Fighting the coronavirus pandemic via a new state-of-the-art testing facility.

As part of the NHS Test and Trace programme, a new COVID-19 Lighthouse laboratory was commissioned at Baltic Park in Gateshead, with the capacity to process up to 80,000 samples per day to assist in the fight against the pandemic. One of the largest purpose-built Covid testing laboratories in the UK, the lab forms part of a national network and can receive swabs from the region and beyond.

Key information

Location: Gateshed, UK

Date started: 2020

Completion date: 2021

Client type: Real estate

Key services: Cost and commercial management, programme management, project management

Tight project deadline

The project needed to be designed and constructed within 18 weeks to meet the required deadlines. The laboratory had to safely house 13 state-of-the-art testing modules, meet storage, IT and extraction requirements, and provide offices, training, changing and welfare facilities spread over two adjacent buildings comprising 10,500 sq m of new laboratory space, taking into account social distancing requirements.

Our team was asked to provide programme, project and cost management to support Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in delivering the ambitious project. We worked in collaboration on site with the design team and main contractor throughout the design and construction process to ensure that a robust design was achieved in line with the budget, which could be built to the project deadline.

Legacy life sciences building

The quality of the design and construction has provided fully flexible state-of-the-art laboratory spaces that can be used for further testing and research purposes in the future, creating a legacy for the infrastructure of the region.

Even since handover, the laboratory has accommodated modifications to allow further testing for variants of concern. Andrew Rollo, Senior Project Manager at The Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says:

“It’s been a rare privilege to work within this incredible team to create a world class facility in the north east. Taking a pair of warehouses to a purpose-built laboratory inside of four months is impressive by any measure, but to do so without a single loss of time incident or first aid treatment case over 150,661 construction hours despite the immense pressure and speed is truly outstanding.

For further information contact:

Gareth O’Neil
Associate Director

t: 0191 279 7200
e: