Building materials for animal facilities should be selected to facilitate efficient and hygienic operation. Durable, moisture- and vermin-proof, fire-resistant, seamless materials are most desirable for interior surfaces, which should be highly resistant to the effects of cleaning agents, scrubbing, high-pressure sprays, and impact. Paints and glazes should be nontoxic if used on surfaces with which animals will have direct contact. In the construction of outdoor facilities, consideration should be given to surfaces that withstand the elements and can be easily maintained.
Quality animal management and human comfort and health protection require separation of animal facilities from personnel areas, such as offices and conference rooms. Separation can be accomplished by having the animal quarters in a separate building, wing, floor, or room. Careful planning should make it possible to place animal housing areas next to or near research laboratories but separated from them by barriers, such as entry locks, corridors, or floors. Additional considerations include the impact of noise and vibration generated from within the facility and from surrounding areas of the building, as well as security of the facility.
Animals should be housed in facilities dedicated to or assigned for that purpose, not in laboratories merely for convenience. If animals must be maintained in a laboratory to satisfy the scientific aims of a protocol, that space should be appropriate to house and care for the animals and its use limited to the period during which it is required. If needed, measures should be taken to minimize occupational hazards related to exposure to animals both in the research area and during transport to and from the area.
In a physically centralized animal facility, support, care, and use areas are adjacent to the animal housing space. Decentralized animal housing and use occur in space that is not solely dedicated to animal care or support or is physically separated from the support areas and animal care personnel. Centralization often reduces operating costs, providing a more efficient flow of animal care supplies, equipment, and personnel; more efficient use of environmental controls; and less duplication of support services. Centralization reduces the needs for transporting animals between housing and study sites, thereby minimizing the risks of transport stress and exposure to disease agents; affords greater security by providing the opportunity to control facility access; and increases the ease of monitoring staff and animals.
Decentralized animal facilities generally cost more to construct because of the requirement for specialized environmental systems and