Constructing Science: Pioneering a New Standard for Science Construction

17 Jul 2023


The ‘Constructing Science’ report and dynamic model lays the groundwork for bringing standardisation to the design of speculative laboratory buildings and opens the door to enhancing the quality of lab space in the UK.
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The construction industry stands on the verge of a significant transformation with the introduction of "Constructing Science", an innovative initiative launched by EEDN in collaboration with a consortium of companies on the 6th of July 2023 at Mansion House, London, with the event opened by Professor Michael Mainelli. 

Constructing Science aims to establish new standards for the construction of science facilities, similar to the impact of the British Council for Offices on office spaces and plays a crucial role in addressing the growing needs of the life sciences sector.

With continuous growth and evolution in this field, there is an increasing demand for laboratory spaces that are not only functional but also foster innovation and discovery. The Constructing Science initiative provides clear, comprehensive guidelines for creating lab spaces tailored to the life sciences industry.

“Constructing Science is the next important step in ensuring that the UK becomes a Life Sciences superpower by bringing together the collective knowledge of the industry on how to construct science buildings, making that accessible to everyone for free and enabling a common language to foster better collaboration.”
Tes Adamou, CEO, EEDN

The initiative transcends merely setting standards; it cultivates a shared language and understanding within the industry. Adopting common terminology and standards is a vital step towards this goal. The Constructing Science team is devoted to maintaining relevant and current standards, with plans to periodically update the model and report. Future versions will integrate sustainability targets and cost parameters, as well as encompass related science spheres like manufacturing.

A key feature of it is the online dynamic model, accessible on the webpage hosted by MedCity. The model allows users to filter data according to various needs, making it an invaluable resource for everyone in the life sciences industry.

The model benefits different stakeholders: occupiers and end-users can translate user requirements regarding design and construction components into an outline user requirement specification (URS); developers, venture capitalists, and other investors can reference it for development specifications and quick property assessments; design teams can use it to convey current standards to clients while providing an accessible 'first point' tool; local authorities can rely on it for consistent terminology and specifications aiding planning determination processes.

"This is a significant milestone in accelerating the demand for high-quality lab and R&D space in the capital and beyond. Helping owners and investors facilitate the creative and appropriate re-use of existing buildings will create significant carbon savings while limiting over-provision across buildings."
Ivana Poparic, Head of Life Sciences Cluster Development, MedCity

Adopting Constructing Science as the standard for science construction is not just advantageous—it's vital. It marks significant progress in constructing science facilities suited to the unique needs of the life sciences industry. By embracing it, we can develop lab spaces that foster innovation and discovery while facilitating advancements in science and technology.

The ultimate measure of success lies in the level of industry adoption. As such, the report is less technical and more informative, reserving highly technical elements for appendices. 

The team plans regular iterations, working on parameters like local context, cost analysis, international adaptability, construction methods, equipment selection, alignment with operational readiness and CQV processes, and approaches to net-zero science buildings from construction and operational perspectives. The Constructing Science team also commits to updating the model and report as needed.

"This consortium has the potential to lead Net Zero Carbon and ESG standards rather than follow others and that is really exciting for me. I am looking forward to starting on the next iteration and where this journey can take us and the sector." 
Andrew Sommerville, Head of Science and Research, Hoare Lea

The Constructing Science initiative is launched during a boom in life sciences real estate, with the UK Government recently announcing a £650M investment to generate growth in the sector to boost the economy. TNew editions will incorporate sustainability goals and cost parameters while expanding to include related science spheres such as manufacturing.

"This guidance provides clarity on specifications and approach for developers and tenants, bringing a level of consistency to the market which has been missing to date. Working with trusted collaborators and industry peers, we are excited to be a part of this important initiative."
Richard Walder, Partner and UK Science & Tech Director, Buro Happold

The Constructing Science consortium is made up of nine partners, including: Buro Happold, Gleeds, Cushman & Wakefield, EEDN, CPC Mission Street, Hoare Lea, Ramboll, Gensler and MedCity. 

Download the report here.
Follow the link
here for the dynamic model.

"Constructing Science is expected to play a key role in facilitating provision of fit-for-purpose laboratory space that has not existed before.  By making our collective knowledge available in this dynamic format; it will speed up the process of non-technical investors understanding the outline scope for laboratory development. This should be a huge step forward and will propel growth in the UK life sciences sector."
Galvin Tarling, Global Head of Life Sciences, Gleeds

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