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 (Richard.Shoemaker@Colorado.edu)
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
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
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
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
room size: ~25ft x 25ft
removal of old drop ceiling
removal of some cabinetry
move a couple of air ducts on ceiling..rebalance air
wiring (plug mold along walls, pulled new conductors
through existing conduit)
new cat-5 network wires
new ceiling lights
compressed air line (short run from basement below)
strip/polish cement floor
bolt magnet hanger bracket to ceiling
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.
The exact number was $190,955.27. How's that for irrelevant significant
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
In (our) area and the economy so great these days, cost will be very
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.
I think the bid was $65,000 and this included field mapping the 500.
Now you have two 600s and a 500 which I think you will need field mapped
so I would expect a bid of about $100,000.
The gas supplies with all that plumbing can cost to $30-50,000 depending
on how extensive the work is. The HVAC system could be $30-50,000 depending
if you buy individual units for each room, if you have more than one room
in the basement.
Electrical systems especially if you need 220V or UPS backups, etc. could
Remember, if they put you in the basement, how free is the space above
the 600s and 500. The 5 guass line extends up almost to the ceiling
of the next floor if you don?t have shielding. Passive shielding can be
darn expensive (add a few 10,000s).
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
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.
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
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.
$30,000 Liebert (air conditioner/ heater/ humidifier)
$10,000 install the Liebert (duct to window, diffusors, etc)
$ 5,000 UPS
$ 4,000 industrial grade Piston-type air compressor (get a rotary scroll!)
$ 3,000 twin-silica towers air dryer
I don?t have a more detailed budget I can get to you by 6 o?clock.
Electrical, plumbing, contracters make up the difference. (Paint
walls, refinish floor, new ceiling (used old light fixtures). )
We had to have carpenters frame in the soffet above the magnet, and a utility
Woodwork and cabinets we salvaged from the university warehouse.
We got lucky.
You will want some ?casework?-lab bench type cabinets around. They
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,
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
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.
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
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.
renovate one of my labs. My 500 will cost me $20K more
before I'm done and the work is not fully warrantied. My 300
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
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