Measure Twice, Install Once: Getting Your Dedicated Lab Furniture Placed Just Right

dedicated-lab-furniture-measuringWe’ve all heard the stories—or seen the DIY reality television shows—where hapless homeowners attempt their own renovations and discover that their brand new refrigerator won’t fit where they planned because they didn’t measure everything quite right. Or they got the measurements right, but they can’t get the fridge into the kitchen through a narrow doorway.

But it’s not just unfortunate weekend DIYers who have those kinds of problems. Whether you’re working on a renovation of your lab, or designing a lab from scratch, it’s always a good idea to measure carefully and plan ahead or risk discovering that your dedicated lab furniture isn’t the right size for your laboratory. Here are some handy tips to make sure you can install everything where it needs to go—and avoid those embarrassing installation situations.

Tip #1: Measure Every Step of the Way

Especially if you work in a large facility, taking delivery of your dedicated lab furniture can be a challenge. If your lab isn’t on the ground floor, you will need to make sure that there is a freight elevator large enough to handle your delivery, as laboratory furniture tends to be wider and heavier than standard office furniture.

In fact, we suggest that you walk every step of the proposed delivery pathway, from truck to lab, before you even order your lab furniture. Note the measurements of the furniture and take the time to make sure all the hallways, doorways, steps, corners, and elevators can accommodate it—along with the dolly it will be carried in on. If you’re not certain it will work, spend some time with your facilities manager to see if he or she can suggest an alternate route or a clever idea to get around any tight corners.

Tip #2: Prepare a Dedicated Lab Furniture Layout

Of course, once you get your new furniture into the lab, you need to know that it will fit where you want it. This is where those old tried-and-true methods are the most effective. Get yourself a sheet of graph paper and cut out some small scale models of each piece of furniture, as well as any freestanding instruments that must fit into your lab. Draw your lab to scale on the graph paper, including all built-in countertops, cabinets, etc. Then figure out where all your movable furniture and machines will go.

Of course, you can probably also get one of your assistants to create all this on their computer, setting up a proposed lab layout for your review and feedback.

Tip #3: Match the Furniture with the Utilities

Once you’ve drafted your graph paper layout, you will want to make sure to integrate utilities connections into the picture. Water, power, and waste lines need to be adjacent to the machines and workspaces that need them. (Lab safety will certainly be compromised if, say, your fume hood is on the wrong side of the lab!)

It’s also important to determine whether you will have enough electricity available to safely power all your instruments. And make certain that the proposed arrangement functions from a workflow perspective as well.

Tip #4: Talk with the Dedicated Lab Furniture Experts

If you’re planning the purchase of some lab furniture, feel free to give us a call here at ionBench. We’ve heard all the move-in horror stories, and we know exactly how wide our benches are, so we can help you determine which furniture choice is best for your particular lab—and for the path you’ll use to get it there.