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Boston’s Demand For Lab Build-Out Continues To Soar. 2 Experienced Companies Are Partnering To Help


Lab space is a hot commodity, especially in the Boston life sciences market. A report by Lincoln Property Co. found that as of Q1 2022, 60M SF of lab space was in varying stages of development in Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding suburbs.

With this demand for space comes a demand for furniture and cabinetry to keep the labs functional. Mass Cabinets Inc., an architectural millwork and custom cabinet company, which has been in business for over 32 years and is based in Methuen, Massachusetts, is stepping in to meet these needs.

“With the boom in the life sciences, there is a great need for space, and with that comes the need for the right lab products,” Mass Cabinets founder and President Mike Sarno said. “The national and Canadian companies currently producing these products have become so inundated that their lead times are soaring, creeping upwards of 12 months or more.” 

Sarno said that there is a need for a supplier who could provide a level of service and commitment for clients of any size and especially for smaller projects that are typically being cast aside by the bigger suppliers and manufacturers.

MCI has partnered with a reputable and reliable lab company that will service the lab work for general contractors, enabling MCI to supply the architectural millwork as well as lab casework — or cabinetry — and furniture, Sarno said. For the last 10 months, the company has collaborated with New York-based lab manufacturer Lab Crafters to provide metal casework and furniture projects to general contracting companies in the lab market.

“The majority of lab casework and furniture is fabricated from metal and has become very flexible in nature, allowing the end-user to modify lab layouts to accommodate changing product needs,” Sarno said.

Sarno noted that most projects require lab casework and fumehoods, which provide ventilation systems that prevent exposure to harmful fumes. Additionally, projects require specialized benches, shelving and accessories, which allow workers the space to house equipment and conduct experiments, and surfaces made from either epoxy or phenolic resins — both of which are highly chemical-resistant.

Sarno said Lab Crafters manufactures according to the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association requirements and guidelines on meeting the highest industry standards for safety. All of the products are custom-made to fit each project’s plans and specifications.

“Lab Crafters has proven to be a very successful lab cabinetry and furniture manufacturer, as the company is able to offer product delivery with shorter lead times,” he said. “Submittals in the form of shop drawings are made in four to six weeks, and fabrication is completed in 14 to 16 weeks, after submittal approvals. The overall duration, including approvals, is five to six months.”

Sarno said that Lab Crafters will manufacture the products and MCI will be heavily involved in managing the award-to-delivery coordination — including field measuring, producing submittals and installation, which expedites the process, bringing more furnished labs to the Boston life sciences market.

When general contractors work with the same architectural millwork company for all of their millwork and lab needs across a project, he said, it helps to ensure that all of the project components are well-coordinated. With MCI as their sole point of contact, the general contractor needs to coordinate with only one vendor to handle the contract and project management, Sarno said.

He said MCI and Lab Crafters have completed six projects in the past 10 months and have another 12 projects in varying stages of development to be completed by the end of fall 2022.

“It’s important for us to work with a company that shares the same focus and attention to detail, not just for the millwork, and lab cabinetry and furniture, but also for the customer it serves,” Sarno said. “Having this alignment throughout every step of the project helps MCI and Lab Crafters to align with the customer's needs first​, enabling the companies to deliver premium products and completed projects that exceed the customer's expectations.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Mass Cabinets Inc. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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