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Lab Safety

University of St. Andrews installs temporary labs to replace those destroyed by fire

Renovations, modular building to cost £12 million

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla, special to C&EN
August 1, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 31


Photo showing a modular laboratory building during assembly, with the second floor half done.
Credit: University of St. Andrews
Workers began assembling a modular laboratory building at the University of St. Andrews in mid-July.

The University of St. Andrews is setting up temporary facilities for staff affected by a fire that destroyed the university’s biomedical sciences building earlier this year.

The fire, which broke out on Feb. 10, started when “a routine post-experiment wash-up went wrong,” the university previously said.

“Although the building’s compartment design restricted the spread of the blaze, the operation to douse the flames caused extensive water-damage to all areas” of the facility, the university says. No students or staff were injured during the incident.

For researchers dislocated from their labs, the university is adding new chemistry research labs within the Purdie Building, home to the School of Chemistry. That work will cost £3 million ($3.6 million).

In addition, the university in July began installing a temporary two-story building composed of 40 modular units. This building will include space for biology teaching and research labs, as well as offices. The project will cost the university £9 million ($11 million) and should be completed by mid-October, the school says.

A university spokesperson tells C&EN it’s not yet clear how long the temporary building will be needed. More work must be done to determine when the permanent facilities will be restored, the spokesperson says.


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