Building or refurbishing a new laboratory can be a daunting task as there is many things to consider In the design process. In this article, we cover 5 key considerations whilst building a laboratory.
- Understand the process and workflow.
It is important to understand the flow/process of your existing laboratory. This will help you to design and utilise space effectively when investing in an upgrade or new-build. Consider motion studies, spaghetti diagrams and flow charts. Involve existing laboratory staff in blue sky meetings and ask questions while documenting and drafting the full step by step process of your laboratory. This flow chart will assist importantly in the layout of essential equipment leading into the layout of the laboratory benching. Consider constraints in the new laboratory space while keeping in Australian standards in mind. Draw a spaghetti diagram of the new space to ensure that motion waste is reduced. Consider U-cell, T-cell or Z-cell workstations to assist with the reduction of motion within a process.
- Consider all Laboratory Services
Start with the end in mind. Consider all types of services that you may need. Clearly, identify and document service types in your sketch of the process to ensure no services are overlooked. Services would include hot and cold water, power (single phase, 10amp and 15amp and 3 phase) data (wireless or cable) and gasses (Include but not limited to natural gas, LPG gas, argon, oxygen, nitrogen etc.)Ensure segregation of services is compliant with current standards. Will the services come from the floor or ceiling? Consider running services in a perimeter service duct around your laboratory to give you long-term flexibility.
- Laboratory Flooring and coving options
What type of floor covering do you require for your new laboratory? Commercial heavy-duty vinyl is commonly used and recommended for laboratory flooring. Will you be coving the kickboards or coving wall? Coving the kickboards is ideal for more permanent laboratory journey packages. It is getting scarcer due to the inflexibility of the cabinetry whilst on the positive, this offers great cleaning accessibility. Coving the walls allows for a much more flexible laboratory as the flooring can be completed prior to the installation of modular benching and facilitates long-term flexibility.
- Choose the best Benchtop for your application.
There are many types of laboratory benchtops to choose from in the Australian market. Benchtops such as chemtemp extreme epoxy, compact laminates and phenolic resins, synthetic polymers or even ceramic should be considered. Every Benchtop has its own strengths, look at your needs and prioritise them from most important to least important factors. E.g. do you require recoverability, semi-fire retardant’s, heat resistance, chemical resistance, moister resistance, hardness or scratch resistance? Show the Modulab team your list of priorities so we can assist you with the best choice for your laboratory.
- Build to the Australian Standards
Are you building or refurbishing to the standards? This is a very important factor to consider to ensure your laboratory will be a safe and compliant workspace. There are many standards to consider and if your laboratory is being designed by an architect, make sure they are familiar with the standards prior to them putting pen to paper. Here are a few standards to consider whilst designing your space.
- AS 2243.6 Safety in laboratory – Mechanical Aspects
- AS 2243.7 Safety in laboratory – Electrical Aspects
- AS NZS 2243.1 Safety in laboratory – Planning and Operational
- AS NZS 2243.2 Safety in laboratory – Chemical Aspects
- AS NZS 2243.8 Safety in laboratory – Fume Cabinets
- AS NZS 2243.9 Safety in laboratory – Rec. Fume Cabinets
- AS NZS 2243.10 Safety in laboratory – Storage of Chemicals
Get in touch with Modulab to understand more about the Australian standards and ask us how we can assist you with our free design consultancy.