Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL)

The Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL) underwent a refurbishment to achieve an upgrade that upheld latest code authority requirements.

A.G. Coombs partnered with Johnstaff Projects to deliver end-to-end project services for the World Health Organisation (WHO), as part of the VIDRL refurbishment.

A section of the level 1 car park was transformed into four PC2 labs and a meeting room; new PC2 and PC3 labs were installed on level 2; and a PC3 lab on level 2 was refurbished. Plant upgrade was also undertaken on the building’s roof to service the entire site. Upgrades included:

  • A new gas fired external heating water heater and circulating pump.
  • A new gas fired steam boiler.
  • New compressed air plant.
  • Reverse Osmosis Water systems. Exhaust Ventilation Systems.
    Air Handling Units (AHUs).
    Gas tight dampers.

The scope of works also included:

  • Extension of existing chilled water, heating water, natural gas and steam reticulation pipe works.
  • Modification of Laboratory Gases and extension of CO2 and compressed air reticulation systems to nominated laboratory outlets.
  • Refurbishment of mechanical service systems to comply with the latest codes and standards.
  • Upgrade of the building management system (BMS) to provide automatic control of the supply and exhaust systems including the decontamination / fumigation process.
VIDRL’s refurbishment requirements were far from standard. A.G. Coombs’ specialist pharmaceutical expertise and their demonstrated ability to adapt to any working environment had a significant impact on the success of this project. This was despite the fact that we faced the most unusual and difficult construction circumstances.

Russell Bates, Director, Johnstaff Projects

Project Overview

Project Name: Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL)

Location: VIC

Client: Johnstaff Projects

Project Value: $3.5 million

Year Completed: 2008

Project Type

Refurbishment – existing building


  • Project delivered on time and on budget.
  • Successful delivery in a very confined area owing to A.G. Coombs’ design modifications and improvements.
  • Supply, installation and commissioning services delivered with no disruption to operating labs or VIDRL’s everyday business activity.
  • All works undertaken with successful balancing of the different environments, maintaining correct pressures and contamination where applicable, keeping everything ultra clean and maintaining a high level of safety.
  • Award of Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) certification for all new labs and the refurbished lab. (These are amongst the few PC2, PC3 and PC4 labs in Australia to be AQIS certified).
  • Plant room fire requirements met through modifications and improvements to rooftop plant.

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