the construction period. The university therefore needed a functional solution for the facilities needing to be relocated for the construction period.
Thirteen weeks from start of construction to inspection
For two of Sahlgrenska Academy’s laboratories, the solution was lab modules linked to the existing Lundberg Laboratory via a pedestrian bridge. Swedish Modules’ part in this was to deliver functional premises within a short space of time. Exactly eight weeks after the first steel frame arrived at the factory in Emtunga, the first module was installed on site in Gothenburg. Five weeks after that came an interim inspection in line with the schedule set out by the property owner and landlord, Akademiska Hus.
The new premises, consisting of 800 sq metres over three floors, now houses two laboratories, the Mammalian Protein Expression (MPE) Core Facility and Proteomics Core Facility at Sahlgrenska Academy. MPE produces proteins for various research purposes and Proteomics carries out protein analysis, e.g. to compare different stages of illness. MPE and Proteomics undertake 400 different commissions each year servicing over 100 research groups. Their work requires premises with space for laboratories and an equipment room. Fifteen people are employed in the building, but there can sometimes be up to 30 people working on the premises. The facilities also include changing rooms and dining areas.
Space needed for advanced high-tech analysis equipment
One of the major challenges was the room at Proteomics for its high-tech, advanced analysis equipment.
– We had been looking for new premises for quite a long time as those we had were no longer working for us in purely practical terms,” says Carina Sihlbom, Facility Manager and Scientist at Proteomics. Because of our array of expensive, high-tech analytical equipment, it was very important for the premises to be able to cope with heat generated by the equipment and noise from the vacuum pumps.
– We’re now making the final adjustments to the temperature, she continues. The big room for our analytical instruments that we were most nervous about has worked really well. The equipment is for mass spectrometry, and has vacuum pumps that need the correct ventilation and temperature. Swedish Modules have done a great job with this, and we’re really pleased.
“Premises that are customised for our needs create a much better working environment”
– The solution from Swedish Modules put forward by our landlord meant that we quickly had access to modern new premises and could shape them just as we wanted, says Malin Bäckström, Scientist and Facility Manager at MPE. The modules were also able to meet the stringent requirements for premises used for cell culture. Instead of staff having to adapt to the premises, the premises were customised for our needs.
– The new premises are much more functional and more tailored to our needs, even if we, of course, can’t have absolutely everything we want, says Carina. It’s really interesting that, even thought the surface area we have now is no greater, the space is more functional, and the premises are perfectly customised for our work. That wasn’t the case before. The fact that the building is joined to the existing premises makes it even more convenient and accessible.
Functional and reliable facilities are essential
Currently, many research groups are of course focusing on the coronavirus, and, for the time being, both Proteomics and MPE are focusing much of their efforts on this area too. This requires both staff and equipment that can function at a high level.
– The proteins we produce are used by researchers both for clinical testing and for measuring antibodies in patients’ blood in various research projects, says Malin. The results are then used in research and vaccine manufacture. We don’t cultivate viruses or anything infectious, but it’s vital that our premises are functional environments where we can grow the cells successfully so that proteins can be produced. We’ve only been here for a couple of months but so far everything seems fine and we were able to get our cell culture going after only a couple of weeks.
– We get samples from patients with coronavirus that we analyse on site, says Carina. But we don’t get dangerous viruses, they’re deactivated before they get here. Carrying out protein analysis and looking into what happens in a particular instance of disease is advanced work.
The demonstration projects showed how good the facilities would be
– I was afraid we would feel as if we were working in a hut, but as we found out more and saw more of the demonstration projects, we realised that they would be excellent, high-quality premises, says Carina. They are just like any other modern, high-tech premises.
– I’m really pleased with the solution we now have, Malin continues. Early on in the process, we had opportunities to view Swedish Modules projects such as hospitals. It quickly became clear that we would have a building with excellent facilities that would enable us to continue our cell culture work.
– It was also really interesting to visit the factory at Emtunga and see how they manufacture the modules, says Carina. We had meetings with architects and project managers so we could tell them what we needed, and then the order was placed by our landlord, Akademiska Hus.
Premises can be customised to suit the needs of the organisation
The difference between prefabricated and site-built construction is technique and a much shorter construction time, not function or requirements. Prefabricated and site-built construction are subject to the same legislation. Both Malin and Carina have customised their respective floors to meet the needs of the work that they do. Carina, for example, has chosen a more open office environment than Malin. However, having previously all shared a room, Malin’s colleagues are pleased that they now have more smaller-sized offices.
– On our floor, we decided to make two rooms into one so we could seat more people together. It’s a great solution that works well for us, says Carina.
“We are delighted with Swedish Modules’ solution.They kept track of our requirements and the end result has for the most part met our needs as tenants. It’s brand new and so functional. We now have an excellent new work environment.
We are delighted with Swedish Modules’ solution.They kept track of our requirements and the end result has for the most part met our needs as tenants. It’s brand new and so functional. We now have an excellent new work environment.