The panel discussion specialising in environmental safety and biocontainment projects and regulations

ENERO Arquitectura took part in the 40th Hospital Engineering Seminar, a national conference organised by the Spanish Association of Hospital Engineering. It was held on 4-6 October 2023 at the Exhibition and Conference Centre in A Coruña. Our colleague and Project Manager, José María Cristóbal González, participated in the ‘Environmental Safety and Biocontainment Projects and Regulations’ round table, moderated by Carmen Rodriguez Pajares, Managing Director of East Campo Gibraltar Health Management Area. The discussion centred on the new building of the NCB3 Biocontainment Animal Facility for the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. ENERO Arquitectura is the studio in charge of drafting the project and construction management.

The round table was attended by professionals specialised in the field of biocontainment who shared their views on important aspects associated with the main characteristics and typologies of biosafety projects.


Fernando Usera Mena, Head of the Biosafety Service of the National Biotechnology Centre (CSIC), spoke about the levels of biocontainment from basic level 1 to maximum security level 4 and the twelve types of viruses associated with NCB4 laboratories, highlighting that only one of them is present in Spain. He pointed out that currently these types of laboratories are growing globally, although the exact number is unknown since many projects are not reported due to security concerns. His presentation was entitled ‘NCB4 Project and Regulations (Biological Containment Level 4 Laboratory)’. In relation to the applicable regulations, he referred to UNE 171400 – 1 :2019 Design of Biosafety Level 3 Installations (NCB3), which determines the key elements in the design of NCB3 facilities and serves as a guide for the more complex technical aspects of these facilities.


Julio Cid Dorelle, Industrial Engineer, Head of the Technical Office for Hospital Facilities Projects GOC S.A., delved into the characteristics of the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Centre of Galicia. The facility has been designed with special care for staff flow circuits and material under pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical regulations, known as GMP. It incorporates space differentiation according to air particles in order to avoid external contamination of the products being manufactured in the white rooms.


And finally, Dr Manuel Gallardo Salazar, Industrial Engineer, Atecyr Technical Committee, and Technical Director of Ingho, presented the DTIE 1.08 Air Quality in Hospitals regulation, which includes all the features on safety and air quality in hospital environments, and guidelines for the design and implementation of special hospital areas in biocontainment.


This exchange of ideas was a unique opportunity to learn about a growing subject where specialised architecture has a lot to contribute.


An architectural typology for protection

Biocontainment spaces are specific research, treatment, custody and work environments that incorporate different containment and barrier resources that substantially differentiate them from other architectural typologies. Functionality and safety are priority when it comes to tackling an architectural project of this kind. In addition, the importance of coordinating activities and biosecurity are essential to ensure that all necessary protective measures are in place. The design of circulation and flow is paramount to ensure the safe exchange of personnel, animals, materials, samples and waste. The protection of the users in the different areas must be ensured, but so must the protection of the environment and the custody of biological material. The architecture designed for these spaces must be capable of accommodating a complex infrastructure of biocontainment facilities and equipment.


Photograph of the presentation by José María Cristóbal González at the round table discussion on environmental safety, biocontainment, projects and regulations.