How to Design Laboratory Layout
As working conditions have changed over the years, with technology and increased automation changing the way scientists work; laboratory design has also changed. Modern labs need to be capable of responding and adapting to the needs of the working team, whether a project requires collaboration, wet lab work, or computer analysis. In lab design, flexible labs can be completely modified depending on the needs of the Lab working team to fixed-purpose labs that are carefully designed for one field of research.
Laboratory design plays a major part in the research process.
An extensive pre-planning is vital to the design of a lab. Meetings with lab users is essential since the lab can be tailored to their research requirement. Meetings with scientists gives designers a precision which is especially useful for unique, uncommon scientific research.
In planning the location and layout should also be taken into consideration. Scientists should have convenient access to things like utility systems, electricals, and the correct instruments.
Understanding the workflow is an important factor to developing an effective space. Take the time to look at the process from start to finish and map this in a lineal workflow.
The factors that influence lab layout include things like ease of maintenance, accessibility of equipment, HVAC requirements, and ergonomics. Benches used for admin work and sample preparation should be placed around perimeter walls to improve access and workflow. The bench height and depth should be taken into consideration for the ergonomic use of instruments.
A well-designed lab ensures that Scientist can focus on their tasks, rather than being overly vigilant when it comes to emergencies and accidents. In the design of safety features to hand is vitally important.
Fume Hoods, Laminar airflows, Biosafety cabinets, fire protection and detection systems, emergency shower/eye wash stations, and well-marked exits should be easily accessible. If the correct measures have been taken, researchers can perform their required tasks to the best of their abilities.
The good ventilation systems, tailored to researchers’ activities, should also be in place. Temperature control keeps Lab users comfortable and can increase productivity.
Work bench areas should have the sufficient amount of knee space to accommodate chairs near fixed instruments and equipment.
Consider where equipment is located in order to best enhance scientist productivity. Some operations should be situated next to each other to minimise travel time to and from specific equipment.