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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- For information on sustainable design in laboratories, see WBDG Sustainable Laboratory Design and Using LEED® on Laboratory Projects.
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.
The following diagram is representative of typical tenant plans.
Example Construction Criteria
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
- Airborne Particulate Cleanliness Classes in Clean Rooms and Clean Zones, GSA Federal Standard 209E
National Institutes of Health
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)
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—Fire Protection, Secure / Safe—Occupant Safety and Health, Sustainable
Systems & Specifications
Building Commissioning, Project Planning, Delivery and Controls
- Architectural Graphic Standards, 12th Edition by American Institute of Architects, Dennis J. Hall. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2016.
- Building Type Basics for Research Laboratories, 2nd Edition by Daniel Watch. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008. ISBN# 978-0-470-16333-7.
- CRC Handbook of Laboratory Safety, 5th ed. by A. Keith Furr. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2000.
- Design and Planning of Research and Clinical Laboratory Facilities by Leonard Mayer. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1995.
- Design for Research: Principals of Laboratory Architecture by Susan Braybrooke. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993.
- Guidelines for Laboratory Design: Health and Safety Considerations, 4th Edition by Louis J. DiBerardinis, et al. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013.
- Handbook of Facilities Planning, Vol. 1: Laboratory Facilities by T. Ruys. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.
- Laboratories, A Briefing and Design Guide by Walter Hain. London, UK: E & FN Spon, 1995.
- Laboratory by Earl Walls Associates May 2000.
- Laboratory Design from the Editors of R&D Magazine.
- Laboratory Design, Construction, and Renovation: Participants, Process, and Product by National Research Council, Committee on Design, Construction, and Renovation of Laboratory Facilities. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.
- GSA Sustainable Facilities Tool (SFTool)—SFTool's immersive virtual environment addresses all your sustainability planning, designing and procurement needs.
- Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21)—Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, Labs21 is a voluntary program dedicated to improving the environmental performance of U.S. laboratories.