Varian Medical Systems’ Cancer-Fighting Lab Completed in Cedar Park

October 21, 2021

American Constructors recently completed work on a clean room to produce cancer-fighting embolic beads at Varian Medical Systems’ Cedar Park manufacturing plant.

Varian—a pioneer in the oncology field—develops radiotherapy, radiosurgery and other treatments with a patient-first focus. The embolic beads produced at the new highly specialized 11,200 square foot office and lab space are designed to treat malformations and tumors.

Construction on the clean room, located in Suite 215, began in September 2020. We, along with the entire project team, engineered unique solutions to challenges from working in a highly sensitive lab environment. Furthermore, American Constructors built out the clean room with limited interruption to the facility’s existing labs.

Senior Pre-Construction Manager Grant Hutton said American Constructors worked diligently to address exciting challenges posed by the project.

“By maintaining strict cleaning protocols, ensuring power continuity and working through potential emergency situations to ensure life safety for all employees we were able to complete a highly technical project that is custom-built to Varian’s needs,” Hutton said.

A Collaborative Power Transfer

Upgrading the existing power to multiple existing suites, including the new clean room, presented many challenges for our team, including:

  • Maintaining existing labs’ power continuity requirements
  • Handling procurement delays due to COVID-19
  • Working with limited space at the facility
  • Following codes and clearances from several entities.

In planning and coordinating the upgrade, American Constructors collaborated with the electrical subcontractor, design team, Varian and city. The team reviewed shop drawings and equipment layout during multiple coordination meetings. In doing so, we ensured all equipment maintained code compliant clearances. This time and attention to detail also provided the Owner an aesthetically pleasing layout once completed.

Prior to installation of the new electrical transformer, the team disconnected the existing permanent power. After doing so, a temporary generator maintained power to the existing clean room lab in suite 275. This required extensive planning and coordination to maintain power with minimal effect to the lab in suite 275.

Plenum Cap Ceiling Construction

The Varian Medical Systems Suite 215 clean room project included construction of a plenum cap ceiling. This ceiling, located six feet above the acoustical drop-in ceiling, protects the integrity of the controlled lab environment. The false ceiling creates a space to facilitate air circulation by providing pathways for airflow.

The plenum cap consists of all-thread supports connected to the structural joist, which supports uni-strut and hat channel framing. A 5/8-inch gypsum board placed on the bottom side of the framing was taped, floated and painted to provide a complete seal and prevent any air leakage into the attic space.

The design proves vital in preventing cold, conditioned air from the occupied space below from penetrating the plenum cap, mixing with the hot unconditioned air above, and causing condensation and leaks throughout the space.

American Constructors produced an extremely detailed plan limiting all electrical, plumbing and process piping to one penetration each through the cap into the plenum space. Constructed to continue below the plenum cap, the all-thread supports allow all trades to utilize and support their piping throughout the plenum space without having to penetrate the cap. The team inspected the cap daily throughout construction to ensure proper sealing of penetrations and the integrity of the cap.

Sequencing of Interdependent Piping Systems

The clean room required specialized piping systems for nitrogen, purified water, soft water, and clean dry air. These systems, along with other typical mechanical, electrical, and plumbing material, required extensive overhead coordination meetings to ensure proper routing while minimize conflicts between each of the systems.

Due to use of each special piping system, extreme documentation and record keeping had to be implemented and produced. This process insured the cleanliness and proper install of each piece of material. This required a third-party quality control officer to inspect, label and verify each piece of piping to ensure quality and specifications were being met.

Want to learn about more projects completed by the American Constructors’ team? Head over to our Experience page for more information!

About Varian

At Varian, a Siemens Healthineers company headquartered in Palo Alto, we envision a world without fear of cancer. For more than 70 years, we have developed, built and delivered innovative cancer care technologies and solutions for our clinical partners around the globe to help them treat millions of patients each year. With an Intelligent Cancer Care approach, we are harnessing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to enhance cancer treatment and expand access to care. Our 11,000 employees across 70 locations keep the patient and our clinical partners at the center of our thinking as we power new victories in cancer care. Because, for cancer patients everywhere, their fight is our fight. For more information, visit www.Varian.com and follow @VarianMedSys on Twitter.