Author: Aaron Budai - Amicus Labline Director
Identifying a good fit for purpose building can be a real struggle for some companies. This issue is heightened when the building needs to house a laboratory. It is likely to cause tension between head office, administration and executive team who may prefer to be in a high-rise office block and the laboratory standards.
If this tension is not resolved, then it often leads to what I refer to as a ‘Dead Money’ investment. That refers to the costs of converting a space unsuitable for lab fitout to deliver that function. These are costs bourn that are deemed to add little or no value to the building and are therefore rarely picked up by the landlord. They can be very expensive and rarely forecasted when estimating the cost of a lab construction. When you are initially approached by the Board and asked, “How much will it cost to move?”. It’s the cost of putting the proverbial round plug in a square hole.
When it comes to laboratory standards and guidelines, many, if not all the issues detailed below can be solved if your property team knows the right questions to ask and/or the specifications required to deliver your laboratory’s function.
Some obvious ones that you should consider are:
When it comes to meeting laboratory standards, our engineering partners will always tell you that money can solve most problems. By that they mean, they can engineer a solution to achieve your outcome. But there are costs that are specific to location and wouldn’t be incurred if the right space was identified in the first instance.
Let me provide some recent examples:
Conversely, a building that easily meets the functional laboratory standards ensures that every dollar invested into the lab fitout is an efficient use of capital. It is more likely to be an investment in your output rather than in the infrastructure to get the building to a baseline that would otherwise have been available at another site.
Generally, to keep your ‘Dead Money’ build cost down while meeting laboratory standards, the ideal solution for a laboratory is a single-story warehouse with private access. These tend to be in more industrial parts of town, thus the tension when the executive, sales and operations teams want to be in the CBD. It will really come down to a cost-benefit analysis and the priorities of each organisation.
My point is that your organisation will be well-placed to make these decisions, only if it understands the inputs and variables of the cost of build and the impact to budget of the location and property choices being made.
Aaron’s family has been designing and fitting out laboratories for over 35 years. Needless to say, he has a comprehensive knowledge of the design and delivery of laboratory projects. Aaron always enjoys engaging with our clients to understand their requirements and challenges, and he prides himself on finding solutions that work well for all stakeholders.