The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB)

Cooling and power services upgrade for research facility

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB) is a world-class research laboratory located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Dedicated to understanding important biological processes at the molecular level – with the goal of using this knowledge to tackle major problems in human health and disease.

The works comprised the installation of new cooling and power services within a new first-floor server room (IS001) within the MRC LMB building.


2bm was challenged with the task of replacing the existing UPS system with a new 800A LV distribution panel and 400 kVA/kW UPS system within the MRC LMB building in Cambridge.

Cooling to the new server room required the creation of a secondary chilled water system with a new plate heat exchanger connected to a set of tap-offs from the existing building primary chilled water system.

The services infrastructure serving the room was upgraded to support the full comms provision of 12 racks, including UPS power modifications, switchgear alterations and cooling provision. The initial room fit-out incorporated 5 comms racks.


The biggest challenge was that the whole building needed to be shut down in order to perform the electrical upgrade to support the new data centre.

This involved the changing of an LV distribution board as well as multiple switches around the building. In order to minimise disruption, the work was carried out over a weekend. 2bm were required to coordinate engineers from a number of organisations to simultaneously work on the project through the night before staff returned to work.


Testing and commissioning of all systems including relevant certification, and operation and maintenance manuals and updating any existing building master schematic drawings:

  • Processed chilled water (PCHW) alterations;
  • Modification to east distribution Pumps;
  • New IT PCHW Pipework to room 1S001;
  • Cooling to the new IT server racks shall be met via rear-mounted cabinet doors with integral cooling;
  • Leak detection system; New UPS System with input and output panels;
  • Alteration works to Main Switchgear including new room PDU’s;
  • BMS and automatic controls system;
  • Installation of new 800A TPN protective devices within each of the EAST and WEST LV switch-room LV distribution panels;
  • Upgrade & relocate supply cables;
  • Install a new 800A rated panel;
  • Install a new 400 kW UPS output limited to 300kW, complete with batteries capable of delivering a 14-minute autonomy at 300 kW of load, installed onto a new cladded battery rack;
  • New input and output cabling installed;
  • Power supplies to the new mechanical cooling equipment pumps and pressurisation units taken from existing local generator-protected distribution board(s);
  • New A&B 48-way PDUs within the 1S001 server room fed via the new UPS system plus new rack A&B supplies for in-rack PDUs and A&B rear cooler auxiliary power supplies;
  • Dual A&B in-rack vertical zero-U PDUs with overall strip level power monitoring (remote access capable);
  • Extension of the existing primary cooling system pipework to feed a new 200 kW plate heat exchanger;
  • The plate heat exchanger will be provided on a skid complete with all required ancillaries such as control panels, primary differential pressure meter and PICV valve/actuator, plus secondary side N+1 pumps, pressurisation unit, expansion vessel, dosing station, differential pressure inputs etc;
  • New flow and return pipework from the east tunnel riser to the 1S001 server room;
  • New high-level flow and return pipework/headers with tap-off points within the new data centre;
  • Five new rear door heat exchangers with flexible connections; Carry-out building works associated with the new installation;
  • BMS upgrades to incorporate the new pump system(s), UPS and associated LV panel.


The entire project was completed within the agreed time scale of 3 months

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Following a competitive procurement exercise, 2bm was awarded a contract for the M&E works associated with the delivery of a new scientific computing server room facility at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

Working closely with our appointed designers and alongside end-users and client representatives, 2bm ensured that the deliverable was completed to specification on time and to budget. Most notably, the careful liaison with the Estates and Facilities team over some significant electrical shut-downs for planned infrastructure upgrades ensured that disruption to the scientific facility was minimised.

Steve Holmes – Head of Capital Development Projects at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB)

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