When it comes to outfitting—or retrofitting—your lab, a number of important considerations need to be kept in mind. Unlike the standard college classroom or commercial marketing office, there are specific issues that can make standard furniture completely inappropriate, and even dangerous, in a lab environment. Lab furniture will also differ from home or office furniture in size and weight. As you plan to purchase dedicated furniture for your laboratory here are some important tips to consider.
- Think about the future, not just the present. It doesn’t matter whether you work in a cutting-edge research lab with lots of funding, or an academic institution where you won’t expect to see any more new lab furniture before you retire. It’s important to consider how these pieces are going to function, not just today, but also ten, fifteen, or even thirty years from now. If you’re not certain, take some time to brainstorm with colleagues about future needs, so you can rely on this new lab furniture to do the job for many years to come.
- Measure twice, buy once. Dedicated lab furniture tends to be deeper than standard office furniture because it is designed to hold multiple pieces of lab equipment that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. If you have an older lab space or building, you will probably have to deal with standard-sized doors and hallways, which might not be wide enough to accommodate newer lab furniture. Take the time to measure and be certain your new lab furniture can easily and safely be installed in your older building—before you sign that purchase agreement.
- Figure out where everything will go ahead of time. When outfitting or retrofitting a lab, there’s a lot to consider besides the furniture. Once the lab bench is in place, is there room for your water chillers, compressed air and/or gas tanks, and gas flows and other outlets? Another important consideration is the location of your electrical outlets. If you purchase a taller, standing lab bench or workstation, will that height block the outlets? It’s critical to make sure you can safely power all the instrumentation that you plan to put on, or adjacent to, your new lab furniture.
- Dedicated lab furniture must be biologically and chemically resistant. This is the reason why buying standard office furniture for a lab can actually be a dangerous proposition. Spills happen, accidents occur, and you need lab furniture that will not become part of the problem when something unexpected happens. It’s also critical that all lab furniture is easy to keep clean, so you don’t risk an unwanted chemical reaction by accidentally allowing materials to come into contact with leftovers from a previous spill.
If you’re looking to purchase furniture for your lab, we can help. Contact us for information and answers to your questions about how dedicated lab furniture can improve safety and reliability in your workplace.