US Department of Homeland Security

National Bio and Agro Defense Facility

High-performance design supporting high-consequence research and diagnostics.

The National Bio and Agro Defense Facility (NBAF) is the new home to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s biodefense efforts. The building replaces the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York — a facility over 60 years old, too small to house growing research, and not suited for the study of BSL-4 microbes and biological agents. NBAF’s functions are research and the development of countermeasures to combat high-consequence biological threats involving human, zoonotic, and foreign animal diseases. AEI’s MEP design ensures these functions are met safely and securely.

Due to the nature of NBAF’s research, design features were built to exceed industry standards, and to reduce risk and potential of accidental release from the research laboratories. The facility includes a central utility plant and research building, featuring biocontainment labs, cold rooms, fermentation rooms, imaging, and a 70,000 square foot life sciences lab.

The MEP design protects the facility with pressurization and airflow strategies, HEPA filtration, dedicated piping systems to containment areas, and properly sealing MEP systems at the containment barrier. The central utility plant supports the site and provides standby power sources, enabling the campus to access 15 days of fuel in the event of an emergency.

NBAF’s structural and containment building integrity standards (meeting Biosafety in Microbiological Laboratories, ARS Facilities Design Standards, CDC Design and Construction Standards, and the Unified Facilities criteria guidelines) enables the Department of Homeland Security and Agriculture to fulfill their related homeland defense research, development, testing, and evaluation responsibilities with reduced risk and maximum safety.


Manhattan, KS


  • Flad Affiliated Corp - Design Architect
  • Merrick & Company - MEP Engineer
  • Perkins&Will - Architect of Record
  • WSP - MEP Engineer

LEED Status


Building Size

520,000 square feet

Project Delivery

  • Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR)


  • ENR Midwest 2023 Project of the Year

The effluent decontamination tanks. Courtesy of USDA NBAF Office of Communications.

The year NBAF started research and development

Project Leaders