Fig. 2: This vivarium space had to be remediated because the facility’s SOPs were not initially followed.
and sterilization procedures. During
the programming phase, it is extremely
important to understand how the end
users are going to use their space, espe-
cially the cleaning and sanitization of
the facility. The importance of under-
standing SOPs is illustrated by the fol-
The holding spaces were constructed
of gypsum wallboard and epoxy paint
and included a wash-down hose con-
nection and floor drains. Based on the
facility’s SOPs, the entire room was to
be washed down prior to use and at the
end of each study. After the initial wash-
down and prior to move in, the paint
blistered. The vivarium needed to be
remediated to withstand a room wash-
To minimize this remediation, the
improper wallboard was replaced with
a glass-fiber reinforced polymer composite wall and ceiling panels that used
the existing metal studs (see Fig. 2). Not
only was this change expensive, it also
delayed the development of research
space that was going to replace the existing facility.
If flexibility is a major driver for the
project and gypsum board is to be used,
then based on their future needs, the
design team should address the limitations of this system. This would include
a discussion on appropriate methods to
clean and sanitize this space.
Cagewash facilities are one of the larg-
est investments in space and expense due
to the selection and size of equipment.
Therefore, it’s important to conduct
early discussions with the end user and
operators of the cagewash facility to cor-
rectly determine the right size and even
“future-proof” this core facility. Here
are a few factors that need to be consid-
• Equipment selected.
• Volume of equipment to be processed.
• Dirty and clean staging/storage.
• Sterilization requirements.
• Feed and bedding requirements.
Use movable casework and minimize
Providing mobile casework systems,
changing stations and biological safety cabinets with overhead connections will allow
end users to modify their own environments to meet their day-to-day needs as well
as future needs, without the involvement of
a facilities group. This requires some additional forethought to fully consider how the
mobile furniture connects to power, data,
exhaust systems and service fixtures.
“WHAT IF” CONSIDERATIONS
It’s crucial for companies facing future
renovations or the construction of a new
vivarium to take the time at the front end
of the design process to carefully examine
these flexibility topics. To help with this
process, here is a list of questions and
“what ifs” for the team to consider:
• What new or emerging technologies
exist that might improve the efficacy and
safety of the work processes?
• How does personal protection
equipment (PPE), used now and in the
future, affect the design of the facility?
• Prior to the last AAALAC
inspection, what facility issues did