Infrastructure issues: research & computer equipment

Issues to consider when acquiring or relocating research equipment

The information below is a summary of infrastructure issues that we recommend researchers and department administrators take into account when purchasing or relocating research equipment and computer server equipment. This list, while it includes some fairly obvious points, should be useful as reference to help proactively identify building system modifications that may be required to accommodate new or relocated equipment. This should help to prevent last minute surprises and the associated frustration and delays caused when equipment cannot be accommodated within existing building infrastructure.

The Building Operations Technical Services group is available to provide guidance on any of these issues. Researchers and administrators can connect with Technical Services through their respective Building Operations Facilities Manager.

Electrical requirements

Does the planned location for the equipment have electrical service at the required voltage and amperage? Does the existing building electrical system have sufficient capacity to handle the load of the new equipment? Does the equipment have proper electrical certification for use in Canada? This later point is particularly important to consider given that specialized equipment is often imported from overseas manufacturers.

Back-up power needs

Is it critical that the equipment remain operational during a power outage? If back-up power is required, it is important to understand what emergency power systems exist within the building and whether spare capacity is available for connection of the new equipment.

Uninterruptible power needs

Is the equipment sensitive to power disruptions and voltage fluctuations? Some research equipment can be thrown out of calibration or damaged by power spikes, bumps and sags. If this is sensitive equipment an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will be necessary.

Energy efficiency

We ask that energy (and water) efficiency be included as a criterion for selection of new equipment. This is not only good for the environment, it saves the University money which can be directed back into research and learning activities.

Architectural modifications

Will renovations to the space be necessary to accommodate the equipment? This may include custom millwork, enclosures, partitions, and / or code upgrades such as new exits or fire separations.

Structural requirements

How heavy is the equipment? It is important to determine whether the existing building structure can support the weight of the equipment. Some equipment is sensitive to vibration and must be placed on special isolators or located in basement areas to avoid structural vibrations.

Special environmental requirements

Does the equipment require stringent temperature, humidity, and air quality conditions? Is additional ventilation or cooling required to dissipate heat generated by the equipment? Is a fume hood or vent system required to remove noxious fumes? Is soundproofing required?

Water Supply, Sewage & Drainage

Are plumbing connections required? Does incoming water need to be purified to a specific standard? Does wastewater need to be specially treated prior to rejection to sanitary sewer?

Size and access

Moving new equipment into place can be a challenge. A clear plan is needed for delivery of the equipment to the designated location. Can the equipment fit through building doorways, into the elevator, and into the final designated location? When the equipment is in its final position is there adequate perimeter space for maintenance access and air circulation?

Security requirements

Is special locking hardware, access control system or alarm system required to protect this equipment?

Space planning issues

Has the proposed space for the new equipment been approved by your Dean? Has the University space inventory been consulted to confirm that the proposed space is allocated to your department? Is the proposed space currently occupied? If so, will the current occupants require relocation?

Building modifications to accommodate equipment

If it is determined that building modifications are required to accommodate specific equipment, please contact your Facilities Manager. Costs associated with modification work are the responsibility of the department.