Lab Design and Build

March 2022 - Vol.11 No. 3 - Page #14
Category: Laboratory Design and Relocation Services

While no two laboratory spaces are identical, they all require similar design elements for successful operations, not the least of which are optimized functionality and efficient, logical workflow. The laboratory should be rendered to support the specific, intended workflow of its parent institution, as well as mitigate unnecessary staff movement; a concept that should bear substantial consideration for the numerous laboratories facing widespread staffing challenges.

In this light, keep in mind the impact that properly designed and placed storage can have in improving workflow efficiency. Requiring staff members to retrieve items from distant bulk storage is time consuming, whereas custom designed storage located near or within the workspace that simplifies product and tool access can deliver time (and cost) savings by minimizing unnecessary steps. To this end, it is worthwhile to incorporate multi-purpose workspaces when possible, while also ensuring that counter and cabinet heights match the intended activities and staff members working in those spaces.

Aesthetics & Construction

Furthermore, while beauty in laboratory design may not be a top priority, it should most certainly be incorporated, as should other ergonomic considerations such as utility convenience and sound dampening. Overall, attention to the comfort and aesthetics of a workspace indicates that the staff experience is valued. Thus, design features that impact staff satisfaction and retention, such as dedicated meeting and break rooms, quiet workspaces for tasks that require focus, and areas for staff members’ personal belongings (which aid in avoiding clutter) all should be incorporated where possible.

When working with designers, architects, and engineers, seek a consensus on laboratory and institutional workflows, relevant state and national regulations, and the specific needs of the laboratory. From the initial design to final layout, a knowledgeable partner in laboratory design is essential. Ask your vendor if they provide 3D drawings, as this will help in visualizing the space in relation to workflow. Further, review the impact of lighting, ensure the design is ADA compliant, and keep cleaning and disinfecting practices in mind as well.

With your needs clarified, vet your options through a benefit analysis and work with your architect to come up with a concept plan that includes basic programming elements based on test volume projections and project goals. Oftentimes, construction contractors and internal facility engineers are included in these conversations. This collaboration allows for the discovery of potential constructability issues and establishes the availability of workers and materials. Once the concept has been reviewed by laboratory stakeholders for applicability to their operations, specific costs can be estimated, and the architect can move forward with a fully detailed design.

To assist in these endeavors, the following Buyer’s Guide includes several products, systems, and services to benefit the renovation and design of future laboratories, and to help in selecting the partners that can best serve the laboratory’s needs.

Laboratory Design with Modular Casework from R.C. Smith/MMI Systems, LLC

R.C. Smith/MMI’s laboratory space planning, modular casework, and professional installation is designed to support an efficient, regulatory compliant, and functional lab. Offering extensive expertise in the areas of laboratory space planning and casework solutions, R.C. Smith’s design experts create a well-organized and productive work environment that meets the facility’s specific requirements. Drawing upon thousands of completed projects allows the designers to offer the best solution possible, utilizing modular casework that combines product adaptability with the efficient use of space, healthy ergonomics, and pleasing aesthetics.

Polypropylene Fume Hood and Casework from NuAire Laboratory Equipment

NuAire’s modular cabinetry and fume hoods are manufactured using stress-relieved, fully seam-welded, white polypropylene for demanding laboratory applications. Walls and floors are reinforced where required to maintain structural integrity; doors are readily removable and hinges are easily replaceable. All FumeGard conventional, bypass, and vertical laminar flow fume hoods can be built in conjunction with all polypropylene cabinetry.

Laboratory Planning and Design from EwingCole

EwingCole is a fully integrated architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firm, with more than 460 professionals in Baltimore, Charlotte, Irvine, New York, Raleigh, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Diego. In the past decade, EwingCole has planned and designed over 12 million square feet of laboratory space. The firm’s projects integrate typical laboratory instrumentation and wet laboratory processing areas with high-end, specialized instrumentation support. The design team focuses on optimizing the laboratory’s throughput and effectiveness, while also accommodating future technology changes. Working closely with laboratory scientists and instrumentation and equipment manufacturers to understand the technologies employed, EwingCole develops laboratory systems that work to accommodate maximum flexibility.

Purifier Filtered PCR Enclosure from Labconco Corporation

Labconco Corporation’s Filtered PCR Enclosures provide a sterile, particulate-free environment (ISO 5) to protect sensitive work from outside contamination. These specialized vertical clean benches may be used for PCR sample preparation or other genetic sample prep and are designed to minimize cross contamination. The enclosures include a UV light with timed exposure to deactivate unwanted DNA and RNA. The purifier’s PCR enclosures are constructed of durable metal and glass for easy decontamination and longevity.

Epoxy Worksurfaces and Sinks from Durcon, a Wilsonart Company

Durcon’s epoxy worksurfaces and sinks provide a complete system of durable, heat- and chemical-resistant laboratory products creating consistency throughout the laboratory environment. The high-density epoxy worksurfaces are molded as one solid piece of nonporous material, eliminating surface absorption, delamination, and swelling. Created with the goal of ensuring longevity, epoxy worksurfaces are resistant to harsh chemicals, heat, fire, staining, pitting, and marring, and have a Class A fire rating. Available in conjunction with these epoxy worksurfaces, Durcon’s Epoxy DropIn sinks are likewise durable and do not require undermount support. With the DropIn sink installation method, the cutout is sealed, eliminating the overhang that can become a collection point for residual chemicals and bacteria.

Purifier Logic+ Biosafety Cabinet from Labconco Corporation

The Labconco Corporation’s Logic+ Class II, Type A2 biosafety cabinet is designed for laboratories handling biohazardous samples, providing personal, product, and environmental protection, including from COVID-19 samples. The cabinets utilize the MyLogic operating system, which is located at eye level within the BSC. Ergonomic design components, such as a comfortable inlet grill and sloped sash are combined with a quiet, energy efficiency blower to maximize comfort during extended periods of work. Logic+ BSCs typically recirculate HEPA filtered air directly into the laboratory; however, nuisance odors or light-duty chemicals can be vented into an exhaust system through an optional canopy connection.

Modular Lab Furniture Systems from HEMCO Corporation

Hemco’s UniLine Furniture offerings include base cabinets, wall cabinets, countertops, sinks, fixtures, base-tables, mobile work stations, specialty storage cabinets, and peg boards. UniLine Casework Groupings are designed to incorporate Hemco’s most popular casework styles in a complete package. A complete turnkey installation is also available.

LabGard AIR NU-543 Class II Type A2 Biosafety Cabinet from NuAire Laboratory Equipment

The LabGard ES (Energy Saver) AIR NU-543 Class II Type A2 Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) is a benchtop unit, available with telescoping or motorized auto-rising base stand options. Functioning as a containment primary engineering control (C-PEC), it is NSF/ANSI 49 certified and provides ISO Class 5 air protection.

The NU-543 comes standard with a prop-up work tray for ease of cleaning and up to 12 inches (305 mm) window access height. Available options include an IV bar with 3 adjustable heights, a back-wall cutout or Ergotron mount for a monitor and/or keyboard and mouse, smooth interior for easy cleaning, and a motorized auto-rising base stand. All NuAire BSCs are fully customizable.

TransLogic Pneumatic Tube Systems from Swisslog Healthcare

TransLogic pneumatic tube systems (PTS) from Swisslog Healthcare can enable lab professionals to spend their time operating at the top of their licensing scope instead of transporting samples. The system transports specimens to the lab quickly and reliably, allowing for substantial chain-of-custody control through the fully integrated technology. Sample batching can create bottlenecks that negatively affect turnaround times leading to further delays, so the Xpress technology of TransLogic PTS is designed to help improve the speed and efficiency of lab workflow, leading to faster resulting and time-to-treat.

Purair from Air Science USA, LLC

Air Science Purair ductless fume hoods combine high energy efficiency with low environmental impact. Ductless technology reduces the expense of HVAC reconditioning as filtered air is safely recirculated into the laboratory. The ductless fume hoods can be installed anywhere without the added infrastructure expense of ductwork. Available in seven standard sizes, combined with the ability to modify models based on facility needs, the system is designed for use in existing laboratories and new builds.

Purair Advanced models are available in either metal or polypropylene construction and feature large internal dimensions that are ideal for high-volume applications. The hoods are designed to protect the user and the environment from hazardous vapors generated on the work surface. When combined with the optional HEPA/ULPA safety filter, they also protect from particulates.

Laboratory Design and Relocation Services
For a full list of vendors offering Laboratory Design and Relocation Services, go to:


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