Integrated Research Facility, NIAID

Ft. Detrick, MD
Owner National Institutes of Health
General Contractor Gilbane Building Company
Schedule Duration 11/2005 to 07/2010
Architect / Engineer HDR/CUH2A / Hemisphere Engineering
Mechanical Subcontract Value $25.8MM

Project Overview

The $105M NIAID (IRF) at Fort Detrick in Maryland was created to carry out biodefense research needed to understand microbial-induced disease for National Institutes of Health.

The facility features BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 biological containment laboratories, with unique aerobiology and BSL-4 imaging. The (IRF) will provide 11,125 square feet of secure research space for 30 investigators.

This is the first BSL-4 facility designed to contain MRI imaging technologies within containment space, and the fifth operational BSL-4 laboratory suite in the US.  

Bell’s mechanical construction included: HVAC piping and equipment; sheet metal; plumbing and lab gas piping; and equipment installations. The (IRF) contains laboratories; laboratory support; administrative areas; high-containment animal housing and research areas; radiography and imaging equipment areas; multiple mechanical levels; and central receiving and warehousing space. As the project occurred before BIM was widely accepted, Bell provided 3D rendering services to ensure that all trades were properly coordinated and embeds were correctly installed. 

Innovation allowed for a customized building configuration that afforded the planning and engineering of systems flexibility to ensure that each program within the facility is built to their individual technical requirements. This strategy ensured that the maximum amount of laboratory space was built within the defined project construction cost.

I just wanted to take the time to thank you and your team for your terrific performance on the NIAID project at Ft. Detrick.  As you are aware, this project has had many challenges that come with a BSL-3 and BSL-4 lab construction and Bell has always stepped up to the plate to help solve problems and issues.

Bruce Shepski has done a terrific job in managing the Project over the past year and I want to recognize Bruce for his attention to detail and completing all the punch items in a timely manner.

I would highly recommend Bell and look forward to working with Bell on future Gilbane Building Company projects.


Philip J. Wald
Senior Project Executive
Gilbane Building Company