flexible laboratories, is safe for laboratory workers, is compatible with the surrounding environment, has the support of the neighboring community and governmental agencies, and can be constructed in a cost-effective manner. This report covers many basic aspects of design, renovation, and construction projects in general as well as specific laboratory-oriented issues. In its discussion of the latter, the committee considered primarily chemistry and biochemistry laboratories; it did not deal specifically with specialized buildings such as animal facilities, nor did it address multiple-use buildings such as teaching and research facilities. (Narum, 1995, deals with teaching laboratories.)

Overall, the general principles elucidated by the committee make its recommendations applicable to the construction or renovation of almost any laboratory building. Through its investigations the committee found that although individual projects differ, there are certain commonalities in successful laboratory construction and renovation projects. These include the right participants and a continuity of personnel; a thorough, well-defined, and thoughtful process; and a broad knowledge of the relevant issues. These common themes are discussed in Chapters 1 through 3: ''Human Issues," "Process Issues," and "Technical Issues." Many of these elements, especially those discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, may appear to be common sense, but they were found to have been overlooked in some of the projects described to the committee. Other themes are more specific to laboratory facilities.

Transcending specific issues and recommendations are four critical factors identified by the committee as characterizing successful laboratory construction or renovation projects:

  1. A "champion" who is strongly committed to the success of the project, who has the confidence of the entire client group, and who stays with the project from beginning to end;

  2. A design professional, often an architect, who has experience and demonstrated success in laboratory design and construction;

  3. A well-defined and well-articulated process for carrying out the project from predesign through postconstruction; and

  4. Clear lines of communication and authority for all participants throughout the process.

Attention to all of these factors is basic to achieving a successfully designed and built laboratory facility.


Chapter 1, "Human Issues," discusses the participants, the sociology of building projects, and community relations. Participants are the people who play significant roles in a laboratory construction or renovation project. Some are

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement