The Challenge

To design and construct a series of BSL and high containment suites dedicated to the research and development of  biological agents.

The BSL suites would include small and large microbiology laboratories, aerosol chambers, ante rooms and immune labs. These new laboratories must be air-tight as they will be integrated with support facilities and share common corridors and utilites.

The Concern

The design required architectural interior finishes that would perform as the primary barrier, capable of maintaining air and leak tightness. The wall and ceiling assembly needed to be lightweight, incorporate easily with window and door frames and be easily and quickly installed over the conventional light-gauge steel stud framing system.

Furthermore, the specified finishes needed to withstand a wide range of biological agents, aerosols and decontamination chemicals as well as comply with local and state building codes.

The Solution

A modular composite wall and ceiling liner panel consisting of a non-combustible cement core that would essentially form a sealed internal shell. The layered panels, with fiberglass reinforcement embedded into a fire rated resin, produced an extremely strong and impact-resistant solution.

The panel surface was complemented with a specially pigmented gel coat to deliver a permanently smooth, high-gloss, antimicrobial finish. This non-porous and corrosion resistant surface was crucial for the high risk BSL facility.

Manufactured in modular flat molds, the panels delivered consistently smooth surfaces with clean straight beveled edges. They were cut to exacting lengths and the panel’s reinforced pultruded edges were kerfed to receive a specially designed spline attachment. This allowed for easy installation and eliminating the need for exposed fasteners.

To maintain a 2 in. water column and an air-tight chamber, the monolithic joints and interior radius edges were completed with Arcoplast’s next generation two-part finishing compound. This specially design compound is extremely smooth and securely bonds to the Arcoplast surfaces to prohibit moisture and air infiltration. The strong, pick-proof and durable compound was tooled in place for feather-edge finishes that is permanently finished and easy to maintain, clean and sanitize.

The Arcoplast composite panels meets the ASTM E 84 flame spread and smoke development required by local and state building codes and complies with the requirements for interior finish materials as defined by Title27, Chapter 1, Subchapter 5, Article 5, of the Building Code of the City of New York.


  • Improved safety with Arcoplast composite panels by incorporating a non-combustible cement core
  • Reduced environmental risk and improved security for its occupants with Arcoplast sealed shell construction in both negative and positive pressure applications
  • Highly durable wall and ceiling surfaces to withstand frequent sanitation and decontamination procedures
  • Reduced costly and nonproductive downtime frequently generated by mandatory surface maintenance caused by the harsh environment
  • Arcoplast antimicrobial wall and ceiling panels prohibit the growth of mold, mildew and microbes, adding an extra layer of protection
  • Arcoplast high performance sealant at joints, penetrations and openings for maximum containment
  • Exceptional design flexibility for high risk, high containment facilities to allow for future changes in usage.
  • Modular components made for easy shipping, handling, storing and accessibility to high rise construction
  • Arcoplast composite modular panel systems (dry construction) proven for BSL 1 through 4 and primary barrier for USDA ARS 242.1 BSL Ag applications
  • Long term maintainability, reliability and durability resulting in lower life cycle cost