Future-proofing Your Facility: What Happens When the Cure is Found?

Wednesday, September 20, 10:15 - 11:15 AM

Laboratory buildings are expected to last 50 years or longer yet the science they support changes at a faster pace. This presentation will examine how flexibility and current trends in scientific discovery impact building design. The following questions will guide the discussion:

  • When science is no longer required, how does a facility accommodate change?
  • How is the success of a facility defined in the long term?
  • If there is no longer a need to support the science, is there an “exit strategy”?
  • What is required to keep a facility vital throughout its effective life?

Science is evolving at a rapid pace, yet buildings are designed and constructed to be long-lived based on current scientific understanding and technologies. During the design and construction phases, which last at least three to five years, the initial premise for which the project was designed may dramatically change. How do designers and clients protect their investments from being programmatically obsolete before the building has reached the limits of its useful and functional life? The concept of anticipatory change will assist clients in working with their design team to future-proof the facility and reduce the amount of money it takes to make facility modifications.

This presentation will define the differences between flexibility and adaptability and the ways in which it impacts building design. In addition, the session will investigate the current trends in scientific discovery and how the path taken will influence the design of future facilities to be resilient and accommodating. Trends in mechanical design will be examined to understand the ability to “right size” infrastructure to reduce first and long-term operating costs while instituting effective strategies enabling facility modification to respond to evolving scientific needs. Further, attendees will learn about how to recognize the ways in which technology (IT) is influencing the design of labs and understand and utilize the available techniques to accommodate flexibility for what may lie ahead in the future.