January 6, 2020 by Dan Milgrim, PE
Innospec (Innospec Oilfield Services Division) had committed to a lease of the space, and more importantly, to a vacate date at their existing facility. This put pressure on the design team to work as quickly as possible to complete the design effort to allow long-lead mechanical and lab equipment to be ordered in order to support the schedule, as well as give Innospec the state-of-the-art research facility they desired.
The center is dedicated to developing innovative new technologies and applications in support of Innospec’s customers in the oil and gas industry – covering all aspects of drilling, fracturing, stimulation, completion, production, and midstream activities. The recently completed facility will house all of the research, development, and technical services functions as well as serve as the consolidated base for the sales and customer service teams.
Over half of the total space was dedicated to the lab, with the goal to convert the former high-bay clean manufacturing area into a heavy chemical usage wet chemistry lab. To achieve this, DBR worked closely with the architectural team to size and select the large mechanical equipment needed to out-fit the lab space. This included adding over 30,000 CFM of 100% outside air handling units, 35,000 CFM of exhaust fans, and 120 tons of chiller capacity.
A unique challenge was presented by the fact that the existing building would not structurally be able to support the large air-handling equipment. The solution proposed by DBR was to install as much of the major mechanical equipment as possible on the ground level on the exterior of the building, and create a stand-alone structural platform which was erected inside the building and extended through the roof to support the supply and exhaust fans.
The unique engineering approach combined with the greatly compressed design and construction schedules called for long hours and close coordination between the design team and the construction team. The final laboratory is a tribute to the effort of the Innospec team, the construction team, and the design team.