This elevated catwalk allows forensic photographers
to get aerial views of evidence and crime scene
reconstructions. Image: Photography © Frank Ooms
Concept rendering of the new Colorado Bureau of Investigation Forensics Lab in Pueblo.
Image: Roth Sheppard Architects
2015 lab renovation
continued from page 25
By: Brian Holthaus, Senior Project Manager,
JE Dunn Construction
For general contractors (GC), building a forensics lab is as unique and com- plex as the work that goes on inside.
Each department in a forensics facility has
distinct requirements, so each becomes
its own construction project. Learning
the nuances involved in highly specialized
scientific work requires the building owner,
designer and GC communicate and collaborate on the project from the beginning.
I’ve had the opportunity in my role as
Senior Project Manager for JE Dunn Construction to work on several highly technical
forensic lab projects. In each project, we’ve
had some hits and misses, but we’ve learned
valuable lessons along the way. Nationally,
JE Dunn has worked on $1.4 billion worth
of lab projects in the past 10 years, including
six forensic lab projects—some completed
and some still in progress. The forensics
projects have been as diverse as converting
a former bomber hangar at Offut Air Force
Base in Omaha to a forensic lab facility, to
constructing a 73,650-sf, three-story forensic facility with office, lab and atrium space
for the Denver Police Dept.
One of our current forensic lab projects is
the 21,000-sf Colorado Bureau of Investi-
gation (CBI) Forensic Science Crime Lab in
Pueblo, which is estimated to be completed
in August (2015) at a construction cost of
about $8 million. The lab space includes
chemical and toxicology areas, latent analy-
sis functions, evidence collection and stor-
age, DNA testing and serology functions.
DENVER CRIME LAB
The Denver crime lab is one of the
most technologically advanced evi-dence-handling and analysis facilities in
Colorado. Investigative units that were
scattered throughout the city—crime
scene investigation, forensic chemistry,
trace evidence, firearms and toolmarks,
latent prints, forensic imaging and photographic analysis, forensic DNA, quality
assurance and crime scene volunteer
units—are now unified in one location.
The lab is part of the larger Denver
Police Dept. complex, with underground
increase from 2014: 2.8%. Class 100 facilities
are suitable for sterile filling and preparations. Cost increase from 2014: 2.8%.
• BSL- 3 lab spaces. Cost increase from
• BSL- 4 lab spaces. Cost increase from
• Greenhouse. Cost increase from 2014:
• K- 12 biology/chemistry teaching labs.
Cost increase from 2014: 2.9%.
• Advanced physical science research facilities. Unique state-of-the-art facilities with
apparatus that replicates nature itself. Cost
increase form 2014: 2.9%.
• Nanotechnology research facilities (
excluding tool equipment). Cost increase from
As noted in Figure 1, facilities that fall
into identical categories may display a fairly
broad range of sf renovation costs. Level of
invasiveness is the determining factor. The
low end of the cost range represents mini-
mally invasive works, such as:
• Cosmetic upgrade of lab space (coun-
tertops and finishes).
• Modest additional infrastructure in the
form of additional outlets or piped service
• Minor replacement of in-lab, above-ceil-ing MEP outlets, ductwork and lighting.
• Minor bench removal and reconfiguration.
• Minor repartitioning, new doorways to
create new spaces or links between spaces.
The high end of the range assumes the
total replacement of lab corridor and support space, including MEP infrastructure.
Everything in between represents an
increasing extent of system replacement, new
construction and quality of finishes.
As a practical matter, small-scale focused refurbishments are a popular method of implementing improvements to the lab environment
in response to the volatile and fast-moving
pressures of the R&D market place. Limited
in both scope and cost, easily implements in a
short period of time, these targeted upgrades
are an effective method of achieving improvements to meet evolving demands.
Figure 2 shows typical small-scale refurbishment costs in the New York Tri-State
John Gering, AIA, is managing partner with
HLW International LLP, New York, N. Y. (www.
hlw.com). Additional information was provided
by Ed Bullwinkle, technical director, with consulting firm Faithful+Gould ( www.fgould.com).