Friday, May 5, 2017

Lab Planning - Everything is Connected to Everything Else

laboratory design planning meeting
Each participant brings value to the lab planning process
Lab planning, whatever the scale, benefits from participation by specialists in the various facets of the project. Nobody knows everything, so collaboration and coordination are needed to balance and satisfy the wide array of jurisdictional, institutional, scientific, and other requirements that make up a successfully completed project.

Lab space is comparatively expensive to create or renovate. Architectural, mechanical, electrical, or other items will be incorporated into the space that may not have applicability to future use of the square footage other than as a laboratory. A long term view of the space dedicated to laboratory use and the incorporation of features and structures that can support that long term use can be beneficial.
What are some of the facets and drivers of the lab planning process?
Safety - Most are familiar with common laboratory safety and sources of hazard. Arranging the work areas and equipment, coordinating personnel movement, and other considerations can serve to reduce the potential for mishaps. The details are far beyond the scope of this article, but keeping safety in mind and a knowledgeable safety specialist on the planning team will deliver benefits every day the lab is in operation.

Productivity - The arrangement of workstations and equipment can have a cumulative impact on how much work gets accomplished in a given time frame. Productivity improvements are most often achieved in very small increments, many of which, combined, add up to real gains.

Ergonomics - Lab work can entail precise manipulation of instruments and tools, as well as visual inspection or interpretation of ongoing processes. Maintaining a level of technician comfort will promote productivity and safety, as well as reduce the potential for errors. Participants in the planning and design process knowledgeable and experienced in ergonomics can add to the overall success of the project.

Facilities and Utilities - Lab spaces often have unique requirements for electrical and mechanical services and support. It can be beneficial to make an attempt to accommodate potential future uses of the space for lab processes other than the initial intended use. Air supply and exhaust, electrical service, plumbing specialties, and more can be initially installed to support a variety of future endeavors. This foresight could avoid disruption of surrounding spaces and excessive cost to make changes in the future.

Budget - The budget drives stakeholders to place a value on almost every facet and detail of the project. A careful weighing of the benefits derived from every part of the design puts discipline into the process and can lead to a positive outcome.

A great plan arises from the combination of many participants. Share your laboratory planning challenges with experienced professionals, combining your own knowledge and experience with theirs to produce an effective solution.

1 comment :

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