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Posted on 26th April 2016

The University of Liverpool is a renowned centre of excellence for medical research and now a major restructuring has brought together leading infection researchers into a single new Institute of Infection and Global Health at the £50 million Apex Building.

Designed by architects, Fairhursts Design Group, the 5950m2 Apex Building includes specialist lab facilities specified to control level (CL) two and three, along with a new base for the University’s School of Medicine.  Around 600 researchers will be based at the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building, supporting the University’s health research into infectious diseases, cancer and digestive diseases.

The project has been constructed in two phases by main contractor, Shepherd Construction, and Delta Balustrades’ Orbis™ balustrade system was specified throughout as part of both phases.

Delta Balustrades’ Sigma™ stainless steel handrails support the need for a clean environment across the research facility, which has been specified with highly specialist building services aligned to ventilation requirements and controlled pressure regimes. Meanwhile, the glass infill panels specified as part of the Orbis™ system support the open feel of the building, which aims to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration.

For the phase two build programme, the Orbis™ system was installed for three internal staircases rising from ground level to level four, co-ordinating with the internal staircase specification for phase one. Manufacture and installation of the balustrades called for close collaboration between the Delta Balustrades team and the architect because the height of the stair casing varied throughout the building, so the balustrades had to be measured and fitted meticulously.

Externally, Delta Balustrades provided Orbis™ handrails at the front and entrance way to the building. Here, a Ultra™ highly-polished handrail finish was used to address the environmental demands of Liverpool’s marine location and deliver a prestigious look and feel for the street front location

While the same glass infill panels were used, a very different appearance has been achieved externally thanks to the use of LED lighting. The stainless steel supports for the system have been set into the granite steps at the front of the building and the LED down-lighting has been installed into the hand rails for maximum impact. The finished result was achieved thanks to close collaboration between Delta Balustrades, the ground works contractor and the electrical installation team.

Finally, the same system was used to the rear of the building, with Ultra™ highly-polished handrails to provide a robust solution for the coastal location but without LED lighting.