You have plenty of reasons all your own to consider renovating your laboratory. But once you’ve decided that it’s time for the big lab-makeover, should you build new? Or should you try to fill the old lab with new furniture and equipment? Here’s the quick version of the top ten reasons to build new compared to the top ten reasons to keep the old lab and update the contents:
Renovation is assumed to be a big money saver; however, that is not always the truth.
1. Outmoded space: Laboratory specs change, and your space just might not be up to snuff anymore. Can modern lab furniture and equipment be retrofit to your outdated space?
2. Relocating workers: Consider the cost of temporarily relocating those who are using your current lab. Could they keep working right up until the new lab is ready if you rebuild?
3. Seismic grade: Current seismic standards for your region weigh into any space’s ability to be updated. Will your old lab pass muster? Some vibration-sensitive equipment might not like the old space.
4. Energy efficiency: Consider the latest ASHRAE guidelines for energy reduction. Even with the newest, highest efficiency equipment, some lab spaces simply don’t make the grade.
5. Inappropriate repurposing: If you are repurposing a lab, you may find that the new application’s requirements will never fit the space without prohibitive alterations. Chemical labs need ductwork and HVAC equipment that may not be feasible for your old space.
6. Hidden costs: Once you dig into the ceilings, walls and floors, you and your contractors may be shocked at what you find. There’s no predicting what time-honored decisions are lurking in your way behind the bricks, mortar, plaster and cement.
7. Other spaces disrupted: Labs are usually created vertically, like an expensive wedding cake, stacked MEP systems run through unrelated workspaces. Will other departments be shut down during your renovation as well?
8. Renovations take time: If you try to continue working during the renovation with a strategy to move this department until… and wait to do this until something else… your project could stretch into many years of time-consuming and expensive waiting games.
9. Replacing the HVAC system: Let’s face it. If it’s time to renovate, the HVAC is probably already out-of-date, out-of-code, and out of usefulness. Your old HVAC probably doesn’t have the capacity to handle updates like a cleanroom, core lab, or vivarium.
10. Compare the costs: A new lab from shovel to shine may only cost 30% to 40% more than a major renovation. It’s worth it to weigh your options.
Take a look at the Top 10 reasons to renovate and find out more detail about these considerations from the experts at Lab Design News with their much longer article, “Renovate vs. new? Count down your options.”
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