Condition Assessments

Supporting a facility throughout its lifetime requires ongoing knowledge of the condition of the building. Condition assessments should therefore be done regularly to provide building information for appropriate maintenance and identification of necessary repairs.

The daily walk-through by the building engineer is an informal condition assessment, providing information on the immediate needs of the building. The building engineer also uses this information, coupled with the operations and maintenance manuals, to plan operating and maintenance activities for a week or month at a time.

Condition assessments are also performed on a more formal basis by the client's facilities staff or by professionals contracted for this activity. These more formal assessments are performed to determine building deficiencies and to develop project scope of work and cost estimates. This is done to decide on the work and budget required for both short-term projects and long-term facility plans.


To address process issues during the several phases of a laboratory construction or renovation project, the committee recommends the following actions:

  1. Develop a planning and decision-making process. Planning should include all relevant participants. Decisions should not be revisited without cause.

  2. Implement a predesign phase. Predesign, involving a design professional, maximizes end results.

  3. Designate a single point of contact for each group. This individual will coordinate all information exchange within the group and with the other (client, design, and contractor) groups.

  4. Maintain control of the budget. Detailed cost estimates should be completed and reviewed at the conclusion of each phase. A clear process for handling change orders should be developed before construction begins.

  5. Establish a system for rigorous review and approval of documents. Design documents should be carefully reviewed and approved by the client group representative at the end of each phase.

  6. Establish and implement a process for building commissioning. Building commissioning should include the production of operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals, updated construction documents ("as-builts") and drawings, systems testing, and training. There should also be a postoccupancy evaluation.

  7. Owners should be good stewards. Beginning at the planning stage and continuing for the life of the laboratory facility, owners must provide adequate funding and staffing for operation and maintenance of the buildings.

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