Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry has consulted
the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision
of School Science Services (CLEAPSS) and individual members.
CLEAPSS informs us that there is a detailed
and very helpful discussion of laboratory costing in Building
Bulletin 80 (DfEE, 1999, see section 1.4). The DfEE estimates
(at 1999 prices) that constructing and fitting out a new science
building will cost £1,000-£1,400 per square metre of
gross floor area (excluding the cost of land). Thus a typical
laboratory of 85 m2 could cost £85,000-£119,000. Of
this, about £11,000-£30,000 is for providing serviced
furniture. These costs are quite variable, depending on how services
reach work benches (see section 3.2), the type of benches and
the material used for the surface (see section 4). An associated
preparation room would add a further £13,000-£19,000.
Clearly, the cost of adapting and refurbishing
existing accommodation will be less. The cost, however, is very
variable depending on whether the changes are largely cosmetic
or whether extensive remodelling and renewal of services is required.
Costs could be anything from 10 to 90 per cent of the costs of
a new building but, for redecoration and new furniture in an existing
laboratory, the cost will certainly exceed £20,000.
The cost can vary immensely because a change
to a modern teaching layout of, say, separate teaching and practical
areas, or to octagonal benches with central services can involve
Where adaptation is carried out, room shapes
and sizes may be far from ideal. Floors may not be level. There
are major differences between refurbishing an existing laboratory
and adapting non-science accommodation to laboratory use. For
example, in most laboratories gas, electricity, water and drainage
services will be required on at least some benches. It is very
expensive, noisy and dusty to dig up existing floors in order
to lay ducting for such services. Drains present particular problems.
In a new build, services can be easily placed wherever required,
but a decision on the location will be needed at an early stage,
when the foundations are laid and perhaps before the final layout
has been agreed. In an adaptation of an existing laboratory, service
ducts may well be available, but necessarily at the ideal location.
Almost certainly, they cannot be moved, although it may be possible
to box them in. Where non-science accommodation is adapted, it
may well be necessary to accept that only services around the
periphery of the room are possible, perhaps supplemented by peninsular
arrangements. Service provision is discussed in more detail in
The Royal Society are separately reporting to
the Committee on the provision of apparatus for laboratories.
However it is reasonable to assume that in today's technological
world five-10 computer terminals would enhance provision. With
the costs of trunking and appropriate science datalogging hardware
and other software this would cost £10,000.
Individual members quote figures of between
£40,000 and £70,000 for refurbishment without apparatus
and ICT equipment.
The Schools Register tells us there are 4,770
schools with pupils in the appropriate age range. We have no quantitative
information as to the number of schools with laboratories that
require refurbishment. However if just one laboratory in each
school requires refurbishment the sum required could be well over