Providing established buildings with a clean bill of health

HSL - thinking piece 13 October 2017

ISG is revolutionising the construction industry with its approach to the delivery of world-leading healthcare facilities, smart buildings and research and development hubs. ISG’s divisional director, Paul Sharp, explains how One Mabledon Place in London went from being an outdated 1960s office block to one of Europe’s largest pathology laboratories.

ISG was appointed by Health Services Laboratories (HSL) in 2014 to create a state-of-the-art clinical pathology service in north central London’s emerging biosciences corridor.

HSL is a progressive partnership between University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and The Doctors Laboratory.

As a clinically-led provider of pathology and diagnostic services to the NHS, HSL combines specialist pathology expertise with research, development and academic excellence to deliver an outstanding standard of care.

HSL's new facility needed to replicate the organisation’s innovative, world-leading approach to diagnostics and pathology, as well as accommodate the world’s brightest researchers, doctors and scientists.

The building also needed to be capable of delivering efficiencies, embedding cutting-edge technology, and providing the best working environment for new, existing and future staff.

We were tasked with delivering the design and construction of office accommodation and core laboratory space within the building.

Putting the challenging nature of this project into perspective, the project team was tasked with fitting out a world-class laboratory - which is typically between 4.5m-5m in height - into established office space with a height of only 3.5m.

Not only is this technically challenging from a design perspective, but less height means less allocation for engineering services (around 60cm to be precise).

At ISG, we thrive on fostering innovation and collaboration, and we encourage people to think differently.

By utilising our in-house Building Information Modelling (BIM) team, we addressed these issues digitally.

Using BIM meant we could share this data easily with the project team and phase the integration of these complex services.

Industry-leading 3D modelling technology was used to co-ordinate the requirement for lab-benching services to be fed through the ceilings on each of the below floors.

We additionally installed underfloor service distribution systems to maintain clear lines of sight throughout the laboratory space.

Seamless building and equipment integration was a crucial part of the client’s vision.

This was achieved through careful collaboration with HSL.

We needed to make structural alterations to the building to provide the specialist building services required to accommodate a two-fold increase in the building’s activity.

Once the changes to the structure were in place, we could transform the existing office space into laboratories, which would be used to house laboratory equipment.

New plant to support the engineering infrastructure was installed, such as chillers, a diesel rotary uninterruptible power supply, air handling units and water treatment plant.

HSL pathology research centre, One Mabledon Place, London - ISG


Known as the ‘Halo’ building, One Mabledon Place is home to some of the world’s most advanced diagnostic technology.

Honouring Lord Carter’s independent review for the Department of Health - called the Report of the Second Phase of the Review of NHS Pathology Services in England - we integrated the northern hemisphere’s largest and most sophisticated sample distribution system, and introduced a fully automated vertical sample delivery system across all nine levels of the building.

For a laboratory of this nature, further collaboration with the client, designers and contractors also enabled us to overcome the complex service integration of providing purified water across all laboratory floors, ensuring all clinical equipment was supplied continually.

The design standards and technological innovations achieved in the development of this facility has changed the pathology landscape and will influence how pathology laboratories are designed and constructed around the world.

The building is rapidly becoming the industry benchmark for future pathology laboratories and is attracting interest from other high-profile London hospitals looking to outsource their pathology services.

We also created the first-ever glass-fronted Cat-3 laboratory which combines natural light with a world-leading containment facility.

Overlooking one of three landscaped roof terraces, the laboratory provides excellent views of the London skyline through its glass partitions.

So, officially, we can say we’re taking world-class pathology laboratories to new heights.

HSL pathology research centre, One Mabledon Place, London - ISG


HSL pathology research centre, One Mabledon Place, London - ISG

Image above: artwork by Martin Donlin.

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