Three Top Challenges to Building a Test Center

September 9, 2021

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3 challenges building test center

Test centers and facilities can be complex or simple, but regardless of their size, ACS designers see common challenges cropping up again and again. Read on for ways to meet the top three challenges head-on.

  1. Sticking to a budget. Whether it’s a large test center or a single test cell, there is almost always tension between what users want and what the company can afford. “Sometimes the things people want seem very minor, like they wouldn’t be expensive at all,” said Matt Jorgensen, Director of Facility Engineering and Site Management at ACS. “They say something like, ‘we need it to run just two degrees colder.’ That sounds easy, but there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in mechanical equipment behind that.” To keep the project on budget, be very clear about the scope at the outset. Designing the test cell for easy expansion makes today’s needs the priorities while keeping “nice to have” features on the table for the future.
  2. Managing the project. Prevent scope or feature creep by appointing a strong project manager from your staff to be the liaison between the people who will use the equipment and the team designing it. This staffer should have a solid understanding of the budget, the project’s intent, and the difference between user wants and project needs. “You need one person the design team can go to and say, ‘If you add this feature, it’s going to do this to your budget.’ And that person needs to be able to say no to the feature, or modify the scope, or request additional funds,” Jorgensen said.
  3. Designing in the right order. When building a new facility, companies often start with the architectural design and work inward. Unfortunately, when a test cell designer has to work within existing blueprints, making everything fit can be like playing a multimillion-dollar game of Tetris. When contracting for a new building, start with the equipment and test cell design first. The architect then knows the technical requirements for the space and can design rooms, access points, and mechanical spaces around them.

This article was adapted from “5 Challenges to Building a Test Center,” which appeared on the ACS blog. Find the complete article here.

3 challenges building test center

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3 challenges building test center

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3 challenges building test center

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3 challenges building test center

A: The test cell equipment dictates the size of the rooms and the requirements of the building infrastructure. So it’s better to design the equipment and test cells first. Then the building is designed knowing all the technical requirements

– Matt Jorgensen – Director, Facility Engineering and Site Management

“To keep scope in line with budget, the designer can pare down the list of wants and needs to the true immediate needs, but design the facility to be expanded in the future. That way additional wants can be accommodated over time without having to build from scratch.”

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