When building out any space, part of our job is to understand the program requirements and make sure that all criteria are adhered to. When building out laboratory space, this becomes especially important. There are many, many types of labs, unique to all different use cases. Some labs are extremely regulated and have very strict controls in place. At the very simplest level though, there are wet labs and dry labs.
In wet labs, chemicals and other liquid or gaseous substances are handled with other liquid solutions or gaseous phases. Because of the nature of the work and the handling of liquids, wet labs require lab benches, sinks, hoods, safety equipment etc. Direct ventilation and piping are major considerations for wet labs.
Wet Lab Design Considerations:
- Lab bench countertops and sinks that can be cleaned easily
- Materials and finishes that are resistant to bacteria and chemicals
- Piped in hot and cold water, often including reverse osmosis or deionized water
- Biosafety cabinets
- Chemical fume hoods
- Facilities for handling live test specimens
- Specialized refrigerators and freezers
- Controlled environmental areas
- Sterilization equipment
- Safety showers, eye wash stations and hand washing stations
- Drain, waste and vent services
The role of the dry lab has expanded from providing a space for working with dry stored chemicals to a lab space with a network of powerful computing systems. In dry labs, computers are used to carry out analysis, modeling, and simulations. A dry lab is place where analysis of data is conducted with computers and mathematical analysis. The design of these labs are as critical as wet labs, but the requirements are very different.
Dry Lab Design Considerations:
- Extensive HVAC controls to support cooling and humidity levels of computer labs
- Clean power systems for sensitive computers, research instruments and network communications
- Vibration controls for sensitive instruments that need to maintain calibration
- Fire suppression systems
- Communication integration systems