monolithic room surfaces that do not promote dust accumulation and are easy to sanitize, increased air exchange rates to dilute environmental contamination if it occurs, air pressure differentials to ensure that areas containing hazards have negative pressure with respect to surrounding areas, specialized housing systems, if available, and appropriate safety equipment such as a biologic safety cabinet or chemical hood (CDC and NIH 2007). A number of references are available to provide an overview of the issues related to hazardous material containment (Frazier and Talka 2005; Lehner et al. 2008; Lieberman 1995; NRC 1989, 1995)
When planning a behavioral facility, special attention should be given to all aspects of facility design, construction, equipment, and use that may generate conditions that inappropriately stimulate the senses of the test animals. It is frequently necessary to maintain animals in an environment, especially during periods of testing and observation, with strict control over auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory stimuli. The facility site, as well as the engineering and construction methods used, should be carefully selected to minimize airborne transmission of noise and groundborne transmission of vibration.
Noise and vibration may arise from the building’s structure, its equipment, or from human activities (see section on Noise). The frequencies and intensity of sound, which stimulate auditory responses in the species being investigated, should guide the selection of construction materials, techniques, and equipment to minimize intrusions. For instance, the HVAC system should be designed and components selected to ensure that noise, including ultrasonic frequencies, is not generated; fire alarm annunciators that emit sound at a frequency not audible to rodents should be used; hardware should be provided on doors to enable them to close quietly; nonessential noise-generating equipment should be housed outside the study area; and personnel traffic should be minimized both in animal testing areas and in areas contiguous to them (Heffner and Heffner 2007). Attention should be given to the control of aberrant visual cues, especially in circadian studies. The selection of the type, intensity, and control of lighting will likely differ from other animal facility areas. A variety of specialized housing and testing systems may also need to be accommodated in the facility.
Special construction features may also be desirable. Double-door vestibule entries to the behavioral facility, testing suites, or individual testing rooms may be useful as they can prevent noise, odors, and light from entering the behavioral testing area. Floor coverings that reduce sound transmission should be selected. Testing rooms may require floor drains, water sources, and increased floor loading to support specific behavioral testing apparatus.