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Future-Ready Laboratories

By Sandbox Studio

Determination of Real Laboratory Space Required

The initial step in the planning and new organization of laboratory units is always the determination of end user requirements. Qualities and quantities have to be defined for the determination of requirements. The determination of the room conditions and the requirements for the laboratories with regard to the classification into safety or hygiene classes has to be carried out at the beginning of a project. However, these determinations can also be made soon after the first detailed adjustments have been made. In any case, such determination is crucial in the beginning stage of the design process to ensure what critical requirements are needed. The determinations on the space required take some time because completely different results are calculated depending on the respective views. Nonetheless it is crucial to take into account cost effectiveness in every step of the space planning and design to ensure key project deliverables are met. Seen from an economic point of view, the fewer square meters a laboratory has got, the better it is. However, more space means a higher degree of flexibility when talking about laboratory processes. Taking into account all these factors, while at the same time weighing in on the cost effectiveness of each decision along the design process will ensure the right design is produced, one that befits the project needed.

When taking a closer look at the areas, it is also essential to differentiate clearly between the different definitions of area types. For example a gross floor area (GFA) can be twice as large as a main usable laboratory floor area (UFA); this is because construction floor area, functional area, and circulation area take up a lot of space in the laboratory building. In particular, the size of the functional space, that is, the space used for building technology with ducts and building control systems, makes up quite a significant part of the laboratory building.

The demands of space must be appropriate; future developments have to be taken into account in a meaningful way. There are big differences in the ways the demands of space are determined. In many cases, this determination is calculated by asking the users, with the users measuring the space existing and then adding some subjective value to cover future developments.

Effective Space Design

Effective laboratory design incorporates elements of flexibility and adaptability to future requirements. This is because the focus of research and biomedical sciences is constantly changing. The research facility must not be designed exclusively and permanently for any one pattern or type of research work only. The gamut of biomedical sciences is both wide and deep, taking into consideration the trends of part research work as well as the potential for the research landscape to shift in future. The basis of design should incorporate flexibility while maintaining cost efficiency at the time of design. Thus, the design of the laboratory should integrate the following key elements:

  • Flexibility:
    The nature of research can change in unpredictable ways. The team will assess the kind and extent of flexibility that can be rationally planned while considering biosafety guidelines, in the overall lab design proposal.

  • Safety:
    High risk factors to researchers include possible contamination from specimens, and pathogens, explosion, and exposure to chemicals. Exits must be clearly marked and the location of fume hoods must eliminate the possibility of endangering the lab workers.

  • Quality of Environment:
    The design must take into account the need for the presence of natural light, pleasing colours, and a conducive environment within the laboratory to enhance productivity.
SANDBOX STUDIO is a specialist boutique design practice that offers specialized design and styling to a regional client base. The team works with government agencies, hospitals, laboratories, medical centres, architectural and engineering firms, research facilities as well as private companies throughout Asia. SANDBOX provides a wide range solution in design and space planning, optimization of medical and laboratory workflow, guidance on safety and regulatory standards as well as setting up of cost effective and sustainable medical, commercial and laboratory complexes. SANDBOX STUDIO also undertakes modular pre-fabricated systems constructions, bespoke commercial projects and work spaces fit-outs.
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