This page contains document links to Construction Criteria Base

Laboratory: Dry

by WBDG Staff

Last updated: 05-26-2010

Overview

The Dry Laboratory space type is a laboratory space that is specific to work with dry stored materials, electronics, and/or large instruments with few piped services. The laboratories defined by this space type are analytical laboratories that may require accurate temperature and humidity control, dust control, and clean power. See also WBDG Research Facilities.

Offices, general storage, and warehouse spaces associated with laboratories are covered in their own respective space types.

Clients are pushing project design teams to create laboratories that are responsive to current and future needs; that encourage interaction among scientists from various disciplines; that help recruit and retain qualified scientists; and that facilitates partnerships and development. As such, a separate WBDG Resource Page on Trends in Laboratory Design has been developed to elaborate on this emerging model of laboratory design.

Space Attributes

Dry laboratory space types are designed to accommodate project-specific work patterns and scientific equipment. As such, they tend to include design features that provide reliable working conditions in a somewhat mobile environment. Typical features of dry laboratory space types include the list of applicable design objectives elements as outlined below. For a complete list and definitions of the design objectives within the context of whole building design, click on the titles below.

Functional / Operational

  • Constant and Reliable Temperature and Humidity: As some equipment and experiments are temperature- and humidity-sensitive, constant conditions are required in Dry Laboratory spaces to ensure that equipment can perform properly and that experiments produce accurate results. Laboratories are usually supplied with variable volume terminal reheat system with pre-filters and after-filters for 90% efficiency. In general, laboratory spaces have positive pressure relative to other spaces with no return air from the laboratory to the other spaces. For more information, see WBDG High-Performance HVAC.
  • Dust Control: Just as experiments and equipment may be sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, so might they be to dust and other foreign particulates. For more information, see WBDG Air Barrier Systems in Buildings and Air Decontamination.
  • Laboratory Occupancy: Occupancy Group Classification for Dry Laboratory is B2, Sprinkler protected construction, as per IBC, with a GSA Acoustical Class C1 for enclosed spaces and Class C2 for open spaces.

Productive

  • Durable/Flexible/Mobile Casework: As working conditions will often change due to new projects and equipment, dry laboratories are usually fitted with mobile casework to allow for flexibility in the floor plan. This casework is generally a pre-manufactured laboratory metal casework system with cantilever support off of central service chase system. Counters are typically a plastic laminate with integral splash. The chase system has metal channel support with a horizontal distribution of wiring. See also WBDG Research Laboratory and Trends in Laboratory Design.
  • Reliable, Easy to Access, Wiring System: Due to the flexible nature of the Dry Laboratory, the distribution of critical wiring (power, voice data, and HVAC) should be clearly laid out, and easy to access and redirect. Thus, a raised floor system is the recommended system of distribution of critical services for this space type.

Secure / Safe

  • Fire and Life Safety: All Laboratory spaces typically will contain a hand-held chemical emergency fire extinguisher in an emergency equipment cabinet. There is generally one fire alarm pull station by each egress point and an audible and visible (strobe) alarm in each occupiable space (not including closets, storage rooms, or coat racks). For more information, see WBDG Security and Safety in Laboratories.

Sustainable

Example Program

The following parameters are representative of the Dry Laboratory space type.

A lab-planning module of 12' wide by 24' long, with utility and service closets extending 3' beyond at each end. There are 24" deep counters along each side with 27" seating zones in front of each counter and a 36" walkway down the middle of the module.

Example Plans

The following diagram is representative of typical tenant plans.

Laboratory (dry) space type

Example Construction Criteria

For GSA, the unit costs for Dry Laboratory space types are based on the construction quality and design features in the following table (PDF 48 KB, 3 pgs). This information is based on GSA's benchmark interpretation and could be different for other owners. Revolving darkroom doors, clean room ratings, exhaust fume hood systems, stable structure and vibration control, shielded space, and any piping systems including filtered chilled water typical of dry laboratories are not included in the table.

Relevant Codes and Standards

The following agencies and organizations have developed codes and standards affecting the design of research laboratories, including those containing dry labs. Note that the codes and standards are minimum requirements. Architects, engineers, and consultants should consider exceeding the applicable requirements whenever possible.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers)

Department of Veterans Affairs

General Services Administration

National Institutes of Health

Major Resources

WBDG

Building / Space Types

Health Care Facilities, Research Facilities, Animal Research Facility, Research Laboratory, Academic Laboratory, Government Laboratory, Private Sector Laboratory, General Storage, Laboratory: Wet, Office, Warehouse (Space Type)

Design Objectives

Accessible—Beyond Accessibility to Universal Design, Functional / Operational, Historic Preservation—Accommodate Life Safety and Security Needs, Productive—Integrate Technological Tools, Productive—Assure Reliable Systems and Spaces, Productive—Design for the Changing Workplace, Secure / Safe—Plan for Fire Protection, Secure / Safe—Ensure Occupant Safety and Health, Sustainable

Products and Systems

Section 23 31 00: HVAC Ducts and Casings, Section 23 05 93: Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing for HVAC, Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers, Building Envelope Design Guide

Project Management

Building Commissioning, Project Planning, Delivery and Controls

Publications

Others