Optimal lab designing is a task that demands a high level of planning. Typically, it should involve all important links in the chain from the scientists and students to managers and maintenance staff who can contribute with valuable inputs requiring exact requirements. All the major functional teams in the lab need to have meaningful discussions to provide comprehensive information to the lab designer and architect for maximum optimization and efficiency.
Here are the best tips to keep in mind for planning an optimal lab.
- Optimizing Processes in Foundation Step
Early in the planning phase, important decisions must be made regarding optimizing processes as this is the foundational phase. Lab design has to be in accordance with the major processes and placement of science equipment in the lab. Designers must follow particular design principles as well as mechanical and electrical parameters of each lab space specific to the use of that space. Whether it is research space or storage, optimization is a must.
- Planning Space for Materials and Consumables
It is imperative to know how the lab allows the handling of materials and consumables. If the system instructs each research group to cater to its own needs, then separate storage areas may be built, but practically this leads to inefficient space management. In other cases, the lab might provide some basic infrastructure and consumable items like gases and rest are to be borne by individual groups. This is a better plan if space needs to be managed more conservatively as you could arrange for the centralized purchase, delivery, glass washing and storage.
Also Read: Pro Tips For Going Green In The Lab
- Accommodating Security Protocols
Security is a key factor since science laboratory equipment is under consideration. As a part of security planning, it is essential to look out for areas of the lab which are open for public access and should be restricted only for researchers. Similarly, intellectual and sensitive data also needs to be protected from leaks. You can start with basic outlining using pen and paper and involve building committee as well as security directors in this planning. For instance, limited access areas need to be restricted by locked doors, access cards or intelligent security devices. Two-factor security may be installed for high-security spaces wherein you need a card or PIN along with biometric identification.
- Planning Mechanical Systems and Maintenance
For specific safety requirements, some labs or universities might need mechanical plumbing or systems that lock from outside. For instance, use of basement floors or penthouse for exclusive isolation of certain areas or dedicating a separate storey for limited access spaces, though this might involve higher costs.
With these tips followed, a fully optimized lab facility can be planned and developed based on combined inputs and a team approach.