Lab Design Tips for a Functional Workspace: Part 1

We all know that a poorly designed engine will not perform efficiently. The same is true with lab design. Awkward layouts, incompatible pieces of dedicated lab furniture, and tight or wasted space can all affect the efficiency of your processes. Here are five lab design tips to create functional lab workspaces.

1.    Get Everyone on Board

No lab is going to function at its best if all stakeholders are not involved in its design. Begin with an all-hands-on-deck kickoff meeting, but don’t let it end there. Keep people at all levels of the organization involved throughout the lab design process. Encourage additional input. In fact, invite staff to think about processes as they work and talk with maintenance concerning what does and doesn’t work smoothly after lab techs have left for the day. Brainstorming new solutions to existing problems can ensure a more efficient work environment for the long haul.

2.    Start Your Lab Design with a Focus on Control Areas

One key component of a successful lab design is appropriate separation of hazardous and combustible materials. List all current chemicals used, but also brainstorm where research and trajectories are taking your lab processes, so that you can control chemical interactions in the future as well as with current projects. Include careful consideration of code and safety requirements as well. Be certain to design storage areas to meet your needs and be sure to purchase sufficient dedicated lab furniture for the safe storage of all types of hazardous chemicals.

3.    Size Your Space to Meet Present and Future Needs

If you’ve ever worked in an older lab, you know how frustrating it can be when the footprint of your equipment has grown, necessitating larger and more complex lab furniture. Often, the space becomes crowded and staff find it difficult to navigate safely through cramped work areas. When creating a new lab design, allow plenty of space for not just any lab furniture, but the latest, safest dedicated lab benches that can account for the maneuvering on heavy-duty caster wheels (such as our IonBenches) for an HPLC or other peripheral machines that are used episodically or need to be repositioned throughout the lab.

4.    Organize Your Space to Ensure Proper Ventilation

Modern HVAC systems can pull quite a bit of air through a space. This can be a boon for proper ventilation—or a nightmare if improperly installed. Make certain that lab pressurization will meet safety standards. Ensure that the location of fume hoods and live flames will not intersect with HVAC systems in such a way as to cause fumes to escape containment, and potentially spread throughout your building or the HVAC system, blowing out or suddenly expanding a live flame, which would result in a dangerous lab accident.

5.    Get a Complete and Comprehensive Equipment List

Another reason for involving all stakeholders in your lab design (see tip #1 above) is the need to get a comprehensive equipment list. Once you know all the equipment that must be place in your lab design, you can design a complete layout and work with a dedicated lab furniture vendor like us to install lab benches and ancillary furniture that will support each workstation in your new lab design.

This is why we encourage you to contact Tim Hawkins now via email or at 1-888-669-1233. He can discuss the importance of consistency provided by installing dedicated lab furniture from a single vendor that will integrate seamlessly to support lab processes.

Also, stay tuned for our next post, which will share five more tips for designing a functional lab workspace.