Reclaiming Valuable Research Laboratory Space: Measuring the Cost of Renewal

Michael Blayney, Northwestern University
Markus Schaufele, Northwestern University

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Laboratory space is inherently expensive to design, build and maintain. If lab space becomes filled with obsolete equipment, then it becomes a potential liability rather than a productive asset. The authors at Northwestern University discuss a project to renew existing space for a tiny fraction of the cost of building new space.

Learning Objectives

  • Laboratory space is expensive to design, build and maintain;
  • Most research space growth is in biological and biomedical sciences;
  • For new research space $700 per sf is a planning estimate. Reclaiming existing research space offers a high return; and
  • Successful researchers can outgrow their assigned research space quickly, which can lead to unsafe research space compression.


Michael B. Blayney, PhD has served as the Executive Director of the Office for Research Safety at Northwestern University since August of 2012. Michael has nearly thirty-seven years of experience as a safety and health specialist. Michael has published a number of peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and produced a number of multimedia training programs. Michael's work has received recognition from professional societies and government agencies.

Markus Schaufele, MS, CSP Manager, Standards, Compliance and Emergency Planning in Research Safety at Northwestern University. His expertise and interest center on laboratory safety, chemical hygiene, industrial hygiene and emergency planning. He is a member of ASSP, the CSHEMA Laboratory Safety Community of Practice and is a board member of the I2SL Great Lakes Chapter.


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