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Trinity College, Cambridge Science Park

The client

We were appointed by Bidwells who was acting on behalf of Trinity College. As the landlord, Trinity College is aiming to rent out the units.

The brief

We were approached by Bidwells to strip out two vacant office spaces and transform them into containment level two labs (CL2) with a small office / write up space.

To achieve this, we were to use the design created by Bidwells and the M&E created by Green Build Design Consultants.

The team was familiar with the location as we previously conducted work in the building.

One crucial element of the project was the focus on decarbonisation. Bidwells and Trinity College are committed to decarbonising the buildings they conduct work in, and as a result, requested we strip out the gas boilers and LTHW radiators and replace them with electrical heaters. In turn, this has a positive impacting the EPC rating of the space.

The challenges

One common challenge when converting any space into labs is ventilation. For this project, this presented a larger challenge as the units were located on the top floor of the building. This required the ventilation plant to be installed in the roof void.

Other challenges included:

  • Roof insulation: In order to achieve the required thermal values new insulation was installed into the existing roof void.
  • Phased-out renovation of the toilets: this was due to the required structural works to insert new handling units.
  • Working in an occupied building: measures were implemented to ensure the building occupants on the ground and first floor were not disrupted.

Our solution

Flexible working hours

To mitigate any disruptions or inconveniences to the tenants, the team:

  • Used a dedicated entrance and exit and designated toilets.
  • Carried out noisy work before 9 am and worked on weekends whenever possible.
  • Opted for crane lifts when bringing the air units into the building, as this was the safest and most efficient method; this work was also carried out over the weekend to minimise disruptions.

Being adaptable when working inside a restrictive roof void

Having previously been office spaces, the building wasn’t designed to house the ductwork and air handling units required for the new labs. To meet the minimum requirements for CL2 labs, extra ventilation was required to guarantee the minimum requirement of six air changes per hour.

As the ductwork was being placed and the air handling unit was positioned in the roof void, we worked with a structural engineer to ensure the structural integrity of the roof was not compromised.

Lastly, the team also took into consideration future maintenance and ensured this was possible despite being in a small, tight roof.

The outcome

The finished result is two units stripped of all previous mechanical and electrical services to accommodate the installation of the required for the new purpose.

The client was delighted with the units which featured CL2 labs, with a significantly better EPC rating, and adequate ventilation, drainage and water supply, as well as a small office space.

Since completion, we have been asked to work on another unit – project to come soon.


  • Size: 6970.77 sq ft
  • Headcount: 50+
  • Location: Cambridge
COEL was chosen to be the contractor on 327/329 Cambridge Science Park due to their proven ability to be responsive and attentive to detail. Their team consistently looks to deliver and overcome any potential obstacles with well-conceived and considered solutions. As a result of the high-spec work that they provided, the client has trusted COEL with a second phase of works in order to replicate these successes. Jonathan Wright, Partner, Bidwells

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