design decisions are frozen, to obviate costly later changes in design or construction. Because cost considerations will influence these decisions, initial and revised cost estimates should be obtained in the initial phases and throughout the project, so that cost decisions can be made in a rational manner. Finally, adequate contingencies should be allocated, because even with the best planning, some changes will be necessary.

To address the technical issues in a laboratory design, construction, or renovation project, the committee recommends the following actions:

  1. Appoint an environmental health and safety technical advisor. An experienced EH&S professional is needed to advise the client team in all phases of a laboratory construction or renovation project.

  2. Establish communications with regulatory authorities. Early in the project the institution should develop a working relationship with regulatory authorities whose approvals are necessary for various aspects of the project.

  3. Consider design alternatives. Explore alternative solutions for fulfilling needs.

  4. Complete predesign before committing to a budget. If possible, defer setting the budget total until completion of the schematic design phase, when the scope, concept, and special conditions of the project are determined.

  5. Obtain cost estimates. Construction cost estimates should be obtained from at least two separate, experienced sources, and the estimates should be reconciled at the end of each phase. Develop a list of project cost items as early as possible. Carefully review all bids, and compare them to design-phase estimates.

  6. Set adequate contingencies. Even with the best planning, some changes will be necessary.

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