Pfizer Animal Vaccine Pilot Plant Renovation

The Austin Company completed an important pilot plant and laboratory renovation project for Pfizer’s Animal Health Group in Richland, Michigan.

Project Description: 

The Austin Company completed an important pilot plant and laboratory renovation project for Pfizer’s Animal Health Group in Richland, Michigan.

Pfizer needed the facility to support and maintain all R&D manufacturing needs for bacterial and viral animal vaccine production. Dedicated equipment and facilities had to be made available immediately to meet critical R&D project timelines. These items and upgrades were essential to current and future vaccine development projects.

Pfizer and The Austin Company worked together to determine the feasibility of renovating Building 268 on Pfizer’s Richland campus, originally designed in 1981 as a drug-feed mixing facility. Based on Pfizer’s laboratory and process equipment layout requirements, Austin prepared preliminary design documents that detailed how the facility could be transformed to accommodate future needs.

Austin provided architecture, engineering and construction services for the renovation. The project needed to be completed quickly and within a limited budget. Because of these constraints, Pfizer selected design/build as the project delivery method.

Due to the nature of the research and production to be performed at the plant, the personnel and material flow through the facility was critical to obtaining approvals from the USDA.

Since the premise of the project was to create a functional facility while minimizing modifications to the building to save cost, Pfizer and Austin needed to maintain the existing utilities and large facility equipment. The main facility component that needed to be reused was a 20-year-old HVAC system. Austin developed an air balance scheme that allowed for nine, six-foot NuAire Biosafety Cabinets to be installed throughout the facility. Because the existing air-handling unit had been well maintained, only minor modifications were required to adjust the airflow. All of the mechanical and electrical equipment was designed to fit into the existing load dock and penthouse areas, allowing for maximum utilization of floor space.

Construction began while the final design phase was only 30 percent complete. Austin was able to begin construction early as a result of detailed preliminary engineering and close communication among the design team, project manager and construction manager. Managing the entire project in-house resulted in clearly-defined responsibility parameters and improved communication among partnering entities.

The 9,600 SF project was completed within six months of starting final design. Pfizer maintained an active role in the project from design through construction. This was helpful to both the Austin design team and the construction manager, allowing for quick resolutions to design and construction issues.


Project Stats: 

Austin Services Provided: Design, Engineering, Construction

Square Footage: 9,600


Richland, Michigan

Project Client: 

Pfizer, Inc.