The objectives of modern laboratory design include sharing of resources, ability to adapt to ever-changing needs, and flexible utilization of space. In the construction of laboratories, just like any other project, certain challenges arise. Experts offer some insights on modern lab design. It does not matter whether it is a government research facility, university laboratory, or high school science laboratory. Therefore, coordination with different stakeholders that includes the design team, financiers, and fixture manufacturers, is vital for a smooth and cost-effective construction process.
In most projects, the budget is based on previous projects and set by the accounting department. In fact, there is little input from end users. For instance, new items may not have been contemplated, like exhaust hoods for ventilation. Codes for items might have changed, and even the fire alarm is now costing twice as much. Usually, deadlines are tight, and during the conceptualization phase, it is quite challenging to focus on such details.
This is critical for any successful project. You should note that the laboratory’s overall usefulness, flexibility, cost, and quality all stem from this. It is vital that the input of end users is incorporated in all the building phases. There is a need for them to communicate their desires and needs to design teams. The next phase requires the input of the contractor, design team, and vendors. Design teams ought to collaborate to ensure that all systems fit and work together.
It is possible that end users do not understand the details of specifications and drawings. In such a case, the facilities department can act as a liaison between the contractor and the end users. The best kickoff meetings occur when all parties that include end users convene, and review all documents.
In the construction industry, technological advancements give us the ability to utilize information from past projects. It is possible that an investor may end up with a product that worked for another person, but does not fit the situation at hand. Thus, the whole team –including the designer, owner, vendor, and contractor – can be guilty of “copy-and-paste syndrome,” i.e., if it worked before, it will work again.
There are certain questions to consider that include: does the area receive a lot of traffic? Does equipment need electrostatic discharge? What types of chemicals are used? Will there be any future uses of this space? If the project is designed and a contractor chosen, it will be worst to start working backward to meet a perceived budget.