Degree of Uniformity/Flexibility. Although there are often real savings in strict modular design, some level of custom design might be considered to allow individuals a certain degree of self-expression and thus increase overall morale. Some of this individual design might be accommodated in portions of laboratories and offices without either compromising modular design or adding to cost. Simple ways to achieve individuality include user specification of paint or fabric colors.
Personal Workplaces in Laboratories. The amount and types of private space for laboratory workers should be considered, including design features such as partitions for privacy, lockers or locking cupboards for personal effects, and telephone and computer network outlets to satisfy both current and projected communication needs. Extra conduits or other provisions for future connections should be considered to accommodate growth and change.
Assembly Areas for Building Occupants. The building should include places where people can eat and meet in locations separate from laboratories. Effective planning requires a basic understanding of the kinds of formal and informal meetings the organization encourages. Planning should address whether there are special technical needs for meeting spaces, such as video conferencing capabilities, and the number of meeting and seminar rooms (the latter is often a special problem in industrial settings where classrooms are unavailable to fill in for this function). If workers have meetings where food is offered, planners must determine the organization's attitudes and policies concerning eating facilities (in descending order: dining room/cafeteria, kitchen, vending machines, microwave, coffeepot), including provisions for food-only refrigerators in work areas, even if there is a cafeteria, to allow workers who bring food from home to eat with others who buy their food. Subsidized food service has been found to be a useful way to keep workers on site and promote cross-fertilization of ideas. The building design should create opportunities for informal and spontaneous interactions; for example, markerboards in hallways or in niches can be very useful in promoting serious conversations in these settings.
Access Control. Access control is necessary in areas presenting health or safety risks. However, plans should be no more restrictive than necessary lest the impacted laboratory personnel abandon them. This issue is discussed further in the "Environmental Health and Safety" section of Chapter 3.
Library/Reading Room. The library or reading room should be comfortable and easily accessible at all times, and should contain provisions for future expansion of electronic capabilities. For a new building, the occupants should consider how they will organize and maintain the books and other resource and reference