Keeping Safety at the Forefront: Balancing the Economics and Practicalities of Commercial Building Design and Construction

Thursday, September 21, 11:15 - 12:15 PM

In a world where safety is the number one priority of most institutions world-wide, lab planners must deal with the complexities involved in designing and building laboratory facilities—especially where chemical loading and incompatibilities of material or function and people are always of primary concern. Code requirements, guidelines and best practices aren’t enough. They need to meld with an understanding of the laboratory user’s functional needs, business requirements and an understanding of how that translates to architectural design and building construction. You need a translator/designer to live in all those worlds at once.

Design proposals should keep safety at the forefront, while balancing the economics and practicality of commercial building construction. Often leadership requirements on lab projects dictate certain usage or construction typologies, which might be in conflict with existing business operational requirements, such as minimizing the quantity of on-site and in-use chemicals regulated by building code and NFPA. This presentation discusses both fundamental and strategic design decisions which help large users occupy their laboratory facilities in a safe manner, in part by minimizing the chemical quantities within the laboratory areas to avoid hazardous areas and occupancies. The objective is to deliver a safe, sustainable, functional and easily maintained facility while balancing the objectives of the business needs and the commercial investment.