Peter Doherty Institute

The Peter Doherty Institute (The Doherty) is a partnership between the University of Melbourne and Melbourne Health, and is the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

The world-class facility combines research into infectious disease and immunity with teaching excellence, laboratory diagnostic services, and clinical services.

A.G. Coombs Projects delivered mechanical services to the building, which incorporates everything from complex and highly-specialised containment laboratories and support spaces through to integrated teaching spaces. The team’s integrated prefabrication methodologies benefitted system design, coordination and performance improvements, and have provided easy and safe access provisions for ongoing operation and maintenance.

The complexity and specialist requirements of this facility brought about several key challenges, including the high containment laboratories with their very stringent construction and operational requirements and their need to comply with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). Everything was made one hundred percent air tight with all services connections tightly sealed, and all systems were carefully commissioned and tested to exacting standards. Steam plant was installed to assist with air conditioning humidification and medical equipment, and the Doherty’s new HVAC systems are ensuring that temperature and humidity levels are closely set to support critical areas.

A.G. Coombs’ longstanding experience with high containment laboratory facilities, together with its leading prefabrication capability, assisted with the successful delivery of fully accredited laboratories, especially high containment facilities, and helped to ensure that The Doherty’s mechanical services systems comply with all the latest codes and standards.

Colin Reiter, Associate Director, Campus Services, The University of Melbourne

Project Overview

Project Name: Peter Doherty Institute (The Doherty, PDI)

Location: VIC

Client: Brookfield Multiplex

Project Value: $31m

Year Completed: 2013

Project Type

Design & construction – new build (design, installation and commissioning, specialist HVAC and mechanical services, prefabrication)


  • Leading prefabrication methodologies enabled a smooth and efficient project delivery within confined working spaces and a tight timeframe.
  • Construction of Australia’s largest prefabricated multi-services riser (at that time), which was installed in record time.
  • All standards and requirements met or exceeded, including compliance with AQIS.


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