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Report of the Council on the refurbishment of laboratories at the Department of Chemistry

The COUNCIL beg leave to report to the University as follows:

1. Since 1993-94 the Finance Committee of the Council have been overseeing a programme of fume cupboard refurbishment in various University Departments; this work has been undertaken as part of the University's long-term maintenance plan and the KDK programme of backlog maintenance.1 The upgrading of fume cupboards is essential to meet current Health and Safety requirements; some £9m has so far been spent or committed, over thirteen schemes. The Department of Chemistry has figured prominently in the programme, and several laboratories within the Department have already been upgraded. The next phase of the programme provides for the upgrading of fume cupboards in the Part II Teaching Laboratory on the ground floor and in the Research Laboratory on the floor above; these are both located in the Union Road wing of the building. The opportunity will be taken to undertake other maintenance and improvement works at the same time.

2. The Estate Management and Building Service and the architects Nicholas Ray Associates have brought forward proposals to replace existing fume cupboards and to provide additional fume cupboards, so as to improve the utilization of space and meet the current needs of the Department. These proposals have been carefully co-ordinated with the Department's long-term development plan. In order to install sufficient fume cupboards without seriously reducing the amount of space inside the building, it is proposed to use external ducting; this will be concealed by an etched glass screen, which will form a new façade to the building. Alterations to the plant rooms on the roof will also be necessary. The resulting changes in the external appearance of the building, particularly in the Union Road elevation, make it necessary to apply for planning consent.

3. The estimated cost of the proposals is currently £6.275m; this includes all infrastructure works, the glass screen, and work on the plant rooms which will facilitate later phases of the programme. Funding for the Part II Teaching Laboratory will be provided as follows: £2.024m from the Buildings Maintenance Fund, up to £1m from the Minor Works Fund, and £700,000 from funds made available to the Department by BP. For the Research Laboratory the Department has been successful in obtaining £1.3m from the HEFCE under its Refurbishing Research Laboratories 1998 Initiative, on condition that the University matches this sum and that the work commences by March 1999. The matching funding has been provisionally identified as £0.8m from the Buildings Maintenance Fund and £0.5m from funds available to the Department.

4. It is estimated that the running costs of the refurbished areas will amount to approximately £31,750 a year (£31,000 for gas and electricity and £750 for the cleaning of the glass screen). The Council will take these additional costs into account when recommending allocations from the Chest to the University Education Fund.

5. Drawings of the proposals are displayed for the information of the University in the Schools Arcade.

6. The Council recommend:

I. That the Acting Director of Estate Management be authorized to submit a planning application for the scheme described in this Report.
II. That the Treasurer be authorized in due course to accept a tender for the works within the funds identified.

1 For an account of the KDK programme, see paragraph 20 of the 1995 Allocations Report (Reporter, 1994-95, p. 782).

27 July 1998


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Cambridge University Reporter, 29 July 1998
Copyright © 1998 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.