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Laboratory Design, Construction, and Renovation: Participants, Process, and Product
office and laboratory with minimal effort. However, centralized offices may encourage researcher interaction. Further, because offices can use recirculated air, they can be served by a dedicated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system if centralized. Laboratories, which in most cases cannot recirculate the exhaust air, can then be served by a separate HVAC system sized only for the laboratories. Using the less costly, recirculated-air HVAC system for offices and minimizing the size of the costly HVAC system serving the laboratories can reduce operating costs. Finally, creating laboratory zones composed of many contiguous laboratory modules is generally considered a more flexible arrangement than isolated laboratories because it allows research groups to grow and shrink without costly renovations to the space they occupy.
Laboratory support functions, including instrument rooms, equipment rooms, tissue culture rooms, glassware wash rooms, and storage rooms, are also often centralized in areas or zones. Sometimes laboratory support zones flank a central circulation corridor with research laboratories located on the periphery. In these instances, offices are often clustered and located at the corners of the laboratory floor to ensure that each office has an exterior window. This configuration also ensures that laboratories are adjacent to rooms housing laboratory support functions. Other configurations locate laboratory support spaces in a central zone separated from the peripheral laboratory zones by a racetrack circulation corridor. A service corridor may bisect this laboratory support zone. The various types of corridor configurations are more fully discussed below in this chapter, in the section on "Corridors."
The size and location requirements for storage space—a laboratory support function—should be carefully considered, as should expectations for short-or long-term use. Appropriate and adequate storage areas should be included in the planning phases, particularly for storage of potentially hazardous chemicals that require unique environments. Supervision and management of the storage areas can be as critical as the provision of adequate, well-designed storage spaces and should also be considered in design specifications. Storage space should support the research and other activities within a laboratory building and should not be used to house defunct equipment or unusable chemicals.
Strategic design and use of storage areas, particularly those for chemicals, can have many safety, environmental, and health-related benefits, as discussed in the section "Dedicated Storage Space" in this chapter. Conversely, storage of chemicals and flammable materials in a laboratory can increase users' exposure, increase the fire load in the laboratory, exacerbate a fire or other incident, and increase the cleanup cost after such an incident. Laboratory storage rooms should therefore be located adjacent to the laboratories they support and equipped with storage cabinets built to house flammable materials and ventilated cabinets for the storage of toxic and noxious materials. Equipment storage rooms should be included in the design of a laboratory facility to minimize the storage of unused equipment in the laboratory.