National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center

Front of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center building

This 160,000 sf building contains biocontainment laboratories at BSL2, 3, & 4 levels with the capability to conduct testing of aerosolized high hazard threat agents against animals, bench research on threat agents, and bioforensics analysis.

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) is located within the National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick, Maryland. This project provides the necessary facilities for researchers to investigate the motive behind a biological attack, track the perpetrators through forensic research, and determine what measures will prevent future attacks.  

The structural system for the project is primarily mild-steel reinforced, cast-in-place concrete.

Cardno framed the building’s elevated floors with a combination of two-way and one-way slab with beam systems, and located perimeter beams at every floor on all sides of the building to create a tubular frame that prevents progressive collapse failure.

Our careful coordination with several consultants was crucial for the complicated system of vertical and horizontal penetrations necessary through the concrete beams, as well as the openings in the slabs themselves. 

Some laboratories required 10-inch thick concrete walls for containment, and we used a special low-shrinkage concrete mix that minimizes cracks which naturally occur as concrete cures. We also engineered the structure to support architectural glazing systems designed to withstand blast loads from terrorist attacks. The foundation system comprises groupings of 7-inch diameter, 120-ton capacity micropiles supporting concrete pile caps, which transfer column and wall loads to the deep foundations.