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Outsourcing life sciences facility management

Life sciences facilities present a multifaceted and unique challenge for the operations team. The underlying objective of any facility team is customer service. The number one goal of any facilities team is to support the science. Life sciences facilities are operated and designed for the purpose of research and development. The facilities team must focus on supporting this research and development through assurance that the facility operates at the highest and most efficient level. They must be proactive to meet these needs and ensure that no interruption in building systems occurs. Thus, the scientific research teams can focus on their core objectives.

Managing a life sciences facility requires several levels of understanding.

The operation of a life sciences facility has many complex requirements but yet requires a simple theme. To manage a life sciences facility you must bring three levels of understanding: technical expertise of the building systems; financial expertise for cost control and efficiency; and the need to bring the highest level of individual customer service to the core business -- research and development.

The expertise to operate the technical building systems while controlling cost is an essential element and is the key to a successful operation. Life sciences facilities have many complex operational elements, which include: ventilation systems, specialized systems and environmental controls.

The ventilation system is the central focus in any life sciences facility. These facilities require "one pass air systems" to supply make-up air to the laboratory space. This is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation. This system must have constant monitoring in order to ensure a safe and efficient work environment. Detailed preventative maintenance schedules must be maintained and adhered to in order to maximize the life of the equipment, as well as uninterrupted operation.

In addition, specific knowledge of automation systems is a pre-requisite in order to control and monitor the operations of a life sciences facility. In many instances this is done remotely, during off hours. The monitoring assures continual operation of the equipment, and helps to control costs associated with the equipment. Beyond the basic building systems, the operation team must also have the ability to operate and maintain specialized systems. These may range from operating high pressure steam systems to delivering specialized gases, purified water, vacuum systems, freezers or environmental growth chambers.

Cost control is the underlying theme in life sciences facility management today. Facility directors must balance the needs required by scientists, while working within ever-tightening operating budgets. Utilities can be one of the largest budget line items to any single facility. Utilizing automation systems and preventative maintenance schedules are examples of tying operation expertise with prudent financial management. Facility teams are constantly being challenged to find new ways to be more efficient and reduce costs without reducing service. In some instances, facility directors are being asked to present new ideas on alternative forms of power or generation. Recently, many progressive life sciences companies are outsourcing their facility staffing needs to third-party firms who can provide this expertise at lower cost. By outsourcing, companies have the ability to eliminate full-time equivalent positions and the associated cost burden and benefits.

By choosing CarrAmerica as your outsource service provider, you can ensure the seamless operation of your facility while allowing your employees to focus on what they do best, science. For information about our capabilities, contact Philip Matchett at (858) 350-1140.

Submitted by CarrAmerica

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