Tips for Successful Lab Design

Lab Design

As working practices have changed, with technology and increased automation changing the way scientists work; science laboratory design has also changed significantly. 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 that can be completely altered depending on the needs of the working team to fixed-purpose specialist labs that are carefully designed for one field of research.

Laboratory design is a challenge, it plays a huge part in the research process and must be realised in a way that promotes efficient scientific work.

An extensive period of planning is vital to the design of a lab. Meetings with Lab users t is essential since the lab can be tailored as per research requires. Discussions with scientists gives designers a precision which is especially useful for unique, uncommon scientific research.  

In planning, location and layout of Lab should also be taken into consideration. Scientists should have convenient access to things like utility systems, electricals and the instruments.

Understanding 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 important factors in 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 means that Scientist can focus on their research. 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.

The good ventilation systems, tailored to researchers’ activities, should also be in place.

Successful laboratories are the result of perfect planning, collaboration and coordination between design team and all impacted teams. Even the smallest detail performed incorrectly can have a impact on lab function and safety.

While designing a lab it is ideal to understand the current space requirement for the lab with the instruments required.

Working with lab users early in the design process, the design team can design the lab by determining the number of lab users, considering lab equipment and the size of floor-mounted equipment, bench size and under bench cabinets.

Through diagrams, plans, and workflows, the design team can use space effectively & efficiently, safely maximizing opportunities for space and collaboration between scientists.

Meet all code and safety requirements, determining control areas early in design focuses on defining the type and quantity of the chemicals that may be used in the lab to understand the impact on the overall design. It is better to understand early on the presence of flammable, combustible, explosive, and potentially hazardous chemicals in the lab and emergency exit concerns, HVAC duct routing.

Identify the types of chemicals and gases requiring storage and types of necessary storage cabinets. Avoid storing dangerous items on bench tops or inside fume hoods.

For lab safety, containment, and pressurization purposes, lab designer must work closely to ensure coordination between the fume hoods and the HVAC control system. This process begins by identifying the quantity of fume hoods, types of controls on the hoods in the lab. This ensures adequate air change rates based on both facility requirements and lab type as well as ensuring lab pressurization and fume hood containment can be achieved.

Lab designer scrutinize the equipment of list receive from client carefully. Considering a list with detailed information to the lab layout, touching issues such as:

  • Spatial planning of the lab.
  • Selection of casework on which to place equipment.
  • Requirement of power, data, and backup power.
  • Planning for plumbing and HVAC services.

Lab facilities need to maintain some degree of flexibility, which means equipment may need to travel throughout the Lab or be removed entirely in the future. Lab designer must consider and review a pathway for each piece of equipment to a Lab exit.

In an increasingly changing world, flexible casework can provide the ultimate laboratory benefit, particularly for environments where projects change frequently. 

Fixed casework a better option over the flexible or mobile casework. These regarding equipment access, stability or vibration concerns. Particularly in the case of vibration, always verify if equipment has vibration criteria before considering flexible casework, in these cases, the lab designer should consider Anti vibration tables or fixed bench. If vibration and other equipment criteria is not a concern and the lab will be reconfigured frequently, flexible casework may be the best, most cost-effective solution long term.

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