Checklist to assist with refurbishing a laboratory with a tight budget

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Looking to save a few dollars and coordinate the refurbishment of your secondary school laboratory? At Modulab, we have been supporting schools and their laboratories for over 20 years and it is a privilege to support education departments in the self-management of laboratory refurbishments.

There are many unknowns in the refurbishment of an educational laboratory, and in some cases the more you peel back in demolition, the more the unexpected costs start coming out of the woodwork. This checklist is a simple and helpful guide by the Modulab team to assist in with the budgeting and elimination of oversights for your proposed space.

Design and Estimation of Fitout

Looking for a low-cost design and drawing set to kick start you’re budgeting? Modulab has an excellent consultancy offer that includes free room assessment, lean flow analysis, detailed floor schematics, Design layout concept and detailed costing valued at $4750CAD.

Laboratory Services

If building to a tight budget, look at keeping new services close as possible to the old services. This can save a substantial amount of time, effort and money tracing the services under the floor or into concrete flooring to new locations. Consider wireless data to eliminate data cable around the room. Keep cold water to the student pods to eliminate extensive plumbing with the hot water. Ensure you consider the time of plumbers and electricians by acquiring a few detailed quotes. Understand and maintain clarity around their inclusions e.g. have they included cabling, hardware, drainage and water pipe etc.? Services you will need to consider include:

• Plumber – Natural or LPG Gasses
• Electrician – Single Phase Power
• Electrician – Wireless or cable data
• Plumber – Drainage
• Plumber – Hot and Cold Water
• Plumber – Optional – Inline Vacuum

Laboratory Hardware

Consider vandal proof and WELS rated taps from Modulab. These are pretty low cost and will stand the test of time. Uniform sets are available of hardware such as hot and cold single mixer taps, single or multiple outlet gas turrets, bench eyewash units and combination safety shower and eyewash stations. There are quite a few regulations around the location of hardware and its proximity to other services and you are more than welcome to speak with a Modulab projects member for some tips on positioning and compliance. Hardware for consideration:

• Single Taps
• Mixer Taps
• Wash up Taps
• Gas Turrets
• Distilled Water turrets
• Safety Showers
• Eyewash Stations
• Lockable Mushroom Switch
• Power and Gas Isolator valves

Laboratory Flooring

If you are replacing flooring, look at commercial vinyl. Commercial vinyl normally carries a grain right through the whole layer so patterns and textures are less likely to wear off over time. It is a great idea to look at ways flooring can be placed prior to the installation of cabinet work. This can save a lot of dollars by eliminating the need to cove the nook and crannies of cabinetry. Modulab has some simple systems to assist with this method of flooring. Get a few quotes, flooring costing varies considerably depending on the company you choose to estimate.

Laboratory Finishing

Don’t overlook your painter and plasterer and depending on the condition of your existing room, get a few quotes from these guys to ensure your new refurb looks great.

Laboratory Cabinetry and Benchtop

Look for ROI as well as a reasonable price when it comes to the joinery package. Consider the Modulab E-Pod System. Think about using complete student pods with the PP sinks prefabricated and built in. Look at benchtop properties carefully. Obtain some samples and do your own testing. Modulab Chemtemp Extreme is an all-time favourite for lab managers and technicities when it comes to education laboratory benchtop. This solid epoxy compound can stand acids, bases, high temp and best of all it is recoverable and easy to maintain!

Laboratory Lighting

If it is available in your area, consider the government lighting replacement programs for replacing old lighting with new energy-efficient lighting. This won’t always be available but is a great way to obtain 21st-century lighting at a very low or no cost. Otherwise, it’s a great deal to get some quotes and ideas from the electricians quoting on other works.

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