The Conversion Craze

Heading into the final stretch of 2020, it’s clear the market of the year is Life Science. The increasing focus on biotechnology and research firms during the Covid-19 pandemic has stretched an already thin inventory within the Greater Boston and Cambridge markets. With few other industries returning from remote work any time soon, developers and owners are turning their eyes to conversions. 

Throughout our 35+ years, Wise has performed thousands of these conversions for nearly every type of laboratory and manufacturing setting. Our team not only knows the challenges and key construction elements, but they understand the bottom line; they know how to work fast without compromising quality and safety, and pledge to meet or exceed all scheduling and budgetary goals.

At Wise we follow a proven formula that has been successful for selecting locations for these conversions. The most critical part of the formula comes down to three key elements:


  •   Complexity
    Understanding the goals and overall complexity of the lab will greatly determine if a space can properly handle the conversion to meet the growing needs of the future lab space. A former office space may be able to hold a chemistry or BL-2 lab, while manufacturing or vivarium spaces may be better suited in, say, an old warehouse.


  •   Considerations
    Considerations such as the building’s location, user’s expectations for the space and understanding the needs of end user’s processes can all greatly effect the success of a conversion. Local zoning, as well as code requirements may stall or even sideline a conversion. Firms may have plans to expand, and need flexibility, which is more feasible in some buildings than others. Lastly, knowing processes, such as loading dock requirements, material distribution, and waste flow will help ensure the space meets the user’s needs.


  • Infrastructure
    The final and probably the most critical project element for a successful lab conversion is an assessment of the buildings existing infrastructure. How will a new MEP impact the overall building and what other stresses will the addition of a new lab put on the building. Some main points of consideration regarding existing infrastructure include floor to ceiling deck heights, return air and changes per hour, and power considerations.


In addition to the outlined key elements, our team of experts can use tools and methods such as scanning existing space, modeling new designs, scanning slabs, performing structural reviews or working to pre-balance systems. Partnering with Wise Construction early in the process allows us to implement our formula for ultimate project success, delivering a converted lab on time and on budget.