Regular review of laboratory operations includes an analysis of whether existing lab space can accommodate staff and equipment comfortably, or whether lab managers should consider adding space. Review top considerations for laboratory expansion to aid decision making.
How the Lab Is Growing
The need for additional space may arise from adding staff, an increase in the number of samples to be processed, a need for administrative space like conference rooms, or storage requirements. The reason for expansion will affect the design of additional space.
Expansion can come in two primary ways: adding space in the current location or moving to a new location. Adding space in the current location has the benefit of familiarity. Waste disposal protocols are already in place, utilities are already installed, and the location is already approved to house a laboratory.
If the current location is maxed out and no additional space is available, the decision is easy, but it spawns other questions. A new location requires a new design, and a lot of thought into whether to upgrade equipment and technology. Acquiring or leasing new space may require additional local regulatory approvals, and specialized construction or remodeling expertise to accommodate the storage and disposal of hazardous materials.
Budgets are always on a lab manager’s mind. Expansion will impose additional costs, and budgets must be in place to manage growth. Managers can save on costs by considering refurbished rather than new equipment, and by renegotiating contracts with vendors and service providers.
Small expansions might be handled by an internal team appointed to consider needs and design. But a major expansion or a move to a new location will require help from logistical and design experts. Laboratory consultancies can help with planning, budgeting, and executing an expansion, and they will think of considerations for lab expansion that staff may not have recognized. Expansion is an opportunity to review possible technical upgrades, design flexibility, and sustainability in lab operations.
A need for laboratory expansion is a positive sign for a lab’s future business. Accomplished thoughtfully, an expansion can provide enough space for years of successful operation.