National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC)

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) facility is located within the National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The Department of Homeland Security developed the NBACC project to support their efforts in guarding against biological threats and the emergence of infectious diseases. 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 160,000sf facility includes BSL2, 3, and 4 laboratories, along with space for scientists and testing of aerosolized high-hazard threat agents against animals, bench research on threat agents, and bioforensic analysis.  

The structural system for the project is primarily mild-steel reinforced cast-in-place concrete. The elevated floors of the building are framed with a combination of two-way slab and one-way slab with beam systems. Perimeter beams are located at every floor on all sides of the building to create a tubular frame to prevent progressive collapse failure. Careful coordination between several consultants was crucial for the complicated system of vertical and horizontal penetrations through the concrete beams, as well as the openings in the slabs themselves.  

For containment purposes, the BSL4 laboratories require 10-inch thick concrete walls. These walls utilize a special low-shrinkage concrete mix designed to minimize potential cracks that naturally occur as concrete cures. The structure is engineered to support architectural glazing systems which are designed to withstand blast loads in the event of a terrorist attack against the facility. The foundation system is composed of groupings of seven-inchdiameter, 120-toncapacity micropiles supporting concrete pile caps that transfer column and wall loads to the deep foundations. 

Department of Homeland Security
Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD
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