Yorkon awarded £7m contract for first nuclear active analysis laboratory building using modular construction

DounreayA new partnership led by off-site construction specialist Yorkon has been awarded the £7million contract to design, build and fit out a laboratory building at Dounreay in Thurso, Scotland. This project is the first Active Analysis Laboratory for the nuclear industry to be built using modular construction.

The £7m contract was awarded by site clean-up contractor, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd (DSRL), to a partnership comprising off-site manufacturer and main contractor, Yorkon; Studsvik - the global leader in nuclear ventilation design; JGC Engineering & Technical Services who will be manufacturing and installing the nuclear ventilation system and M&E services, and S&B UK, specialists in fume cupboards and laboratory equipment.

Construction of the 1,300sqm building is due to start on site in spring 2012 and is scheduled for completion autumn 2013. It will provide six laboratories to allow DSRL to comply with its statutory and environmental monitoring requirements until the  site is closed.

The scheme, which will be constructed from 35 steel-framed modules manufactured off site at the Yorkon production centre in York, will remain in use for up to 25 years until the site decommissioning process has been completed. It will then be deconstructed - the building modules are inherently easy to disassemble, recycle and re-use elsewhere, making the approach highly sustainable. Off-site manufacturing will also reduce the programme time for the building envelope by around 50 per cent.

The project is designed to accommodate 36 fume cupboards, glove boxes and a specialised nuclear ventilation system with heavier, more complex ductwork compared to other applications of modular construction. It will also incorporate acid and non-acid fume extraction, HEPA filtration, and a discharge stack, and each laboratory will have one-hour fire containment to the entire building fabric - a first for the modular industry.

Commenting on the project, Mike Muir, Commercial Manager at Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, said, "The modular approach to construction is tried and tested. By manufacturing the structure using a Yorkon solution, DSRL will achieve cost savings through reduced time spent on construction activities on the Dounreay site."

"The laboratory building allows for a change of internal layout and, if required at a later date, an extension can easily be added which demonstrates the flexibility of the Yorkon modular solution. It can also be broken down to its modular components for recycling, minimising the waste sent to landfill. This is an important environmental benefit as the Dounreay site is being decommissioned."

"We were impressed with the depth and quality of the Yorkon proposal, which was solutions-driven and brought a high degree of innovation to the project."

David Johnson, Director and General Manager of Yorkon, added, "This is one of the most complex and remote projects that Yorkon has undertaken in recent years. The building will also have to withstand the rigours of a highly exposed marine environment. The world class team we are leading and the quality of the building solution we have developed with our partners, demonstrates our capabilities and expertise in the nuclear sector, and the huge potential of off-site construction for similar highly specialised industrial facilities."