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Each laboratory is different and there is never a single comprehensive solution to fitting one out. When looking at a furnishing concept for modern laboratories, the needs of each individual specialist laboratory design must be taken into consideration.
One of the most important aspects of laboratory planning is work procedure. Depending on the specialization of the laboratory (and its partly-related safety classification), work areas may have to be physically separated from each other. This is certainly unavoidable when it comes to molecular biology – it is the only sustainable way to prevent results from becoming contaminated. Of course, the high planning standards of the respective laboratory types also affect the individual work areas and work stations.
Different laboratories have diverse areas of specialization, and specific work procedures at individual facilities can vary just as much. Many laboratories have work stations were similar to a conveyor belt, many samples have to be processed by workers quickly and while standing.
For this situation, laboratory standing rests which relieve the tension in the body and are easy to use are recommended – or alternatively, chairs which permit sitting at higher positions.
The first step when designing a lab is to focus on the daily tasks that are being performed within the space. Is there a particular chain of events that follow a logical sequence? What samples, consumables or reagents will you need to hand? Make a list of the tools and equipment you make use of at every step of the process. For example, look at what stage the microscope is utilised. Will the sample/object being analysed need to be stored or perhaps placed in an incubator for a length of time.
As every square centimetre is valuable in the laboratory, laboratory furniture should be easy to organise in order to avoid wasting space. Mobile cupboard units are a great way to achieve this, not only meeting the requirements of Good Specialist Laboratory Practise (GLP) but also ensures space remains flexible and adaptable should the need for change arise in the future.
Once a list has been compiled of the key processes undertaken in your lab and the equipment each one of these stages uses, give consideration to whether there is any scope for any shared spaces between teams/processes. One thing to bear in mind is the use of mobile under bench storage cabinets as these can be moved around and therefore have the ability to follow a process, remaining accessible for a number of stages.
Another feature to consider would be reagent shelving. If samples or specimens are to remain static or if there is smaller tools or ingredients that need to be used at a particular stage, shelving can be a great way to quickly access exactly what you need, whilst at the same time ensuring your critical workspace is kept tidy and clear.
Fume cupboards are another important, specialist consideration for many industries. Positioning is key to ensure extraction flows smoothly and your laboratory staff are kept ventilated and safe while at work.
Once a good picture has been built in your mind of the process involved, put your thoughts down on paper. Don’t be afraid to sketch out your proposed laboratory layout as this will help you see what is likely to work and what isn’t.
Do you have room for island units? Where will you locate the sink? Have you allowed for the necessary gas and water facilities where these are required? It is worth also considering the position of windows and natural light. Natural light has been proved to increase productivity
Does your lab have a cleanroom? If the concentration of airborne particles or germs area concern, the cleanroom must be designed in such a way that the number of particles that could possibly enter the room or emerge there is also kept as low as possible. In addition, constantly stable temperature, air humidity and pressure conditions must prevail.
Your cleanroom needs to be well planned and its size carefully considered in advance. Clarify points such as the following: What requirements does the cleanroom need to meet, what needs to be protected, where does the contamination occur, do employees also need to be protected, do directives or standards need to be met? Taking purity level requirements into consideration, any necessary access chambers, wall/floor/ceiling systems, the electronics and air conditioning can be planned.
Anyone looking for a long-term lab design solution who does not want to forego fundamental key qualities, in terms of an intelligent overall investment, should look to work with a fit-out company with real laboratory competence.
Next steps – get in touch with us to discuss your specialist design laboratory requirements. Our dedicated team are on available now.
Telephone our office on 01275 464220
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The team at Kastnerlab