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Guidelines for laboratory furnishings

Planning process for laboratory furnishings

When possible, the planning of laboratories should start with the inside and work outwards. This means that laboratory equipment should be laid-out first, then the space and the equipment and appliances for the building, and lastly, the building itself. This is the only way to ensure that the facility is oriented to the processes and the requirements of the users.

The following data and questions are ascertained and considered in a specification sheet:
  • Type and frequency of the work processes
  • Surfaces for test procedures
  • Number of personnel working in the laboratory
  • Number of evaluation/writing stations
  • Equipment requirements
  • Which chemicals, consumables, process materials are required?
  • Required sanitary and electrical media with indication of quality
  • Storage space requirements
  • How are logistics planned for the laboratory?
  • Disposal of chemicals
  • Number of required rooms, secondary rooms and common rooms
Then the approved specification sheet is worked into a room data sheet, in which a quantitative and qualitative specification for the laboratory space and laboratory equipment are put together.

Sanitation, electrical

An precise definition of the interfaces is required:

  • How will lines/pipes be routed in the building?
  • How will media be brought into the laboratory?
  • Will media such as vacuum or compressed air be generated centrally or locally?
  • Where are the transfer points?
  • Who will connect the lines to the cut-off valve?
  • Who will safeguard the electrical circuits and connect electrical lines to terminals?

Ventilation

  • What volume of air is required?
  • How high is the air exchange rate?
  • Are exhaust hoods with variable volumetric flow rates intended?
  • Are the rooms air-conditioned?
  • Who will be responsible for the regulation of the room air in the laboratory?
  • How much of a factor is heat generation from devices, people etc?
  • Who will connect exhaust hoods and cupboards with forced ventilation to the ventilation system?

Detailed planning of laboratory equipment:

Laboratory tables:

  • Which tabletop material is required and/or sufficient?
  • Which media (sanitation, electrical) will be required at the table and what should the quality of such media be?
  • Should shelves or wall mounted cupboards be integrated?
  • Which base cupboards will be needed?
  • Should wash basins be integrated or will separate sinks be provided?

Storage space:

  • Which devices, consumables and other implements need to be stored?
  • Will space be required for the storage of documentation, etc.?
  • Are ventilated cupboards such as acid/alkaline storage cupboards, compressed gas cylinder cupboards, solvent cupboards or chemical cupboards required?

Laboratory exhaust hoods:

  • Specification of hood type based on the height of the room and the work to be conducted
  • Which media will be needed?
  • Constant or variable exhaust air?
  • Is special cladding such as ceramic, polypropylene or stainless steel required due to the use of corrosive chemicals?
  • Are shuttle valves needed in the side wall of the hood for the routing of cables?

Safety

The guidelines for laboratories were created by the German Federation of the statutory accident insurance institutions for the industrial sector, technical chemical committee and cover protective measures for the hazards associated with general operations in laboratories. They also address the construction and furnishing of laboratories. Information about the following subjects is also provided:
Operational and traffic routes
Work surface in front of the laboratory table or exhaust hood: 450 mm
Traffic area between 2 work surfaces: 550 mm
  • Doors: Must open outwards and be fitted with a window.
  • Ventilation: Laboratories must be fitted with sufficient forced ventilation systems which are effective at all times.
  • Storage space for hazardous substances: Must be connected to a sufficiently dimensioned ventilation system which is effective at all times.
  • Full body showers: A shower connected to a water supply (preferably potable water) must be installed at the exit of all laboratories.
  • Eye showers: An eye shower connected to a potable water supply must be installed in all laboratories.
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