Step 4 – Detailed Laboratory Design


The first step of the design is to group analyses into different areas. The basis for grouping can vary. A grouping can be done based on the type of samples:


  • Oil samples vs environmental samples
  • Dry versus wet samples
  • High versus low concentration of analyzed compound (contamination)


While other laboratories would better be grouped based on the type of testing:

  • Wet versus dry
  • Chemical versus physical tests
  • Dirty versus clean samples.

Often it will be a hybrid of above mentioned groupings


After grouping, the equipment can be assigned to the different areas.

The assignment of equipment will be the basis for further optimisation

Some rearrangement can lead to lower equipment cost, prevention of  contamination or more efficient workflow.

Together with the client we can decide which parameters are deemed more important.

Each area can now be further investigated:


  • What is the need area?
  • How much bench space is needed?
  • What utilities are needed (e.g. electricity, gases, water)?
  • What others items are needed (fume cupboards, local extraction, sink units, storage)?

All relevant information will be available in the Building Information Model (BIM)

Step 4a – First result detailed laboratory design
Laboratory Design

This group now slowly becomes a laboratory room. Inside this room we can look where to place the equipment. Furthermore we can look into the supporting items such as:

  • fume cupboards
  • sink units
  • sample preparation equipment etc.


Various parameters will help in deciding how to design each room, such as:

  • What are the safety rules?
  • How to implement the walking route?
  • What supporting material are needed (extraction, utilities, storage)?
  • How to avoid/handle contamination?
Step 4b – Optimizing the laboratory design
Laboratory Design

During this phase the relation between the different groups can be analyzed. As a result issues arise if groups are kept together. Sample routes will no longer be efficient because they might be too far apart. But also with respect to contamination and  safety.

Together with other non-laboratory spaces (e.g offices, storage, changing rooms, utility rooms) a rough building plan can be drawn up.

In conclusion this process of laboratory design is an iterative process. It will be balancing the different parameters. Optimizing one parameter can negatively influence another parameter. For example optimizing a sample/walking route might negatively influence the cost or maybe have a negative impact on possible contamination.

As slowly the layout of the rooms gets shaped and the position of the rooms gets settled it is time to start the design of the laboratory building.

Step 4c – Detailed laboratory design, the optimized end-result
Laboratory Design

Finally it is time to sit around the table with architects and building contractors. Looking at the site it can be decided where to place the building and what space is available. In addition things like sample supply routes are checked. Consequently another round of iterations to layout the rooms and layout the whole building will be done.

As a result of this process the project can be checked for its Fit4Purpose.

Consequently a budget for the project can now be made Fit4Budget.

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