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The first patient is admitted to the new oncology centre of the CHU Liège

26 april 2022

As part of a subcontract, EQUANS takes over the HVAC installation activities of the Arsène Burny Cancer Institute (ICAB) and Unilab and is enabling the first part of the building to be delivered.

Cancer has become a social challenge. In response, the CHU Liège decided to build a new space intended to group together, on a single site, a Cancer Institute and all the clinical analysis laboratories (Unilab). It is a complex project, since it involves accommodating all the skills of a cancer institute on seven levels – two of which will be used for laboratories. This includes cell therapy laboratories as well as a radiopharmacy unit equipped with a cyclotron capable of producing isotopes on site. In 2021, following a legal subcontract procedure, EQUANS was entrusted with the task of bringing the entire HVAC installation of the building into compliance. A major project that has already enabled the oncology centre to be opened in February 2022. The commissioning of the equipment on the other floors will follow.

Technical expertise

The Arsène Burny Cancer Institute of the CHU extends over 6,000 m² and has a dozen new high-performance machines (scanners, radiology equipment, MRI, etc.). Located in the basement of the new building (level -3), this platform dedicated to radiotherapy, oncology imaging and nuclear medicine imposes very precise technical requirements in terms of air conditioning. Christophe De Boeck, Project Manager at EQUANS, explains: “Some equipment requires continuous cooling with chilled water. Others require stable and precise temperature conditions… Whatever the type of machine, we have contacted the manufacturers to ensure that we can meet each specific need. It’s a question of safety for patients and staff…”

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Hot and chilled water

Hot or chilled water pipes, cooling system, radiators… To enable the oncology centre to open its doors, our teams have finalised the heating/cooling systems which are now operating throughout the building. Christophe De Boeck: “For example, to supply the equipment with chilled water and heat the premises, the challenge was to put the hot water and chilled water production back into operation. It’s now done!” Superheated hot water is supplied from the nearby Sart Tilman boiler house (via a district heating network). The chilled water is produced on site, with a capacity of 3 MW cold.

Pressure cascades

Now that the ICAB’s medical-technical platform is operational, our teams are concentrating on the rest of the building, i.e. the laboratory areas, the radiopharmacy and the LTCG (Laboratory for Cell and Gene Therapy), not forgetting the patient reception areas (polyclinic and day care hospital). Here too, attention must be paid to the safety of the occupants, particularly in terms of pressure management. “The radiopharmacy, for example, is a zone controlled by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control,” adds Christophe De Boeck. “We have to prevent any radioactive material from escaping from the premises at all costs. We will therefore ensure that these spaces remain under negative pressure in relation to the others, with the help of what we call pressure cascades.

cascades_pression
ventilation

Installation, control and operation

With regard to ventilation, the project covers the installation of 36 air handling units – equipped with a heat recovery system -, 17 air extraction units and a complete network of ventilation ducts. In the laboratory areas (located on levels +1 and +2), independent extraction elements (such as fume cupboards, extraction arms and tables) will also be installed. To ensure the project’s continuity, the control of all HVAC equipment, as well as the operation of the building, will also be handled by EQUANS. What are our teams intending to achieve? To create a functional and healthy environment on each floor of the building and to enable the ICAB and Unilab to fulfil its ambition of becoming the reference in the field of cancer for the whole of Wallonia.

3 MW
of cold production
36
air handling units
17
air extraction units
30000
total surface area of the building
3 MW
of cold production
36
air handling units
17
air extraction units
30000
total surface area of the building
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