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Portview completes new COVID testing lab for London Testing Alliance HSL and UCL partnership

Work has completed on a state-of-the-art Surge Capacity Laboratory in Central London, in response to the government’s call for additional Covid-19 testing facilities.

Located in the Halo Building in Kings Cross, the 500m2 testing facility will be utilised by pathology provider, Health Services Laboratories (HSL) in partnership with University College London (UCL) to process 10,000 Covid tests a day, as part of the London Testing Alliance contribution.

The time critical project demanded some of the best project partners in the industry, with strong experience and knowledge of the unique challenges that go hand in hand with the health-sciences sector. HSL therefore selected fit-out specialists, Portview, alongside KB Architects, Stace, and Taylor Project Services (TPS), to collaborate and transform the existing space into a cutting-edge facility within just three months.

To achieve this, Portview worked tirelessly by operating a 24/7 site and doubling factory shifts to produce the joinery – such as laboratory benching and sink units – ahead of schedule. Despite the knock-on effect of the pandemic on the global supply chain, Portview was able to source and coordinate the delivery of materials from outside the United Kingdom safely, on time, and in the quantities needed without complication.

Dr Rachel Liebmann, Group Medical Director of HSL, said:

“The speed with which we’ve been able to bring this project together is testament to the collaboration between the various industry partners; our academic partners, UCL; the diagnostic partners, HSL; and MedCity. That has been absolutely crucial to our success.

“We’re really pleased to be able to bring it all together here in the Halo Building. It’s fantastic.”

Kimia Benam, Director of KB Architects said:

“KB Architects were engaged by HSL to design and deliver a new Covid surge laboratory within the Halo Building. Due to the success of recently completed Cervical Screening London laboratory, we engaged with the Portview team to deliver this critical health-sciences project. 

“The challenge as architects and project managers was to expedite the design and user group process efficiently in a reduced design programme to deliver a signed off fully co-ordinated concept, which could be delivered in a fast-track programme. KB Architects were very proud to be involved in this project of significant national importance to the fight against Covid-19.”

The newly refurbished laboratory offers a variety of contemporary and flexible clinical spaces filled with natural light, tall ceilings and long-distance views overlooking MedCity. Some of the key features of this floor is the new pressurised CL2 PCR room that holds multiple real-time PCR diagnostic analysers, there are also four automated sample lifts which transfer the couriered samples to the laboratory level, where there are 22 new safety cabinets.

Simon Campbell, Managing Director of Portview said:

“Coronavirus has been the single biggest challenge the world has faced for an entire generation and we feel honoured to have played a part in the fight against it.

“I am so grateful to our team who worked tirelessly over the past few months to deliver this transformative space, which will assist HSL to implement new ways to push forward the boundaries of scientific analysis and advance the nation’s response to the pandemic.

“This development is the second major partnership we have entered into with HSL, KB Architects, Stace and TPS; having recently completed the London Cervical Screening laboratory on level 8. The partnership has worked extremely well, with everyone bringing their strengths and skills to the table to make it happen despite the challenges, proving that early engagement and teamwork is everything.

“We wish HSL all the very best with their new pioneering service and look forward to hearing more about it in the future.”

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, the Portview team maintained an open site by introducing stringent Covid-compliant site safety measures to deliver a high level of service whilst protecting the health and safety of its people, contractors, and HSL employees.

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