Flex Lab Facility, Purdue University

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Client: Purdue University
Completion: 2017
Value: $6.5M


  • Winner of Award of Excellence in Construction, Mechanical/Commercial category, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Indiana/Kentucky Chapter, 2018
  • Prime mechanical contractor for a $54M multidisciplinary research building
  • University-wide compatible BAS HVAC modular control system


Flex Lab is a 107,800-SF multidisciplinary engineering research building at Purdue University that features state-of-the-art wet and dry labs and open collaboration spaces. With a focus on flexibility and visibility throughout, the transform-ative and functionally efficient environment promotes collaborative learning and discovery while addressing the changing nature of research. In alignment with national academic research trends, it houses multiple lab types in a flexible arrangement to accommodate Purdue’s evolving research needs.

This three-story-plus-basement research facility supports the College of Engineering. The project team evaluated structural systems based on the 2,000 micro-inches-per-second vibration criteria for the elevated floors, along with factors of cost and speed of construction. The building features 1,840 SF of high-bay lab space, a canopy with a 20’ cantilever, and a structural steel vestibule to mark the entry to the facility. The scope also includes 142 LF of new utility tunnel to service the Flex Lab.

The Building Automation System (BAS) designed for this project is a complete HVAC control system designed for use with Enterprise IT Systems and is directly compatible with other existing campus systems. It controls the air handling units (AHUs), VAV/CAV boxes, and utility systems. The system is modular in nature to permit future expansion of both capacity and functionality through the addition of sensors, actuators and operator devices. It will be integrated with the Laboratory Airflow Control System (LACS).

Included in the mechanical scope was the installation of instrumentation, control valves, VAV boxes, damper actuators, multiple transmitters (dew point, static and differential pressure, temperature, humidity), switches, thermostats, control panels and direct digital controls (DDCs).