BOX 3.1 Types of Code Requirements That Affect Most Laboratory Construction Projects

  • Ventilation—to maintain comfort and occupational health

  • Fire prevention—to detect and suppress fires, in part by limiting quantities of flammable and hazardous chemicals

  • Emergency power supply—to maintain operation of vital life-safety systems such as egress lighting, fire detection, and protection systems during electrical interruption

  • Control of hazardous gases—to reduce the risk from and to control accidental releases of gases

  • Building height—to limit the height of laboratory buildings based on chemical usage

  • Seismic requirements—to reduce the hazards posed by earthquakes

or state level. Scheduling the obtaining of permits required for construction will help prevent unnecessary delays in a project.

It is important to give permit-granting agencies early notification of significant construction projects within their jurisdiction so that they can anticipate their workload and staffing needs. Agency professionals can offer guidelines and insight into unique local needs that could influence a building project. Agencies in some jurisdictions like to set up a single point of contact between the agency and representatives of the project team, usually the client and architect project managers, to facilitate and coordinate the exchange of important information and to establish a good working relationship. One benefit of this structure is that it minimizes the number of people who have to spend time learning the unique processes and procedures of the organizations involved, thus optimizing communication. When an agency has clear and sufficient information about a complicated research facility construction project before actual plans are submitted, it can move more quickly through the required approval and permitgranting process.

Generally, a project must comply with building, fire, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical codes at the local level that may be prescriptive or performance based. Because agencies have widely varying levels of experience in evaluating complex facilities like research buildings, outside experts can be a valuable investment toward timely inspection of plans and construction site activities. Some codes allow hiring mutually acceptable outside experts for plan review and construction inspection, should the agency need the added expertise or personnel to expedite a project.

Local codes often include nationally recognized standards developed by organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and

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