exemplified in recently completed lab buildings,
among them the recently opened phase II of
the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s John
Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center
(NIH PNRC II), located on the western edge of
NIH’s Bethesda, Md., campus.
Eight key issues in facility planning are illuminated in the designs of these latest buildings
that merit further consideration.
WORKPLACE WITH OFFICE SPACE
Research institutions seeking more competitive advantages are looking to companies and
non-conventional institutions outside their peer
group for inspiration in the design of their facilities. Many see the workplaces created by companies such as Google and Apple as “younger” and
more interesting models of workplace design.
These facilities provide a more relaxed environment with a focus on encouraging collaboration
and increased employee comfort and satisfaction.
Figure 1: In a typical biochemistry lab building, the key cost split is architectural
disciplines approximately 40% and MEP disciplines approximately 40%. Source:
HLW International, Faithful+Gould
By Dan Watch, AIA, LEED AP
Over the next five years, the varied disci- plines of biomedical research will evolve and change in ways that reflect the
significant changes in healthcare and medical
education. Designing and planning truly state-of-the-art labs is essential not only to keeping
institutions competitive and supporting breakthrough science, but also to representing the science conducted in these buildings.
The last several years have revealed an evolution to team-based and interdisciplinary
research. Benchmarking and assigning space
to principal investigators (PIs) and their teams
is no longer the most effective way to designate
lab space. Newer benchmarks include linear feet
of bench assigned to a team and the number of
seats provided outside labs and offices for teaming and collaboration.
Yet, there are more opportunities seen in
the design of new research facilities. A few are
By John Gering, AIA and Carlie Campesi
At the time this report was compiled in June 2014, construction costs continued to show an increase. Overall, costs have risen
about 3% from 2013, and construction costs
in the R&D sector have risen about 2.9% since
January 2013. Construction costs are expected to
rise around 3% during 2014, extending into year
2015. This percentage of increase is 1% lower
than predicted in 2013, demonstrating that the
market is still in recovery mode, but experiencing
a somewhat steady path.
The construction market continues to show
signs of recovery. Although construction costs
have significantly increased, we are still not
seeing the pre-2009 increases. With market stabilization, there is cause for a positive outlook,
as well as more potential for growth in the construction industry in 2014-15.
The most significant facts about the market are:
• 2014 reflects a market in slow recovery. The current market is more stable than previous years,
and the first half of 2014 indicates a rising mar-
NIH Porter’s interior offers a more relaxed environment
than conventional research facilities, with minimal
doors and walls to encourage collaboration and increase
employee comfort and satisfaction. Images: © Alain
Changing with the times: Developments
for biomedical research labs
2014 lab construction outlook
www.labdesignnews.com Volume 18, Number 4
HVAC & Controls
Plumbing & Fire
Protection Range: 6-9%
Electrical & Security
Overhead & Profits
Site & Civil
Construction Cost by Trade
continued on page 4
ket in line with the growth
seen in 2013. The expectation is that, overall, the market in the second half of the
year is expected to continue
on that same trend.
• The overall market has
increased about 3% since
• Clients are approaching
new work, emphasizing an
increasingly tighter and
more aggressive budget
• Although still budget conscious, clients appear more
willing to initiate major
programs of work than
they had in recent years.
• Labor rates have remained relatively stable
from last year. This is particularly the case
with the unions.
• Growth in the broader construction sector, for
example, major development projects and high-
end multi-family projects, should adversely
affect the availability of skilled workers. This
shortfall could drive higher unit costs.
• The broader market continues to exhibit healthy