close to the utilities and services distribution.
Flexibility at distribution level: The distribution of services—gases, electrical power, vacuum, water—are typically rigidly fixed on the
bench in a non-flexible configuration. However,
the services and utilities distribution wall can
be detached from the bench, breaking the rigid
connection between bench and services, allowing some level of re-configuration. Alternatively
they can be distributed from above—via flexible connections with blind connections—at
various points in the lab ceiling void to allow a
much greater degree of future configurability.
Bench configurations: By far the most common bench configuration in labs today is a
straight run, which is almost never the optimum configuration.
The key objective in work cell design is to
have clearly defined workareas and sample
flows with all necessary equipment, services
and materials close at hand and with reaches
and movement minimized. Achieving this
normally requires a bench configuration which
loops around. The classic work cell shape is the
“U”—also known as the horseshoe—but there
are several other alternatives that can achieve
the same objectives.
Arguably, the most versatile and re-configu-
rable option is the “comb and spline”, in which
the spline can be fixed with services supplied
from above and the comb elements are mov-
able. This allows multiple U and L shapes to be
easily created and re-configured when required.
While pharmaceutical QC labs are different
from manufacturing environments, they are
nonetheless operational entities. They have a
major impact on the release of product, and are
often significant cost centers in their own right.
Lean principles can and should be applied in
order to optimize lab processes and operational
performance. The design, layout and placement
of labs can have a significant positive or negative
impact on the implementation and sustainability
of lean processes and behaviors within the lab.
1. The output of this workshop has been developed into a white paper “Incorporating
Lean Principles into Pharmaceutical QC
Laboratory Design: building design influencing laboratory behaviours and effectiveness.”
The complete paper is available to download
Tanya Scharton-Kersten, Global Head of QC
Laboratory Management, Novartis Vaccines &
Diagnostics ( www.novartis.com) and Tom Reynolds, Operations Practice Director at BSM (www.
Designing labs for lean
continued from page 10
DESIGNING FOR FLEXIBILITY IN LAB INSTALLATIONS
Furniture in labs must fit with the activity
needs that will take place in the lab, and not
vice-versa. This simple principle may seem
obvious, but isn’t always respected.
It’s not unusual to find situations where the
testing activities are not lean as they could be
due to the constraints caused by the furniture
arrangement and utilities distribution.
Also, the user needs, type of tests, equipment and activities carried out in a lab evolve
over time and, often, a design that was originally perfect, may become obsolete quickly.
Sometimes it’s necessary to revamp a lab area
immediately after the conclusion of the construction phase.
To mitigate this problem, lab designers and
furniture suppliers have developed flexible
solutions over the past ten years:
Flexibility at bench level: Traditional benches
are fixed and, in practice, are difficult to relocate. Flexible benches, however, are on wheels
that allow reconfiguration of the lab layout.
They can be detached and moved, but the
re-configurability is limited as they need to be
; FRANCIS CAUFFMAN WELCOMES STANLEY STARK,
FAIA, AS PRINCIPAL Stark is an award-winning
architect with over 40 years of experience in the
planning and design of science, technology and
research and development facilities for prominent
public and private clients in the biopharmaceuti-cals, higher education and healthcare industries.
Stark’s portfolio includes a major translational
research facility at the Hospital for Sick Children
in Toronto, Canada’s leading pediatric care hospital; the Research
& Development Headquarters for Avon Products in Suffern, N. Y.;
the Drug Discovery Facility for Schering-Plough Research Institute
in Kenilworth, N.J.; and a Biological Safety Lab for Merck & Co. Inc.,
in West Point, Pa. After beginning his career at Westermann-Miller,
Stark moved to HLW International, where he spent 29 years and
was Director of Research and Development. Before joining Francis
Cauffman, he was Director of Strategic Planning at Vanguard Construction and Development, where he gained valuable insight into
the crucial relationships between architects and contractors.
; STANTEC DESIGNERS AUTHOR CHAPTER ON TEACHING LABS Published
by the American Chemical Society, Innovations and Renovations:
Designing the Teaching Laboratory highlights projects, best prac-
tices and considerations for academic institutions embarking on
a lab construction or renovation project. The chapter authored by
Stantec designers, titled “Pressure Point: Balancing the Competing
Demands of Chemistry Lab Design,” examines the options lab own-
ers have for finding a balance among the sometimes competing
factors of safety, space utilization and energy efficiency during the
design process. It analyzes the pros, cons and expected savings or
concessions of different design choices and gives examples of ways
to creatively use lab space to meet program goals. The chapter was
written by Stantec engineer Jim Eyth and architects Michael Reagan
and Alex Wing. All three have worked on dozens of teaching lab
projects across the U.S., including the Cornell Univ. Physical Scienc-
es Building, Carnegie Mellon Nano Bioenergy Technology Building
and the Ohio State Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and
Chemistry building. The book is available for purchase on the Amer-
ican Chemical Society Website.
; CHRIS ERTL JOINS CRB AS SENIOR LAB PLANNER FOR THE
MIDWEST Chris Ertl will be located in CRB’s Kansas City headquarters office with intent to help grow and develop the science and
technology architectural initiative at CRB. Ertl brings over 18 years
of professional expertise that includes lab planning and programming, architecture and project management. Before joining CRB, Ertl
served in multiple leadership roles during his 18-year career at HDR
Architecture. Most recently, Chris was a senior professional associate
and principal serving HDR’s science and technology group in Omaha.
His dual architecture and MBA degrees afford him a unique perspective in developing labs that are designed to increase productivity and
performance outcomes within a client’s budgetary requirements.
He has assisted a number of institutions across the country in their
pre-planning, master planning and feasibility studies.