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or bumpers, and corner guards should be considered to protect walls and corners from damage.
Ceilings should be smooth, moisture-resistant, and free of imperfect junctions. Surface materials should be capable of withstanding cleaning with detergents and disinfectants. Ceilings of plaster or fire-proof plasterboard should be sealed and finished with a washable paint. Ceilings formed by the concrete floor above are satisfactory if they are smoothed and sealed or are painted. Generally, suspended ceilings are undesirable unless they are fabricated of impervious materials and free of imperfect junctions. Exposed plumbing, ductwork, and light fixtures are undesirable unless the surfaces can be readily cleaned.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC)
Temperature and humidity control minimizes variations due either to changing climatic conditions or to differences in the number and kind of animals in a room. Air-conditioning is an effective means of regulating temperature and humidity. HVAC systems should be designed for reliability, ease of maintenance, and energy conservation. They should be able to meet requirements for animals as discussed in Chapter 2. A system should be capable of adjustments in dry-bulb temperatures of +1ºC (+2ºF). The relative humidity should generally be maintained within a range of 30-70% throughout the year. Temperature is best regulated by having thermostatic control for each room. Use of a zonal control for multiple rooms can result in temperature variations between the "master-control" animal room and the other rooms in the zone because of differences in animal densities within the rooms and heat gain or loss in ventilation ducts and other surfaces within the zone.
Regular monitoring of the HVAC system is important and is best done at the individual-room level. Previously specified temperature and humidity ranges can be modified to meet special animal needs in circumstances in which all or most of the animal facility is designed exclusively for acclimated species with similar requirements (for example, when animals are held in a sheltered or outdoor facility).
Brief and infrequent, moderate fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity outside suggested ranges are well tolerated by most species commonly used in research. Most HVAC systems are designed for average high and low temperatures and humidities experienced in a geographic area within +5% variation (ASHRAE 1993). When extremes in external ambient conditions that are beyond design specifications occur, provisions should be in place to minimize the magnitude and duration of fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity outside the recommended ranges. Such measures can include partial redundancy,