Research Renovation Guide
CF’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety works closely with Facilities Planning to ensure that facility changes meet all applicable code and safety standards. When considering new research projects, the workspace must be reviewed to determine if it is appropriate for the proposed process. When room modifications are needed, they are requested with a Minor Project Request Form. These following 5 points and accompanying questionnaire identify the major considerations to avoid delays in the Minor Project (MP) process.
Planning and Advance Notice
While emergency retrofit can sometimes be accommodated for a small scope, most projects will require several months of planning and design before construction begins. Please submit your request with as much advance notice as possible and consider filing your MP request when a grant proposal is submitted.
Provide Sufficient Detail
Be sure to provide sufficient details initially to fully describe the entire scope of needed services on the MP request. Include details on what power\outlets or water lines are needed for, equipment specs, and run times for processes. Consider all phases of work including added stages in future experiments. Be aware that a lack of sufficient information will delay request processing. Any changes to the proposed process or equipment that were submitted with the initial MP Request may require further review, additional engineering design, and cause delays or additional costs. It is important for the team to have all the necessary information upfront.
Appropriate Space Assignment
If the project or process requires the use of chemicals, fuels, compressed gases, hazardous materials, or if the process generates air contaminants, a ventilation review of the room will be required, even if existing processes are already present in the space. Other room design parameters must also be reviewed such as safety shower/eyewash access, appropriate flooring, adequate electrical safety features, etc. After items 1 and 2 above, attempting to retrofit a process in an inappropriate space is the number one hurdle to achieving success in moving your research forward. With enough time and information upfront, this element can be identified and resolved early on.
Consider the Secondary Implications
Many spaces have previous site conditions that will be impacted by a change or addition, which will require comprehensive inclusion in the new design. For example, locations in which chemicals and other hazardous materials have been used previously will require decontamination prior to commencement of work. Equipment that produces heat load will trigger HVAC upgrades. Older facilities may have asbestos-containing materials or insufficient electrical capacity.
Plan for the Unexpected
Be aware that if the renovation includes significant changes to the structure of the room, State Fire Marshall review is required before construction begins. Please allow for at least 30 days of review in your timeline in addition to the normal MP processing and permitting requirements. As many projects move forward, items often come to light that was not originally considered. Every attempt will be made to facilitate them within the process, but even if a design change is at the request of the researcher, any change will impact the schedule. Again, it is imperative to provide sufficient comprehensive detail at the project start.