Siphonic Drainage for State of The Art Wuxi Pharmaceuticals Project

WuXi_Vaccines in Dundalk

Wuxi Biologics

  • Project
    WuXi Biologics
  • Location
  • Client
    PJ Hegarty
  • Technology
    Siphonic Drainage System
  • Scope
    Design, manufacture, installation

Headquartered in Eastern China, WuXi Biologics provides open-access, integrated technology platforms for biologics drug development. Work has recently begun on the new €325m start-of-the-art WuXi Biologics facility in Dundalk, Ireland and the plant aims to become the world’s largest single-use biologics manufacturing facility. Commercial production is scheduled to start in 2021, and the project is being run by the main construction partner PJ Hegarty’s, with design expertise supplied by Jacobs.


As a multi-storey pharmaceutical project consisting of four blocks, a highly efficient rainwater drainage solution was required. Ireland’s rainfall is famous the world over and the design team at Jacobs knew that siphonic drainage was simply the best solution on this site as it offered significant advantages in terms of costs savings and use of space. Pharmaceutical facilities are notoriously congested in terms of cabling, wiring, ducting, and other crucial internal building infrastructure. From power sources and ventilation to manufacturing-specific functionality, space is truly at a premium in a busy production environment, both within the walls, floors, and ceilings and throughout the plant itself.

Design expertise, coupled with excellence in manufacturing and installation would be required to overcome the significant changes posed by this project. Our team at Capcon Engineering has an international reputation as established specialists in Siphonic Drainage. And with this in mind, we were awarded the contract to design, build, and install the siphonic drainage solution required for this large-scale plant.


The work was completed over three distinct phases.


This phase began with a collaborative approach taken from the start, working closely with Jacobs, as well as the assigned mechanical and electrical engineering contractors. We needed to work closely with all to design a drainage system that worked within this specialist environment. Designs needed to avoid large intricate duct work, existing cabling and specific locations within the plant. Throughout this stage, the Capcon team ably demonstrated their design expertise and flexibility, forecasting and trouble-shooting any potential issue that might arise and factoring these concerns into our design plans. Deploying tools including BIM and Revit, among many supporting construction design systems and methodologies, we could move through the design phase with precision, confidence, and practicality. Modern construction design must also be considered in terms of ancillary certification, including standards like BCAR. A key element of our design capability is that our quality management team is in-house, ensuring we have the ability to certify and sign-off plans and design work efficiently.

With our own first-class manufacturing facility in Maynooth, Co. Kildare, we can then take our customised designs and begin to produce the hardware required to set our solution in motion. For this project, over 2,000m of HDPE pipe work was prefabricated in advance, and as with any products made in a factory setting, a higher quality and better performing solution is guaranteed compared with attempting to produce the same piping on-site. It also means we could reduce the time spent on-site, which in the context of this project was crucial. On a given day, this site was densely populated with trades, engineers, and technicians across all disciplines so keeping time on-site to a minimum was crucial.


When it came to installation, collaboration was once again a key issue. With significant traffic and activity on-site, sequencing always plays a major role in large-scale construction projects. Where possible, we worked closely with other contractors, understanding their schedules, access requirements, and more – building our installation plan around our partners, just as they did with our team. And within this challenging environment, our expert ream set to work, hanging 2000m of piping.

Our crews began by hanging all the grounds required and then hoisted our prefabricated pipework into position which were fixed to our grounds.

Following on from this we used electrofusion couplings to join the pre-fabricated pipe work and to connect to the siphonic outlets, which we supplied to the roofing contractor to install. Our co-ordination skills were well and truly tested throughout and we are happy to report that all deadlines and requirements were met on time and on schedule.


  • Coordination
    On this project, high levels of co-ordination between all stakeholders resulted in the seamless delivery of a complex, large-scale siphonic drainage solution
  • 2000m of Pipework
    Over 2,000m of pipe work designed, manufactured and installed
  • 15
    15 Independent Systems
    15 independent systems were designed, pre-fabricated, installed, air-tested and commissioned using all in-house staff
  • Reduced Costs
    Reduced costs by 30% when compared with a traditional gravity system
  • 27 Billion Litres / Year
    System designed to cater for over 854 litres per second – or almost 27 Billion litres per year
  • Expertise
    Capcon Engineering demonstrated their expertise as a true one-stop-shop for bespoke drainage solutions on large-scale industrial projects

Image and video from Wuxi Biologics Website.