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When to Buy New vs. Used Lab Furniture

11-02-2017 09:33 AM CET | Industry, Real Estate & Construction

Press release from: Formaspace

University Innovation Lab with Benchmarx

University Innovation Lab with Benchmarx

Whether you're building a brand new laboratory facility or updating your current lab, you are making a major investment. We take a deep dive into the pros and cons of searching for used laboratory furniture versus purchasing new laboratory furniture ( custom-made for your facility.

Laboratories these days come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the traditional "old school" designs that feature built-in casework ( to the newer generation of modular laboratory furniture that can be reconfigured easily — even disassembled and moved to new locations when necessary.

7 Points to Consider When Deciding Between Used Lab Furniture Vs. New

Changes happen. Perhaps you are designing a brand-new facility, updating or expanding your current laboratory, or looking for a 'home' to house an expensive new piece of test equipment. When change happens, what are your options? Is there a strategic approach to follow when looking at the pros and cons of used versus new lab furniture?

1. Is Buying Used Lab Furniture the Most Cost Effective Solution for My Laboratory?

While you can sometimes get excellent deals at auction and liquidation sales, you can't always assume that used laboratory furniture is always the cheaper option, particularly over the long run.

Having said that, if you can afford to take the time required to attend public auctions and liquidation sales, you may find significant deals on used laboratory furniture that's being retired from government offices, schools or labs that have gone out of business.

However, you might find you are competing with furniture brokers who are looking to acquire inventory to sell online at a significant markup. That's why it pays to get a competitive quote (from Formaspace, for example) before you go shopping. In many cases, you'll find it's more cost effective to order exactly what you need.

2. Avoid Some of the Common Pitfalls when Shopping for Used Laboratory Furniture

Travel time is a major consideration when buying used lab furniture. Do you have time to take this on?

You really need to inspect the goods in person with your own eyes — even with high-resolution photos and video, flaws such as mismatched hardware, poorly fitting doors and shelves, missing keys, etc. are difficult to spot without taking a look in person.

If you are the one making the purchasing decision for a big lab construction or renovation project, it's all falls on you to convince the architect or construction manager that used equipment in question is suitable for the job. Most architects and construction planners may balk at the potential risk involved and want to go with a known quantity, e.g. new furniture.

3. Will Used Lab Furniture (Versus Laboratory Furniture Which is New) Blow a Hole in Your Construction Schedule?

Project planning is another issue.

In some cases, used laboratory furniture can be a boon — it's possible to save a significant amount of money if you are in the right place at the right time and fortunate enough to get a good deal on furniture that's in good condition.

However, this approach can also lead to some significant issues when it comes to construction planning.

First, you'll have to arrange for the disassembly and transportation of the used furniture to your site.

Will the lab furniture be damaged in transit? This is especially true of casework type furniture, which is hard to remove without damaging it. If it is damaged, how will you source a replacement part for an 'orphan' piece of used furniture?

Next, if it's a big installation, the furniture will need to be stored to give you time to plan the new laboratory layouts.

In this case, the space planners will be working out of their regular sequence. Instead of doing programming studies to decide the optimal layout, space planners will have to come up with a design that incorporates the used furniture components you have purchased.

Sometimes this works out OK in the end, but oftentimes it's actually a longer process overall for designers to measure used furniture components and come up with a workable design.

The extra time and effort to do this additional work needs to be taken into account as it might make ordering new laboratory furniture that's designed to fit your preferred floor plan exactly a more cost-effective solution.

4. Can You Get the Most Efficient Lab Layout When Purchasing Used Lab Furniture?

Another aspect to consider when looking at used laboratory furniture is whether the end result will be something you want — or too much of a compromise.

When the design is driven by what you find and not what you need, there can be quite a few tradeoffs.

Read more ...

Formaspace advances the spirit of discovery and creation through the design and manufacture of custom business furniture. Our furniture marries form to function with flexible solutions for clients in the laboratory, industrial, and office environments.

Formaspace serves over 80% of the Fortune 500, as well as universities, governments, small businesses, and individuals.


1100 E. Howard Lane Suite 400
Austin, TX 78753


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