5 Key Factors for laboratory site selection

If you are thinking of building a new lab or expanding your existing one, you might face some challenges with finding the right site. Below are the 5 Key Factors to Think About When Choosing a Site for Your Lab Project or say 5 key factors for laboratory site selection. Different locations have different advantages and disadvantages. To help you make a smart decision, here are five things you should think about before selecting a site.

Below are the 5 key factors for laboratory site selection

Key Factor 1. Location

The first key factor for laboratory site selection is Location affects site selection in various ways. One of them is the availability of existing space. There are many pharmaceutical and biotech start-ups on the East and West coasts, but not all of them succeed. This means that there might be some lab spaces that you can reuse. However, in the Midwest, these spaces are harder to find. On the other hand, the Midwest might offer some benefits, such as lower living costs. If you cannot find an existing lab space or afford to build a new one, you might have to convert to another type of space.

Another factor is the type of science you want to do in your lab. When you compare different sites, think about how they support your scientific goals and how they affect your transportation logistics. For example, if your lab does testing, where will the samples come from? Do you need to be close to an airport or a package delivery hub? If your testing is time-sensitive, location can be crucial for site selection. Also, consider the available workforce. Do they have the skills you need or are there training centers nearby to develop those skills?

Key Factor 2. Size

The second key factor for laboratory site selection Size is another important consideration for site selection, whether you are building a new lab or renovating an existing one. When you decide how big of a space you need, try to plan ahead, not just for your current operation. Will this space still meet your needs in five years? Can you add more workstations or testing capabilities? Sometimes, multi-tenant space can be a good option for size flexibility because you might have the first chance to take over an adjacent space in the building.

Size and cost can be tricky to balance. A large open space like a warehouse might have a low cost per square foot, but it might require more upfront investment to upgrade the site utilities and structural supports. On the contrary, choosing a smaller space that might need less initial investment might not be enough for your long-term needs. Moving to another facility too soon can be more costly than choosing a site that has room for growth but needs more initial investment. It depends on when and how you want to invest in your facility.

Key Factor3. Site Utilities

The third key factor for laboratory site selection Lab functions usually needs more complex and powerful utilities than a normal building provides. For this reason, buildings that are or have been renovated for labs can help you save a lot of money. These savings can give you more flexibility for tenant improvements.

A large amount of equipment in a lab places a very high and critical demand on electrical systems. Also, clean power might be needed for highly sensitive instruments because a voltage spike can damage expensive equipment. Sample and supply inventories might also need a strong emergency power system so that the storage equipment works without interruption to prevent damage or loss caused by an outage. To bring most existing facilities in line with these demands, they will need increased electrical service and possibly a new or additional emergency generator.

Commercial plumbing systems are usually designed to accommodate an average number of restrooms and sinks in areas such as breakrooms or kitchens. Labs use many more plumbing fixtures such as lab sinks, handwash sinks, glass wash equipment, emergency eyewash/shower stations, and floor drains, all of which increase supply and drainage needs. In addition, some labs even produce waste that needs a separate drainage system. These can be either biological or chemical in nature and are not allowed in the local or city system. Changing or adding an entire plumbing system can be very disruptive. It will likely interrupt the building’s services and potentially require extensive demolition of the concrete slab.

Depending on the nature of the science and the class of the lab, the requirements of the mechanical system may be more complex. Clean rooms and isolated testing need a complicated air supply system that can affect other areas of design. For most labs, floor space is considered “prime real estate” and it might not make economic sense for it to be used for major mechanical equipment; therefore, the best option for housing mechanical equipment is usually above the ceiling or on the roof. This places extra demand on the building’s structural system.

Key Factor 4. Structural

The fourth key factor for laboratory site selection While a large open space may be ideal because of the amount of available floor space, several of those building types will need a reinforced structure to support roof-top mechanical equipment. If the space has high ceilings, installing a mezzanine level can be a cost-effective solution. Maintenance needs and ease of access to the facility’s MEP equipment will heavily influence the choice between the proposed locations.

Bringing the facility up to the current building code can create a significant cost impact. Once a small percentage of the existing structure is modified, the code requires the entire structure to be upgraded to current standards. Current code standards will always have more stringent structural requirements for earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters.

Neighboring tenants can also affect the structural environment of a potential space. Excessive noise and vibration caused by another tenant’s business operations can introduce new variables and disrupt sensitive equipment. You don’t want to build a testing lab with sensitive equipment next to an auto body shop. Measures can be taken to manage these complications, but for some operations, this is a considerable risk.

Key Factor 5: Long-term planning and projected growth

The fifth key factor for laboratory site selection, At San Diego Lab Spaces we recommend using a data-driven planning approach to site selection. Our method determines potential growth scenarios and outlines the priority of specific criteria to facilitate the site selection process. If you don’t consider how your operation will need to expand or fully understand its lifespan before selecting a facility, you could end up investing too much money in space. Think about your operational procedures: Will you need more lab or office workspace in two years; how about five years? What about storage? Will you need to grow multiple inventories at different rates? If they need to be stored within a controlled environment onsite growing these inventories will impact your utility demand and size needs.

We believe that long-term planning and projected growth are so important to the success of your facility that we have consulting team focused on it: Our Strategic Facility Planning (SFP) team helps clients analyze their current operations and then provides a roadmap for accommodating their growth: SFP works with each client understand their unique situation whether they are planning for three-years five-years or their unique growth horizon: We help our clients take proactive approach creating best space their operation by defining their needs preparing road map get there:

Ready to begin laboratory site selection?

No matter where are site selection process taking these five things into consideration will help make an informed strategic decision regarding your laboratory project: Even though there is no such thing perfect site San Diego Lab Spaces can provide design services to make what need: We here help define what looks make function your current long-term needs.

Do you know? Demand for Lab Space Increased 280% in San Diego During Pandemic

Need lab space in Boston or Cambridge? Good luck.