Retrofitting Office Space for Life Sciences Use.

While many companies have been right-sizing their office space to adapt to remote and hybrid work, the life sciences industry has seen a massive influx in funding from government and private investors. As a result, many organizations – including Cox & Company clients – are looking to commercial spaces to house wet labs. This is a great option for many organizations, and we’ve learned a lot along the way about how to ensure a successful, on-budget project.


The infrastructure required by lab facilities goes far beyond what’s standard in a commercial office space.

To ensure that your space is up-to-code and has adequate power, water, and ventilation, some structural modifications will likely be necessary. For example, to ensure adequate air change rates, air shafts may need to be widened or added. You may be able to utilize roof or ground space to house additional mechanical infrastructure.


You’ll need an experienced, capable general contractor.

In handling the technical challenges presented by retrofitting a commercial space for lab use, your general contractor will be invaluable. Take your time in choosing a GC who can handle the job and who has experience in this area.


Labs are energy guzzlers, so it’s important to design with sustainability in mind.

The utilities consumed by lab equipment add up quickly. Working within the confines of an existing space may lead you to think in creative ways, keeping your lab efficient and sustainable. By prioritizing sustainability, you’ll not only help the planet, but save a lot of money on energy bills. Work with your architect and general contractor to implement power-saving design strategies.


Using commercial office space can help you better meet the needs of employees.

When choosing a commercial space, you can look for amenities and perks that help you provide a positive experience. An office building may have existing amenity spaces, such as a café, outdoor space, or fitness center that tenants can use. If space and budget allow, you might choose to include spaces within the facility that promote employee well-being. Access to fresh air and sunlight are especially important for those who may spend long hours in the highly controlled environment of a wet lab.

With guidance and planning, a commercial space could make the perfect home for your organization’s lab. Cox & Company brings expertise and experience to the table in retrofitting commercial spaces for lab use, so reach out to us if you think this might be the solution for you.