Formed in 2007, the Francis Crick Institute is a partnership between six of the world’s leading biomedical research organisations – the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King’s College London.

In 2010 they commenced planning for their state-of-the-art building in St Pancras, London. This building included 4 basement levels of laboratories, that required the application of hygienic and anti-microbial paint coatings. The coatings had to provide the highest levels of durability, hygiene and maintainability but also the strength to be able to pass the intense integrity testing carried out in every laboratory, to ensure complete air tightness. This included 6 coat systems with 2 layers of fibreglass imbedded into the paint coating.

Cousins were awarded the hygiene coatings package at The Crick as we were one of only a handful of decorating contractors that could deliver a £1.6 Million pound contract to the programme required. However, it was even more essential that the contractor chosen had experience of hygiene coatings, and also employed a quality management system to ensure the works were completed exactly in accordance with technical specifications. Cousins have maintained an ISO9001 QMS system since 2001.

Scientific & medical research


Laing O’Rourke

St Pancras, London



Project tasks and challenges

The various different end uses for the laboratories dictated the level of anti-microbial coatings required, and therefore the specification. The ranged from 2 coats of paint to 6 coats including 2 layers of embedded fibreglass. These also included the use of fibreglass tapes and sealants around all apertures for vision windows, and service duct runs between rooms.

Upon completion each room would enter a programme of integrity testing to ensure absolute and complete air tightness, preventing leakage of whatever may be used in the laboratories once in operation. This included 4 to 6 air tightness tests of every laboratory ensuring the paint coatings, fibreglass and sealants had been applied in accordance with specification, and met all requirements set upon them. The great attention to detail by Cousins Management throughout the course of the works resulted in little remedial work being required during the integrity testing stage.

Project results

The project was a great success and was opened as one of the largest medical research institutes of its kind in the world.