Creating an adaptable lab with biosafety needs
At some point in your life, you have probably either said or heard the phrase, “hindsight is 20/20,” of course referring to a lack of vision for what the future may hold. In laboratory design, architects and engineers are giving increased attention to helping their clients avoid this scenario.
At its core, science is about discovery, which inevitably leads to change. As new discoveries are made, laboratory spaces are required to adapt. This can be a daunting task, however—especially considering the mechanical systems involved in laboratory infrastructure. One type of equipment that requires unique design considerations is the Class II Type B Biosafety Cabinet. The Type B design requires dedicated exhaust ventilation, which often burdens the laboratory mechanical system as a whole.
By nature, Class II Type B Biosafety Cabinets are large energy consumers due to their high exhaust volume requirements. Keep in mind that all of the heated or cooled air removed from the lab must be replaced, which substantially affects HVAC costs. In addition, Class II Type B Biosafety Cabinets are permanent fixtures which cannot be altered—even when research-needs change and no longer require exhaust ventilation.
This is one of the reasons a new type of Class II Biosafety Cabinet has been developed that lowers the exhaust volume requirements and can adapt to the changing needs of a laboratory space.
Adaptability should be a key objective of any research facility design. Its requirement, in order to accommodate change, is widely acknowledged. The term adaptability, along with flexibility is regularly used in this context and often in a loose way. The terms are often interchanged, their definitions often contested.
But whilst adaptable and flexible have broadly similar meanings, they are generally not interchangeable. The former means “able to be adapted” (or possibly “able to adapt”), and the latter “able to flex or bend”. Adaptable indicates long-term changes; flexible more short-term alterations. A building might be adaptable enough to accommodate a laboratory or a school (a long-term use), or flexible enough to vary the number of rooms by having easily-moved internal walls (a shorter-term change). . . .