Dear AMMRL members:

On December 12, 1999 I asked for input about the costs associated with renovating existing building space for a new NMR facility.  I received a tremendous number of responses.  Some responses focused on the needs to set up a new NMR lab (i.e. test equipment, workstations,?etc.) which we (of course) already have; however, I left many of these in for those who are interested.

The responses have been ?anonymotized? (Nebraskan, for ?made anonymous?) to protect the innocent.

Richard Shoemaker (

Well, 3 hours is absurdly ridiculous.  But we have done a couple renovations over the last couple years:  take up asbestos flooring and put in new; new paint on walls; move some air-handling mixers; new ceiling panels; redoing the old room air conditioners; getting correct electric and gas; and removing a couple walls to make smaller rooms into bigger rooms.  The cost ran about $10k per spectrometer.  Of course the details are the problem; your costs could vary dramatically depending on your particulars.  E.g., we did not need new air conditioning, but if we had (and we certainly thought about it), the cost would have been quite a bit higher.  The asbestos tile removal was quite expensive.  So on an so forth.

We recently had a first floor area remodeled for a 500 and 600 MHz instrument.  A pit was required to lower the 600 sufficiently from the upper floor.  This alone cost $50,000.  All together the bill was $150,000.  There is no ceiling, but otherwise the room was completely done over.  Ventillation, air dryers, power, some cabinetry, tile floor, lights, steps into and platform around the pit.

We did a similiar renovation of our old  machine shop here at  XYZ several years ago to house 2 750Mhz, 1 550Mhz widebore , 1 360 widebore , 1 400Mhz widebore  and provide nmr electronic shop space and a computer room with a new constant temperature air conditioning system and ups for all the instruments it ran about $1.1million. our smaller labs which house 2 500Mhz in one room and 1 500 and 1 600 in a second room ran about $150,000.

Costs are pretty high here in [Large East-Coast Population Center], so you might be able to do bettter.

My facility was recently relocated at a cost of about $500,000.  Ouch.  My lab is about 4000 square feet and houses/will-be-housing an FT-MS, a GC-MS, a Moessbauer, an FT-IR, a couple of Unix workstations, three offices, a shop, a 600, two 500s, a 400, and two 300s.  Oh yeah, and an EPR.
Your costs may vary.   We went with overkill on the air handler (75 kW) which runs off of chilled water supplied by physical plant (no, wait, it?s the department of facilities...just like purchasing is procurement - more dignified, but quite a pain in the ass to find in the campus phone book).
We also paid about $70k to have six NMRs moved.  You can move 200s and 300s at field for nothing if you have the nerve and a few corn-fed helpers.
These costs included air handling and ducts ($155k), chilled water supply to about six locations in the lab (we only use one, so we have much excess capacity), sprinklers, lights & wiring (480, 220, 208, 115) ($100k), net drops (too many), phone lines, painting, redone floor tiles, new office partitions & doors ($23k), one hood (including the blower on the roof) ($11k), air and nitrogen lines running to every instrument that needs it (and even a few that don?t - just in case), and new lab furniture (desks, tables for computers and bench-top instruments, chairs).  Also included were $46k for fees (?), $12k for project (mis)management, and $35k for ?contingency?.  After all this, there were still many things wrong, including a square window in one of the lab doors that is cocked about 10 degrees off of horizontal (nice!).

Hopefully your cost will be somewhat less, given that you probably don?t suffer from ucc or ?urban contractor collusion.?
Realistically, I would say that we could have saved $40k by getting a smaller air handler, and probably another $10k by getting fewer lights.  We could have also saved a little here and there with fewer net drops, smaller chilled water capacity, and fewer 115AC outlets.  Not getting new furniture would also save you $15k.  I would estimate that my lab could have been done for $400k, had it not been for some pretty ridiculous institutional codes that mandated things like having the room lights be able to reproduce the photon flux 100 meters from the surface of the sun (we only keep half the lights on, all of the time).
When looking at air handling capacity, remember that newer instruments are more compact and therefore produce less heat because their ICs are always getting smaller.  Unfortunately, the air handlers typically have big quanta when you go from one to the next, so you may end up being in the middle and going with the larger, just to be sure.

In your neck of the woods I would guess you can do it for between $250k and $300k.

I would tell them $2 million.  I base my estimate on the fact that you don't seem eager to move.  They will probably be put off  by this figure.  On the other hand, you should be able to do the renovation for under $1 million, and if you are creative this could make you a millionaire faster than sitting next to Regis Filbin.

When we did a minimal remodel in preparation for installation our 600 it cost nearly $30K and it seemed like we hardly did anything!  work done:

You will probably need more serious HVAC work, cabinets, room dividers.
Make them install good lights and QUIET ductwork.  Fume Hood?
I would suggest multiplying this figure by the number of instruments and then quadrupling it! (or more)
How are your ceiling heights?
If the console spacings would be less than optimum, ask for new flat panel LCD monitors for each computer.
(We just got one of the new Sun 18.1? monitors... it is really nice!)

We did something very similar to what you describe several years ago. We renovated enough space for 3 500's and 3 300's including air conditioning, gas supplies, internet wiring, etc. The cost was around $200,000 as I recall. I have someone in Campus Planning looking up a more exact figure. I'll send it to you if I get it before the end of today.
>>> followup
The exact number was $190,955.27. How's that for irrelevant significant figures?
If I can be of any further help, let me know.

Just for your reference,  we are building an addition to house a 800, and two 600s and two 700s, with overlapping 10 Gauss line and straight field outside the lab (in a restricted area). The estimated cost at this moment is about $600,000.00.  The ceiling is 17 feet and single level from the ground ( the space used to be a parking lot next to the building). No shielding to the top (roof) or bottom (ground). The lab also house a cyroprobe assembly.
In (our) area and the economy so great these days, cost will be very high!

8 gray hairs/instrument if everything goes well :).  5 years ago, Varian moved one of our instruments across the street for 30k and didn?t seem to guarantee that it would work when they were done.  Our renovation was part of a larger process.  The green stuff didn?t pass anywhere close to us, so all I can do is remind you of stuff to not forget.  Build a faraday cage, brass screen on all walls, floors, and ceilings.  Pipe the helium boil off away from the room in 2? copper pipes so the He can?t soften your vacuum.

The ceilings should be at least 10 feet.  Put in skylights, or at least knock a hole in the wall so you can see daylight.

I haven?t had to move a NMR facility (I was located in the basement when I was NMR Lab Mgr. at XXX  State) .  [regarding moving a lab at another location?] I believe the highest field was 500. The prices are ballpark and I could be way off on the real cost but $300,000 at least.  Add more for the X-ray facilities.
Good luck,  you?ll need it.

We moved our 300 MHz system into a new lab 3 years ago.  Off-hand, I don?t know the cost of renovations for the lab, which may not be applicable in your case (2 floors, includes lab space for 3 research groups in addition to the NMR space).

However, it cost us $15,000  (Canadian dollars) just to move the spectrometer and magnet into the new lab space in the same building.

It cost somewhere around $750,000 to prepare the area where our 800, two 600s, 400, and 500 are located.  That includes compressor, dryer, UPS, environmental control, etc.  This may be a little on the high side because of the 800.  Hope this is some help.

I just finished moving a 300 and 400 into space that was previously 2 traditional wet labs, each with dimensions ~ 20?x40?.
Work entailed ripping out center island benches, knocking a doorway between the labs, closing off another doorway, knocking down some non-loadbearing walls, reducting HVAC and sprinkler systems to accommodate raising the suspended ceiling over magnets, new floor tiles for one lab, connecting to electrical, house N2 and house He (located in hallway behind labs) and wiring 8 ethernet connections and 3 phone lines.  Cost for this part of the work was ~$45,000 (Philadelphia prices).  Instrument moving (local) by Bruker or Varian will run you about $15000/instrument (industrial pricing).
My advice: make sure to try for every feature you could possibly desire and/or afford in your new lab space.  You will never have a better opportunity to rework your lab?s infrastructure and design.
Good luck!

We refurbished a 20 x 25 foot space for a single 500 actively-shielded magnet for $65,000
It would be good advice to go into this with a $100,000 budget.  I was pretty creative in working with the university architect to keep costs down.

The big ticket items were:

Because this was an actively shielded magnet, we didn?t have to absorb costs of adaptations in any rooms around us. I don?t have a more detailed budget I can get to you by 6 o?clock.
There is a lof of little stuff that comes up (where does the AC heat exchanger go?  can you get to the roof in 40 ft of pipe?  Will they let you put it on the patio outside the building?  )
Budget also 2 days per week of your time for six months to deal with architects and contractors.  They are paying for that as well.
Budget $20,000 apiece to move the magnets.  You may get a bulk discount.  I have heard of 300?s being moved live (via elevators, even!)

Since you are giving the opportunity to ?design? a new lab, I would suggest you consider installing one or two large UPS systems for the facility, which will be for all spectrometers and every electrical outlet in the facility.  That?s what I have for this Facility, and it works out very nice.

You are going to want a separate room for the workshop:  tools and test equipment have a low vapor pressure, one frequency analyzer pays for the walls.  A PC for off-line processing and to drive a CD-RW for archiving data.  (Sparc CD-RW are more expensive, the software that drives them much more expensive).   Add a digital combination lock on the door: I?ve been quoted $1200 for the lock and $800 for the device that programs it.    (Let me know if you find one that hooks up to a PC. )

If people do VT work, it can be worth running copper pipe from a place by the door (where you can park a nitrogen gas supply dewar) to the instruments, with valves for switching between air and gas.

Add to the list of ?amenities? that adds up:  non-magnetic plastic shop-vac, racks to hang transfer lines, coatracks behind the doors, gas cylinder restraints close enough to each magnet to run a helium gas line; electrical sockets in the middle of the room, if it?s large.
A large facility like yours needs solvent storage for the gallon bottles of isopropanol used for VT.  A hood was necessary for some of the fast moves we used to pull at ?XYZ?.

In the book Laboratory Safety Principle and Practices (Flemming ed.) there is a table that summarizes average costs per  square foot for new research facilities or renovations.   They are discussing biomedical facilities that I think might be comparable to NMR facilities.

New facility:
base building   $93- $206  per Gross square foot
Equipped building  $111 - $247 GSF
Building and Site Development $121-$287 GSF
Project Cost   $151 - $347 GSF

Base Lab   $65 to $221 per Net Square Foot
Equipped Lab   $77 to $251 NSF
Project cost   $109 to 338 NSF

I hope this helps.

My rough estimation is about 400k $ for building of three anti-vibration bottom plates, air condition, full insulation against loss of heat, inhouse liquid nitrogen storage and lines, oxygen monitor, fast glass fibre data line, lightning protection, alarm system and protection fence, fixing of  driveway  etc.

Planning started 12 months ago, now there are one 800 and one 600ultrashield, another 600us.coming soon, a few workstations etc.

Further details on request.

New on 12/13/99
I was looking over your summary and reminded that you had asked about
this...I forgot to send you my 2 cents worth; we are still moving.
Renovations are expensive and some of those costs that were quoted
per square foot are pretty good.  I've spent about $250/sq. ft. to
renovate one of my labs.  My 500 will cost me  $20K more to move
before I'm done and the work is not fully warrantied.  My 300 will be
about half that (no mapping).  I'm doing much of the move myself.

I would be very curious to find out what scenario, cost estimate,
that you do finally use.  As you note in your summary, there were a
wide range of responses.

Good luck.  Remember, grey hairs are actually quite attractive.
(gee, thanks...I think...oh yeah, I don't have many hairs left at all!!  8-)