GMO containment facilities

GMO facility certification. A yellow certificate that indicates the certification level of the GMO facility

Example of a PC2 facility door sign. A rectangular orange sign that indicates the certification details of a GMO facility.

Certified facilities

Certain work with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) must be undertaken in facilities that are certified by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR). Facilities are certified by the Regulator if they are satisfied that they meet the containment requirements set out in the relevant guidelines.

There are four levels of containment established by the OGTR guidelines. These are in ascending order of the stringency of containment requirements:

  • Physical containment level 1 (PC1)
  • Physical containment level 2 (PC2)
  • Physical containment level 3 (PC3)
  • Physical containment level 4 (PC4)

For PC2 level containment, there are specific types of facilities for plant, animal, invertebrate, aquatic and large grazing animal containment. 

A certified facility can be identified by the OGTR signage on the facility entrance door.

Non-certified facilities

The IBC may approve certain exempt dealings be conducted in non-certified facilities, such as standard ‘PC1’ research or teaching laboratories.

The Regulator has released guidance notes for the containment of exempt dealings  . These notes are provided as guidance only to persons conducting exempt dealings and may be of assistance in determining how to undertake exempt dealings with regard to avoiding intentional release. The guidance notes do not replace IBC advice on exempt dealings.

Exempt dealings can also be undertaken in facilities of a higher level of containment, eg. in PC2 facilities.

Certified facility guidelines

View the OGTRs facility guidelines

Some facility certifications may have exemptions to certain conditions, or alternative conditions, approved by the Regulator. You must comply with any standard operating procedures for a certified facility you are working in.

Requesting a new facility certification

To request an area be certified as a physical containment facility by the OGTR:

a variation, suspension, lift of suspension and surrender.

Requesting changes to certification

Types of changes:

  • varying a certification to add or remove rooms
  • suspending acertification
  • lifting a suspension
  • surrendering a certification

Use this form to request changes to a facility certification.

Personnel must confirm that they fully understand the behavioural requirements for working in OGTR certified facilities by completing a record of their training. The Facility Manager must keep a record of those trained, which will be made available to the OGTR if requested.

Facility Managers should ensure that all personnel are adequately trained before commencing work in a certified facility and that records of training are maintained. The IBC maintains a register of all training for which a form is completed and sent to the IBC. The following 'Record of Training' form should be routinely completed and forwarded as indicated.

Record of Training form

  • Record of training 

How to submit a Record of Training

Provide a copy of the above Record of Training to the Facility Manager for each PC2 facility you will be working in, and also submit a copy to the IBC using this link

Working in non-university PC2 facilities

University personnel working physically within another organisation's premises/facility should check with the IBC of the other organisation to determine the requirements for investigators.

Personnel should be aware of the necessity to follow the rules, regulations or policies of another IBC if working in another organisation's premises or facilities and thereby the requirement to meet both organisation's compliance protocols.

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