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HSE NVRL Covid Testing Laboratory
DAFM BackWeston


The NVRL (National Viral Reference Laboratory) is the largest medical virology laboratory in the country, ordinarily processing up to 3000 respiratory samples a month. However, with the arrival of the global Covid Pandemic in February 2020, it swiftly became clear, a further testing facility was required.

As part of the programme to support the ongoing national pandemic response, the NVRL with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), consolidated Covid-19 testing at a satellite laboratory at the DAFM Backweston Campus, Co. Kildare. Demesne Architects were brought in to assist with this developing health emergency.

Acting as Project Managers, initially the existing laboratories including equipment were relocated, ensuring full coordination of mechanical and electrical services in a live active laboratory campus. It was then paramount to ensure all services were in place for the required high-end laboratory testing equipment and all associated facilities. This allowed the fitout to proceed without delay. The project was carried out within a critical time scale of 8 weeks, with completion in December 2020.

This was a project completed under extenuating circumstances, in the midst of Level 5 lockdown restrictions. Despite this, and the added challenges this brought, the project was delivered on time with thanks due to the extraordinary effort of every member of the team.

Demesne Architects were proud to be involved with this essential project, this laboratory doubled the capacity for national testing overnight at the time of opening. Delivered at a crucial point in the fight against this pandemic, testing up to 4000 samples a day by November 2021, the ability to have increased testing ultimately aided in the national effort to save lives.