cleanroom interior

The University of Texas at Austin Micro Electronics Research (MER) Cleanroom

The University of Texas at Austin Micro Electronics Research (MER) Cleanroom | Austin, Texas

Located on the Pickle Research Center campus, the University of Texas (UT) Micro Electronics Research (MER) Cleanroom renovation project consisted of two existing wet labs, which the team converted into two Class 100 cleanrooms, two Class 1000 cleanrooms, two boots/gloves rooms and a common clean corridor. The new cleanrooms are equipped with ceiling-mounted modular fan-filter HEPA units and chilled water fan coil units for cooling.



The two existing Class 100 cleanrooms in the project area remained operational during construction and the project also included interior demolition, which proved challenging. Additional obstacles of the build-out included strict quality standards and the accuracy of as-built records, which resulted in unforeseen conditions throughout the demolition and rough-in phase of work. Once the team realized this, they laser scanned the space to identify the existing steel and overhead MEP.

Dividing the schedule into activities based on “dirtiness” allowed better control of potential contamination and ensured that adjacent spaces (including clean rooms) were not affected by the dirty activities. For example, activities such as demolition had a different protocol than less "dirty" activities such as finishes.

Value Analysis
Although the project centered on functionality and adherence to critical specs for an effective clean space, the construction team was still able to suggest and accommodate value engineering to maximize value over the life cycle of the project. For example, the team decided to cover the entire floor area with sheet vinyl prior to clean room walls in lieu of terminating flooring at the walls and exposed concrete in utility chases. This minor suggestion allowed the flooring system to be seamless.

Another example was to use a common and upgraded structural ceiling grid system throughout the space at the same cost as a more typical ceiling system. Due to the in-house supply of the heavier duty grid system from the subcontractor, we transfered this value back to UT.

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