Step 4 – Detailed Laboratory Design – Conceptual up to Detailed – Fully BIM compliant


The first steps of the design is to group analyses and equipment. Probably the bases for grouping can vary between different laboratories.

A possible grouping might be on type of samples. For example:

  • Oil samples versus environmental samples
  • Dry versus wet samples


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

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


Probably quite often it will be a hybrid (mixture of above mentioned groupings).

After dividing the samples and/or analysis in groups the equipment (from the equipment list) can be assigned accordingly. Hence, the next step will be to do an optimization step.

Seems like it can be concluded that some groups can be combined or that they should be further divided. Maybe a slight rearrangement of the grouping will result in a better use of equipment.


Each group can now be further investigated. Knowing the equipment belonging to the groups and the analyses to be performed will help in deciding on:

  • 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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