In the life sciences industry, permanent structures are out. Flexible facilities are in.

That’s according to a new study from Kansas City, Missouri-based CRB, an engineering and architectural firm serving pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The survey gathered 500 responses from leaders in life sciences, 63 percent of whom indicated they plan to expand by way of modular construction.

Preconstruction methods in life sciences include work cell modules, standardized floors, and wall panels that allow companies to rapidly scale up production. This approach soared during the pandemic, when solutions were needed quickly, and it appears to show no signs of slowing.

“Instead of locking into a detailed design from day one — which makes it costly and time-consuming to adapt when downstream change orders arrive — project teams with a modular approach start with a modest buildout that meets immediate business needs, and expand iteratively from there, integrating new equipment, technologies, utility hookups and other operational improvements over time,” the report notes.

Propane complements modular construction. It’s a flexible energy solution for building heat, domestic hot water, and backup power, allowing companies to set up labs and research facilities anywhere — no pipe network required.

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