such as laboratory chemical hoods and sinks at the perimeter of the laboratory, ensuring maximum mobility of interior equipment and furniture. Although fixed casework is common at the perimeters, moveable pieces are at the center to maximize flexibility. The central parts of the laboratory are configured with sturdy mobile carts, adjustable tables, and equipment racks.
Another trend for new laboratory buildings is to design interstitial spaces between the floors and to have all the utilities above the ceiling. The interstitial spaces are large enough to allow maintenance workers to access these utilities from above the ceiling for both routine servicing and to move plumbing and other utilities as research demands change.
Where interstitial spaces are not possible, overhead service carriers may be hung from the underside of the structural floor system. These service carriers may have quick connects to various utilities, such as local exhaust ventilation, computer cables, light fixtures, and electrical outlets.
9.B.5.2 Casework, Furnishings, and Fixtures
Casework should be durable and designed and constructed in a way that provides for long-term use, reuse, and relocation. Some materials may not hold up well to intensive chemistry or laboratory reconfiguration. Materials should be easy to clean and repair. For clean rooms, polypropylene or stainless steel may be preferable.
Work surfaces should be chemical resistant, smooth, and easy to clean. Benchwork areas should have knee space to allow for chairs near fixed instruments or for procedures requiring prolonged operation.
Work areas, including computers, should incorporate ergonomic features, such as adjustability, task lighting, and convenient equipment layout. Allow adequate space for ventilation and cooling of computers and other electronics.
Handwashing sinks for particularly hazardous materials may require elbow, foot, or electronic controls. Do not install more cupsinks than are needed. Unused sinks may develop dry traps that result in odor complaints.
9.B.5.3 Shared Spaces
Many facilities encourage sharing of some pieces of equipment. Locating the equipment in a space that is not defined as part of an individual’s work zone facilitates sharing. Some examples of equipment that can be shared are in Table 9.2.
In an open laboratory setting, duplication of much of this equipment can be avoided. Often, if the equipment is centrally located near a laboratory, it can be walled off to reduce noise.
The team needs to carefully address the need for alarms on specific pieces of equipment such as freezers and incubators that contain valuable samples.
Care must be taken, however, not to assume that sharing is always effective. There are certain pieces of equipment that must be dedicated to specific users.
Wet laboratories should have chemically resistant covered flooring. Sheet goods are usually preferable to floor tiles, because floor tiles may loosen or degrade over time, particularly near laboratory chemical hoods and sinks. Rubberized materials or flooring with a small amount of grit may be more slip-resistant, which is desirable in chemical laboratories. Coved flooring that allows 4 to 8 in. of flooring material secured to the wall to form a wall base is also desirable.
Floors above areas with sensitive equipment, such as lasers, should be sealed to prevent leaks.
9.B.5.5 Doors, Windows, and Walls
Walls should be finished with material that is easy to clean and maintain. Fire code may require certain doors, frames, and walls to be fire-rated.
Doors should have view panels to prevent accidents caused by opening the door into a person on the other side and to allow individuals to see into the laboratory in case of an accident or injury. Doors should open in the direction of egress.
Laboratories should not have operable windows, particularly if there are chemical hoods or other local ventilation systems in the lab.
9.B.6 Noise and Vibration Issues
Many laboratories utilize equipment that may emit significant noise, require a stable structural environment, or both. During early planning stages, all equip-