Construction 101: New Building Tips for Technologists

Published date30 October 2007
Date30 October 2007
AuthorAimee Fifarek
Subject MatterLibrary & information science
Construction 101: New Building Tips for
Aimee Fifarek
LIBRARY HITECH NEWS Number 9/10 2007, pp. 43-44, #Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 0741-9058, DOI 10.1108/07419050710874287 43
According to popular wisdom ``May
you live in interesting times'' is
considered a curse by the Chinese.
Nothing can make times quite as
interesting for a library's technology
staff as a new building or remodeling
project. You finally have the
opportunity to design a new space that
is functionally appropriate instead of
trying to retrofit years' or decades' old
constructions for digital age activities.
Even better, you have the funds to fill it
with the latest and furniture and
equipment. Finally, you have the
opportunity to do it right.
That is, of course, the ideal situation.
In reality, any building project no
matter how well planned or thought out
± is going to suffer from budget short
falls, construction delays, and political
considerations that will result in you
having to make do with much less than
you thought you were going to get when
you started. That is simply the nature of
the major project beast.
Having just been through my first
new library project I can attest to this.
Scottsdale's new Arabian Library had
its grand opening on September 20,
2007. (For photos of the new building,
Everything ± from figuring out how to
read electrical and lighting plans to
trying to coordinate computer
installations in the middle of an active
construction zone ± was a learning
experience for me. As a result, I have a
few tips that might help make the
blessing (or curse) of a construction
project a little less ``interesting'' for
Timing is everything
Planning the budget for a major
construction project, whether it is the
renovation of an existing facility or a
whole new building, can start anywhere
from 18 months to five years before you
actually break ground. Keep your ears
open when you hear about new projects
being planned and do not be shy about
asking to be involved in the budgeting
process. People planning the projects
will likely think about the number of
computers they want and where they
want them placed. They are much less
likely to think about the infrastructure
required to make them work that is your
job. Remodeling projects can be
especially good opportunities to find
the budget to resolve long-standing
infrastructure issues that exist in older
buildings, whether or not they directly
affect the to-be-remodeled space.
Our people make us great
Bricks and mortar are not the only
things that get budgeted for in
construction projects. New buildings
require new staff, and this may be the
perfect opportunity to increase the size
of your technology department.
Sneaking technology positions in to a
new building's staffing package can be
tricky but it is worth trying. Your
justification is that a new facility will
increase the workload on the current
technology unit, and you want to be
able to give the new building and staff
all the support it needs. Couple that
with some statistics on the increases in
computer use and trouble ticket volume
over the last few years and you might
just have the ammunition you need to
make your case.
Architects know buildings, you know
As you go through the design
process there will be a lot of discussion
about the philosophy of the space, the
materials used, and it will all be very ...
interesting. Eventually there will come
a time when you will feel the need to
inject some technological reality into
the design dreams of those around you.
Just remember something that seems
obvious to you as a technologist may
completely escape the notice of the
other people in the room ± including the
architects. Make sure to be respectful
when pointing out the deficiencies of
certain plans and always offer a
solution that respects the spirit of the
original design.
The other people in the room may
not be the only ones who need a reality
check from time to time. Planning a
new space can make you think that
anything is possible. But it is important
to keep in mind the day-to-day realities
of people who will be working in that
space and supporting it. Hiding data and
power connections below the accessible
flooring may seem like a wonderful
cable management strategy. But if a
single tile weighs 40 pounds but your
desktop support person's job
description says they only have to lift
30 pounds, it might be best to install the
network connections above the floor
and invest in some more cable ties.
Yes, I will be at the furniture meeting
A project on the scope of a new
building is massive and the meetings
needed to accomplish it seem endless.
Resist the urge to skip meetings that on
the surface seem to have nothing to do
with you. Interiors meetings are a good
example. Sure, you do not care what
fabric the lounge chairs are going to be
covered in. But you might care if their
intended placement conflicts with the
only place you could find to put that
bank of computers. Public computer
furniture, service desks, staff work
areas ± if it has something on it that is

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT