From inception to maintenance – How to plan realistic timelines for your new or renovated lab

“Rome,” as the saying goes, “wasn’t built in day.” And, unfortunately, nor are specialised and sophisticated labs. This may seem completely self-evident at first; but, in our experience, there are instances in which a client, however well-informed, will not have formulated realistic timelines regarding the different phases of a project’s development.

The consequences of overlooking properly considered timelines could be disastrous: important deadlines will be missed and, in the effort to meet unrealistic demands, quality could be compromised upon. To avoid this unnecessary complication, we thought it may prove helpful to briefly chat about timelines that should be expected when undertaking the renovation or building of a new lab.

  • Predesign Phase – Getting Organized

The predesign phase forms the foundation of the entire project, and success certainly begins with solid groundwork. It’s here that budgets are set and design briefs are created (specifying, amongst others, everything that the lab should accommodate, including: staff, chemicals, samples and equipment). During this phase, guides and manuals are sourced from suppliers, and the exact objectives for the lab are clearly identified: e.g. better workflow, increased storage, energy efficiency, etc. A specialist like Beryl Labs can guide you through this, but much of the work remains internal. Set aside a minimum of 4 weeks for this crucial part of the process.

  • First Design Draft

As the first design draft is a culmination of all the lab needs and budget constraints discussed in the predesign phase, at least 2 weeks are required for an optimal design to be developed.

  • Subsequent drafts

No matter how well the first design draft answers to the brief, some refinements and alterations should be anticipated. 1 week per subsequent draft is reasonable, and a total of at least 2 subsequent drafts should be expected (making this phase 2 weeks).

  • Quotation

1 week must be assigned for the initial quote, and as quote revisions are almost inevitable, another week must be also be allocated for adjustments – bringing the total to 2 weeks.

  • Procurement

This phase may vary in length, and is often underestimated – resulting in frustrations, missed deadlines and severe pressures on incorrectly budgeted resources. The duration is highly dependent on the client’s procurement department’s internal processes, but a good average is the timeframe of 4 to 6 weeks.

  • Equipment manufacturing and delivery

Quality equipment forms a large part of expenditure, and one has to ensure that adequate time is allowed for equipment manufacture and delivery to site. A fair estimate here is between 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Installation and commissioning

Fitting the lab’s equipment correctly is a process that must be given its due provision of time. This phase does vary, but a practical expectation is between 2 to 4 weeks.

  • Post-commissioning maintenance

Keeping your new lab in top notch condition is a must, so we highly recommend that a 6-12 month maintenance contract be put in force immediately after the lab has been commissioned.

Given Beryl Labs’ expert knowledge and truly impressive experience, we are fully enabled to help clients develop realistic timelines that can be relied upon to deliver the final product on time and within budget. Please feel free to contact us with your questions, and start your lab build or renovation off on the right foot.