• FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment)
costs. These include desks, workstations,
chairs, conference room furniture, furniture
for common or break areas, file cabinets,
coat hooks, artwork, and more.
• Moveable and benchtop equipment.
• IT, Telecom, computer cabling, and the
• Audiovisual equipment.
In addition, this report does not include
so-called “soft costs”, such as:
• Architect/engineer design service fees and
• Construction change orders and owner’s
• Legal fees.
• Permits and filing fees.
• Unpredictable costs, such as land, financing, moving and relocation costs, associated with renovations.
Cost indexing is based on construction costs
in the New York Tri-State Metropolitan Area.
This analysis includes parts of New York, New
Jersey, and Connecticut within 50 to 75 miles of
midtown Manhattan. All boroughs of New York
City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and
Staten Island) are excluded from the base cost
index because of higher labor rates and logistical
costs. A separate index has been prepared for
New York City. While the costs in the outer boroughs are slightly less than those in Manhattan,
they are all above the 100 index point.
COSTS BY TRADE
Figure 1 shows the allocation of construction
costs for a typical biochemistry lab building
(100,000 to 200,000 sf). The cost split for
architectural work is approximately 40% and
the same for MEP.
COSTS BY FACILITY TYPE
Figure 2 shows the range of construction
costs per gsf by the type of research facility.
Assumptions for each facility and the forecast
average percentage changes (for a mid-cost
range facility) are as follows:
• Biomedical. A mix of biology and chem-
istry functions, typical of university and
medical school life sciences facilities. Cost
increase from 2013: 1%.
• Animal research. Discovery-phase animal
research, procedural spaces, non-GLP systems. Cost increase from 2013: 1%.
• Toxicology. Safety evaluation phase R&D,
Phase 1-4 testing, GLP systems. Cost
increase from 2013: 1%.
• Biology research. Full range of basic and
developmental biology sciences. Cost
increase from 2013: 1%.
Areas which may cause a variation in cost/
• Program space: the lab-to-office mix ratio
(expensive space vs. inexpensive space).
• Floor-to-floor height.
• Use of interstitial mechanical space.
• Exterior wall material and area. The average building has a floorplate configuration
whereby the aggregate exterior wall area is
within 50% of the building’s total gsf. Any
deviation affects the cost/sf.
• Perimeter of the exterior wall (
perime-ter-to-floor area ratio).
• The efficiency of the floor space.
• Extent of system redundancies.
• Type of casework (fixed or flexible, metal
• Soil conditions and their effect on foundation design.
• Extraordinary degrees of vibration intolerance.
• Use of sole-source manufacturers.
• Restrictive site conditions.
• Lab finishes (vinyl composite tile and
epoxy paint vs. synthetic flooring and high-build epoxy finishes).
COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH SUSTAINABLE
Sustainable design features and practices con-
tinue to grow with respect to research facilities
(despite the fact that no formal LEED standard
has yet to be established by the U.S. Green
Building Council for this building type). This
has resulted in increasing numbers of examples
and data points with which to develop metrics
and base trends. Based on our experience and
analysis we offer the following response to the
question most often asked by Clients: “What is
the cost premium to design and build a green
or LEED building?”
The answer depends on a variety of key
factors which vary significantly from project
to project, including:
• What are we comparing “green” to?
18 OCTOBER 2014 ALNmag.com
Depending on individual client standards,
project location, and local customary building techniques, the project that is being
used as the basis of comparison might
already be well on its way to a LEED specification status. In certain areas compliance
with enhanced building codes has already
raised the bar on many projects.
• What costs are included? Capital costs are
classified into direct, indirect, and soft
costs. There are direct costs related to the
LEED registration and certification process.
Prerequisites include fundamental commissioning which may entail as much as a 1%
project cost increase. However, commissioning for a research facility is not only
good practice but common practice.
• When is sustainable design considered?
Good design should incorporate sustainable
principles. This works best if begun at the
very early stages. Issues such as building
orientation and massing do not typically
cost any additional money to analyze properly in the design stage but can be costly if
considered later. When initiatives overlap,
synergies occur, enhancing their impact.
Based on selected analysis, the step from
basic responsible lab building design to a LEED
Version 3.0 certified level (minimum of 40 to
49 points) may represent a construction cost
premium ranging between 3 to 5% above usual
predictable costs. As we reach for higher levels of
certification, assuming these can be achieved, the
premiums grow. However, the beneficial impacts
on lifecycle costs (total cost of ownership) should
be recognized as a valuable initial capital investment. These initial costs represent a fraction of
the total life cycle costs for ownership. Research
facilities consume extreme quantities of energy
(i.e. water and electricity). Therefore more efficient design and equipment, though perhaps
more costly, quickly become cost benefits.
John Gering, AIA, is managing partner
and Carlie Campesi is senior associate,
Director of R&D Design, both with HLW
International LLP, New York, N.Y. (www.hlw.
com). Additional information was provided
by Christopher Baxter, VP, and Ed Bullwinkle,
technical director, both with consulting firm
Faithful+Gould ( www.fgould.com).