FIGURE 9.1 Open versus closed laboratory design. The top figure is an example of a typical closed laboratory design with four separate laboratories. The three walls separate the space and extend from floor to ceiling, with no shared spaces. The bottom figure is an example of an open laboratory in the same space. The wall extends from floor to ceiling but not from wall to wall (although in some designs, it could). Smaller working rooms with permanent or movable walls are set up for storage or activities that require closed spaces.

quire a dedicated area for such work to most efficiently manage security, safety, and environmental risk.

9.B.4 Equivalent Linear Feet of Workspace

When designing new laboratory spaces, consider the equivalent linear feet (ELF) of work surface within the laboratory. ELF can be divided into two categories: bench and equipment. Bench ELF is the required length of benchtop on which instruments can be set and where preparatory work takes place, as well as the length of laboratory chemical hoods. Equipment ELF includes the length of floor space for equipment that does not fit on a bench. Typically, every two laboratory personnel whose work mostly involves hazardous chemicals should have at least one chemical hood, and these should be large enough to provide each person with a minimum of 3 linear ft, but it could be 8 ft or more depending on the planned activities and type of chemistry.

TABLE 9.1 Some Activities, Equipment, or Materials That May Require Separation from the Main Laboratory


Animal Handling Areas


Electron microscopes

Glasswashing facilities

High-powered lasers

Some radioactive materials

Tissue culture work

Exceptionally toxic materials

High-pressure equipment

Typical chemistry laboratories are designed to provide from 28 to 30 ELF per person. Quality control, biology, and analytical laboratories range from 20 to 28 ELF per person. Quality control and production laboratories tend toward the low end of this range, whereas research laboratories are at or above the high end of the range. This number includes the support space outside the laboratory that is needed. These values can vary widely and must be addressed carefully for each project.

9.B.5 Laboratory Layout and Furnishing

9.B.5.1 Adaptability

The frequency of change in laboratory use has made it desirable to provide furnishings and services that can be moved and adapted quickly. Although some services and surfaces will be fixed elements in any laboratory, such as sinks and chemical hoods, there are several options available to meet the adaptable needs for various types of research.

Current design practice is to locate fixed elements

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