BioCork2: Janssen Sciences Ireland Plant Expansion
Ringaskiddy, Ireland 

Owner: Janssen Sciences Ireland UC
Lead Design Firm: PM Group
General Contractor: John Sisk & Son
Civil, Structural and MEP Engineer: PM Group

Ensuring worker safety and unimpeded medicine production were among goals set by Janssen Sciences Ireland UC for the $358-million expansion of its biopharmaceutical production plant in Ringaskiddy, County Cork, Ireland, a key part of the global supply chain for its parent, U.S. based healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson. The BioCork 2 project, finished in 2019, nearly doubled manufacturing space and capacity with more than 19,000 sq m added for four new bioreactors and room for later expansion. The project incorporates large-scale fed batch technology, the first of its kind in Ireland and globally for Johnson & Johnson, according to the team submission.

Breaking ground in 2017, the project’s Dublin-based main contractor John Sisk & Son delivered it on time and budget, says the owner. Sisk completed about 4 million working hours, of which the last 3.7 million were reportedly accident free. That resulted in a “very, very low” accident frequency rate of 0.028 and total recordable incident rate of 0.056, says Jim Breen, BioCork 2 project director and vice president of Janssen Pharmaceuticals. 

To maintain safety standards, staff and workers signed the "project safety charter," which stated that every injury was preventable and that no job was important enough to warrant compromising safety. Among tools to ensure smooth design and site operations, the project team used 3D and 4D modeling, along with drones and 360° cameras. From the start, a fully immersive virtual-reality version of the site was used to review designs, layouts and ergonomics.

The project team of more than 40 nationalities worked closely with nearly 80 global vendors on items that include bioreactors and heat exchangers from the U.S. and freezers from Italy.  

Janssen’s new manufacturing and lab buildings secured LEED silver certification, with energy and water usage falling below allocated targets, according to the submission. The contractor team also was cited for its community service contributions.

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