South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided mechanical, plumbing, and lighting design services for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), which consists of approximately 30,000 square meters (322,917 square feet) of laboratory and research space and serves as a world-class health and medical research institute within a flagship research facility.


  • Size: 28,000 square meters (301,390 square feet)
  • Construction Cost: AUD$200 million (USD$137.3 million)
  • Client/Owner: South Australia Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
  • Architect: Woods Bagot
  • Contractor: Aurecon
  • Completion Date: 2014


Included within the building are specialized spaces such as Physical Containment Level 2 laboratories, Quarantine Containment Level 2 laboratories, a bioscience laboratory, a Cyclotron facility (first and only in South Australia) with a requirement to be compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines, preclinical imaging spaces, and various medical research support infrastructure. For each of the spaces, the indoor environmental quality objectives aspire to create a healthy and comfortable working environment for all users.

SAHMRI is the first project in South Australia and the first laboratory building in Australia to achieve LEED Gold certification, recognizing the energy efficiency of the building services, particularly around electrical and water consumption. With the services provided by Tetra Tech, the building managed to reduce operational costs by adopting a passive building design approach, energy- and water-efficient systems, and the integration of renewable energy technologies.

Tetra Tech was appointed lead engineering services consultant by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure representing SAHMRI, and was directly responsible for the design and documentation of the following services:

  • Mechanical: air conditioning, fume cupboards exhaust system, pressure zoning, medical gases, and clean room design. This included the ventilation for animal enclosures, atmospheric pressure-controlled laboratories, and atmospheric isolation of sensitive areas
  • Hydraulic: potable water, laboratory water, reverse osmosis water, and trade waste systems. A particular challenge was the ventilation of the liquid helium to rapidly cool the magnetic resonance imaging machine in the event of an emergency, which allowed the machine to be located safely on-site
  • Lighting: lighting design to the external diagrid façade, creating an iconic addition to the Adelaide skyline in an area that has been vacant for many years
  • Integrated Building System: Mechanical and hydraulics control systems as part of the thermal energy modeling, providing input to the LEED Gold accreditation

Satisfied with the results achieved, SAHMRI directly commissioned Tetra Tech as base building engineering consultants for mechanic and hydraulic designs for multiple projects throughout the SAHMRI building.