Laboratory Design Consultants
OnePointe Solutions is a leading laboratory design consultant, scientific furniture manufacturer, and lab builder. Our projects range from classrooms to Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 and BSL-3+ enhanced labs.
Our fume hood and biosafety cabinets are built to exceed expectations for cleanrooms and testing laboratories. We provide custom tailored mass spec and LC/GC benches built to order for specific instrumentation.
We Are a Lab Design Firm
We take pride on providing customers with high quality, custom manufacturer direct laboratory furniture. By ordering from us, you will have access to our expert team of designers and project managers.
Have a laundry list of changes mid project? Has a timeline bee pushed back? We can adapt as a project evolves, and make sure you have someone on your side as you have to navigate the design and installation process of a new lab.
Industries We Serve
Research and Development
We Come to You
For our onsite consultation, we’ll fly, drive, ride (whatever it takes) to see your project first hand, offering expert advice on every aspect of a new laboratory build or a custom renovation.
We Draw It
We take all the key measurements we’ve gathered from you and our time spent with you, and meticulously draft every detail of the prospective space.
We Manufacture It
We build everything for your lab, to your exact specifications and to perfectly fit your space. Which means we control quality and can guarantee customer satisfaction.
We Install It
Our salaried install team transports and finishes the project exactly as you have specified.
Your installation is complete. We are always available for help or service after a project is finished.
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Very professional company and installation team. The quality of the furniture is outstanding.
- Rebecca K.
Great customer service! OnePointe Solutions provided a quote within a timely manner making possible to meet my target date for my project. Roy was great to work with!
- Alijah S.
Questions? Concerns? Want to start today? Get in touch. 866.612.7312
Contact us for a free layout.
We offer free on-site measurements nationwide. We’d rather come see you.
Types of Lab Furniture We Offer:
Lab Furniture Materials:
- Metal (Steel)
- Stainless Steel
- Epoxy Resin
- Phenolic Resin
- High-Pressure Laminate
- Maple Block/Butcher Block
- Solid Surface
We meet all requirements for SEFA, NSF, NIH, and GSA. We are able to be an approved supplier on government, education, and military projects.
Our expertise in laboratory design includes biology, pharmaceuticals, cannabis testing, robotics, ESD environments, food science, dental labs, medical labs, pathology labs, animal research, radiology, rare diseases, genetics. We build labs focused on cleanliness, efficiency, ergonomics, and productivity, and meet guidelines and codes provided by ANSI, CDC, NFPA, AAALAC, and NIH.
Types of Labs We Design, Renovate, and Build:
- Cannabis Testing Labs
- Dental Labs
- Medical Labs
- Animal Research
- Academic Labs
- ESD/Electronics Labs
- Oil & Gas
As a leading lab and cleanroom design firm, we strive to exceed client expectations, and work with end users, architects, and contractors to assure the full scope of the project is met successfully. We provide full design services and can offer Revit, CAD, and SolidWorks files to help design outstanding projects.
We are in compliance with LEED building practices, and provide support and warranty protection after construction is complete.
Many labs manufacture and create products and pharmaceuticals that require specific environmental conditions during production. Cleanroom design goes beyond simply creating a controlled environment for conducting lab work.
Rather, cleanrooms are designed specifically to minimize the presence of foreign and unwanted particles during the experimentation and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. In this article, we will focus on how to design a cleanroom environment, and some of the steps you should take during the process to help keep you on track.
Environmental and Location Considerations
Before you start designing a cleanroom, you should make sure your space is appropriate and determine what you will need for your lab’s specific work. Understand that you must meet specific environmental and location requirements for your cleanroom to be successful.
As most cleanrooms are a vital part of a larger chain of operations, considering where in your lab to host your cleanroom is vital. Proximity to vibration or high-powered machinery may cause shifting or unexpected particle fluctuation, so a low-vibration site is preferable.
Similarly, placing your cleanroom close to high-traffic areas of your lab, or near spaces with higher contamination rates will put the equilibrium of your cleanroom at risk.
2. Evaluate the Space
Once you have determined the location of your cleanroom, you should carefully examine the space you have chosen. Your chosen room should be able to support all processes within the cleanroom and should be large enough to provide ample opportunity and space for all personnel, equipment, furniture, and airflow.
While it will be easiest to design a regularly shaped room, all layouts can be used as long as they afford ample your team the space and safety they require.
To avoid cross-contamination, some cleanrooms may require a single access point. By minimizing the number of access points to the cleanroom, you can protect vulnerable processes from airborne material inflow.
Some labs opt for air locks to protect critical spaces, direct both entrance and exit flow to avoid cross-contamination, or create systems for managing personnel traffic. An ante-room is another solution to maintaining cleanliness.
An ante-room is a room that exists between the cleanroom and any other un-rated area. Airlocks and ante-rooms help lab staff avoid opening unclean spaces and cleanrooms at the same time, reducing the risk of contamination.
By choosing a space that can accommodate all of these requirements, your cleanroom design will already be off to a great start.
3. Choose a Cleanliness Classification
Cleanrooms are assigned ‘levels’ of cleanliness based on standards created by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology. Once assigned a cleanliness classification, cleanrooms must maintain environmental conditions in order to maintain an acceptable level of present particles.
Each cleanliness classification specifies the number and size of acceptable particles that may be present, and can greatly impact the kind of work that can be conducted within the room. To determine what cleanliness classification your cleanroom will require, consider the needs of your particular work and the standards you need to meet.
Pharmacy cleanroom design must comply with FDA regulations, so will require a more stringent cleanroom classification.
Here is where proper design planning comes into play. The ideal finishes, layout, entrance regulation and more will depend on what cleanliness designation you are attempting to maintain.
The regulations with which you will need to comply will be entirely dependent on your industry, and the requirements of the products you create. To avoid cleanliness risks and issues down the line, learn all you can before you start the process of building your cleanroom.
4. Air Change
As mentioned above, when considering layout, airflow and air change are extremely important elements in cleanroom design. Most important in the pre-construction and planning phase is considering what spaces will be open to one another.
In order to help create the most stable cleanroom environment possible, ensure in the planning process that no cleanroom will be exposed to an environment more than two designations below its own. Here again, you should consider how personnel will enter and exit cleanroom spaces, what sort of mechanisms can be put in place to avoid contamination, and whether or not an airlock or anteroom may be appropriate.
Some pharmaceutical cleanroom designs may require pass-throughs, windows, or gowning rooms. Additional windows can provide needed safety supervision opportunities and reduce the need for non-vital personnel to enter cleanrooms.
A pass-through can allow for the exchange items without fully exposing a cleanroom to a non-clean area. Pass-throughs can be custom created for the needs of the lab depending on the size, shape, and location requirements.
A gowning area may also be necessary. Here you can provide your personnel with a space in which to store, dispose of, and dress in gowns and proper lab attire without cross-contamination.
Construction and Materials
Once you have laid the groundwork for your cleanroom, you can begin the construction process. There are a myriad of material and finish options to choose from, each with its own unique properties.
Depending entirely on the requirements of your cleanroom, everything from floor to ceiling will need careful consideration.
Pharmaceutical cleanroom designs often include renewal or change of flooring materials. Ideally, you will choose materials that can stand up to different types of substances and even absorb spilled or dropped chemicals.
Vinyl sheeting welded into place and fused to become seamless is a popular choice among lab designers for its resilience to chemicals, solvents, and cleaning agents. Other designers opt for epoxy, which offers a similar chemical and solvent resistant surface.
Other cleanroom designers prefer flooring materials designed to discharge electrostatic charge, especially in environments that may be more sensitive to static or electricity. In these cases, labs might install grounded conductive flooring to reduce or eliminate this risk.
Another common addition to cleanroom flooring is a minimum 4” cove where walls and floor meet. This smooth rubber coating helps in the process of cleaning, preventing contaminants, chemicals, and foreign objects from building up in cracks.
Whether you already have a room capable of being converted into a cleanroom, or need to create the walls you will use to enclose your room, there are several options available to you. While basic steel stud and gypsum board construction are commonly used and a viable option, you are not limited to this traditional method.
Many labs are beginning to utilize modular wall systems that can be moved or restructured to change the cleanroom space at a later date. Other labs are opting for concrete block construction, a great option if you want to finish your walls using an epoxy.
No matter what type of wall construction you decide on, one of the most important factors to consider is the finish. Smooth, non-shedding, and smooth surfaces are essential for any cleanroom design.
Aluminum panel or coated steel finishes are growing in popularity as they are easy to clean and chemical resistant. Epoxy paint, polyurethane, and baked enamels provide non-porous finishes that prevent flaking and buildup and are all appropriate cleanroom wall finishes.
Here you should also consider semiconductor cleanroom design; environmental control is of the utmost importance, so the selection of finishes will need to be done carefully. Another integral part of cleanroom wall construction is the addition of rounded corners.
Sharp corners invite the buildup of contaminants, chemicals, and unwanted residue where rounded corners allow for fast and easy cleanup.
As is the case with cleanroom walls, ceiling finishes must comply with sanitation regulations. If your cleanroom has a suspended ceiling, all panels must be sealed to prevent drastic leakage or air pressure changes.
Finishes can be used to fill in cracks and porous materials in areas of your cleanroom that require more frequent sanitization. Additionally, rounded corners and smooth ceiling design will help make wall and ceiling cleaning simple.
You should also consider lighting and filtration. The specific requirements for filtration and lighting will depend on the unique needs of your lab and staff, but some general rules still apply.
Keeping cracks and leakage opportunities to a minimum, all accessories and filtration added to ceiling construction should be sealed and properly finished to help maintain proper levels of sanitation.
As previously mentioned, depending on the unique needs of your cleanroom, you may require airlocks or ante-rooms for contamination prevention. You will also require emergency exits and general entrances.
Regardless of which doors you are focused on, here again, the finishing materials and specs matter. Emergency exit doors will need automatic locking mechanisms to prevent outside entry; however, you should also be able to open them from within.
Emergency exit doors should also be equipped with a crash-bar mechanism that will sound an alarm to notify the rest of your lab of an emergency.
Door finishes that shed or are particularly porous are not recommended, as these can contribute to contamination and contaminant build-up over time. As with ceilings, walls, and floors, the doors of your cleanroom should be finished with smooth, non-shedding, chemical resistant products.
All doors going in and out of your cleanroom should be fitted with self-closing mechanisms to keep air exchange at a minimum, and sealants should be utilized to help prevent leakage.
Once your cleanroom has been constructed, you are ready to begin filling it with the necessary equipment and furnishings. Integral to the proper conduction of experiments and production of pharmaceuticals is the presence of appropriate workspaces.
As with wall, ceiling, and floor finishes, all cleanroom furniture should be non-shedding and rated to withstand contact with harsh chemicals and solvents. Here, you are able to customize your cleanroom space efficiency and the comfort of your staff.
1. Tables and Workbenches
Tables and workbenches are an essential part of everyday life in a lab, and often act as the stage on which to perform experiments and vital data analysis. Depending on what type of work is conducted in your lab, you have several options to choose from.
OnePointe Solutions creates amazing tables and workbenches with the unique needs of every lab in mind.
Labs in which work surfaces may be exposed to higher levels of moisture may benefit from epoxy resin or phenolic resin finishes, both of which are resistant to and hold up well against moisture. ESD laminate is designed to prevent static electricity discharge, so may be better for labs in need of static resistant finishes. Stainless steel is a classic option for labs where bacteria buildup or porous surfaces could be a concern.
2. Storage and Cabinetry
From storing chemicals and potentially harmful substances to personal belongings, every cleanroom needs ample and sturdy storage. Here again you should consider the specific needs of your lab.
Custom casework, storage, and cabinetry can be designed to fit your space and with specific items in mind, so consider what exactly you will need to store in your cleanroom.
Many cleanrooms house storage units designed for specific environmental conditions or products requiring steady temperatures. Some may require cabinetry with locking mechanisms for more secure storage.
Other cleanroom designs may incorporate sterilization cabinets, designed to sterilize and store equipment between uses. Regardless of what you specific requirements are, OnePointe Solutions can work with you to design the perfect storage system for your cleanroom.
3. Fume Hoods
The addition of fume hoods in a cleanroom environment can aid in the maintenance of clean designations and particle presence. Fume hoods provide important filtration and ventilation in environments in which acrid fumes or harmful chemicals may cause environmental or health risks.
Fume hoods can help keep your cleanroom cleaner, and aid in the overall cleanliness and comfort of your facility.
Lab Design Best Practices for 2020
1. Map Out Your Design Project from the Start
Before you take any steps to get your lab design or renovation project off the ground, create a checklist of factors to consider along the way. Every build is different and depends on the type of laboratory, as well as applicable regulations and safety requirements.
The lab design requirements that must be met to maintain safety standards and security varies between each type, so be sure to understand your lab’s specific needs. You may need to devote resources specifically to safely handling biological materials, or you may need to concern yourself with security of the facilities.
The following are examples of laboratory types that may have their own unique safety requirements:
Create a checklist where you can track your lab’s specific needs before the project begins to avoid hurdles down the road. Beyond that, put into writing the needs, wants, and aspirations of the lab owners and researchers.
A well-developed program should include information on:
- Goals for the lab
- Type and number of occupants
- Design constraints involved costs and floor plan
- Organizational charts for personnel
- List of furniture and equipment needed
- List of applicable regulatory codes and certifications needed for the project
2. Hold a Kick Off Meeting with Stakeholders
Building or renovating a laboratory requires meticulous project management skills. Ensure everyone from the building managers to the facilities and maintenance workers understands the breadth of the lab design project.
Plan a kickoff meeting at the beginning of the project with the following stakeholders:
- Lab Owners
- Mechanical Engineers
- Faculty and Students
- Facilities and Maintenance Personnel
Encourage feedback along every step of the way. Each of these stakeholders may be connected in some way to one another so it is important they are able to communicate in case they have concerns about the new design or renovation.
3. Plan for Control Areas Early in the Design Project
Group H occupancy, otherwise known as control areas, is part of the International Building Code (IBC) administered by the International Code Council (ICC)
Taken directly from chapter 3 of the IBC:
“High-hazard Group H occupancy includes, among others, the use of a building or structure, or a portion thereof, that involves the manufacturing, processing, generation or storage of materials that constitute a physical or health hazard in quantities in excess of those allowed in control areas constructed and located as required in Section 414.”
In order to properly comply with regulations, carry out a hazard analysis of the entirety of your planned or existing laboratory layout. Make sure you document any future uses that may fall under the regulation of hazardous materials.
Once you’ve clearly indicated the perimeter of your control area, establish a program to continue receiving inspections from the appropriate organizations and personnel.
4. Design Your Fume Hood Set Up Around the HVAC System
If your laboratory design involves fume hoods, communicate with your facilities management and mechanical engineers to ensure your fume hoods can be properly connected with the building’s HVAC system.
If you have already installed a fume hood and want to test its connection to the HVAC system, conduct a paper strip test. Tape a strip of paper, tissue, or ribbon to the fume hood sash and observe whether the activated fume hood conducts an air flow.
5. Have On-Site Engineers, Electricians, and Plumbers Assess Initial Designs
Once you obtain detailed drawings from a lab designer or furniture manufacturer, have your site’s engineering and facilities team review them for accuracy and fit. As the project develops and installation begins, check in regularly with your on-site team to ensure both the manufacturers and the building team are aligned on the specifications of your laboratory.
6. Inspect the Dimensions of Doors and Hallways
Beyond the actual design of the layout, lab furniture and equipment will need to be transported through the building during installation and for future removal or replacement. Document the necessary pathways you need to take to get your laboratory installed successfully.
The right furniture manufacturer should offer on-site consultations that include these measurements, like ceiling heights, equipment paths, door widths, and turning clearances.
Lab Design Trends in 2020
1. Flexible Lab Furniture
Flexible laboratory workstations and casework are increasingly important in today’s scientific environment. With a variety of new tools and equipment in development, modern lab furniture needs to have maximum connectivity, power supply, and flexibility.
Lab Furniture Must Have:
- Room for added gas valves and nozzles
- Connections to electrical and plumbing
- Flexible dimensions to work around columns and other room features
- Smooth and soft-edged design
- Clean welded surfaces with welding beads only where structurally necessary
- Aesthetic surfaces and textures to create a cohesive appearance
We recently installed a flexible lab installation at SUNY Downstate in New York. This project included built-in outlet and irrigation while keeping the table mobile and able to be reconfigured within the room.
2. Science Recruiting Challenges and Urbanization
Research companies are increasingly focused on major cities like Boston, New York, and San Francisco. These hubs have no problem attracting young talent who are indifferent to rising rent rates and seeking fun, energetic cities to begin their careers.
Laboratories in need of highly skilled employees face unique challenges to make up for the competitive advantage that these larger cities have. To counteract this, there are key areas companies in smaller cities must invest in to stay competitive:
Don’t Neglect Company Culture: Culture is a major draw for young talent, especially in less populated regions. Invest in operational and HR staff who can keep a pulse on employee morale. Cultivate a strong sense of community through different work-related and off-the-clock activities. This will go a long way towards recruiting new talent and keeping the employees you have.
Make the Most of Recruiting Channels: Use every resource at your disposal to find new talent. Don’t just rely on job boards. Consider hiring recruiters who specialize in STEM fields.
Consider Outsourcing: If your firm is finding it difficult to fill certain positions, or losing employees to more competitive markets, you may want to seek contract work and outsource certain tasks. Make sure to take the proper steps to counteract any holes in your personnel due to recruitment challenges.
3. Infrastructure Laboratory Data and Cloud Computing
New laboratory technology can interface with the cloud, allowing for seamless recording and analysis of instrumentation data. This will allow practitioners to access their instruments remotely and with greater ease.
These technological advances will lead to more compact equipment and less space needed for computer workstations. Conversely, labs that have to process large amounts of data may choose to invest in on-site dedicated servers to run their operation.
The rise of automation in laboratory tasks is a key result of the shift to cloud computing. Laboratory automation has been around for quite some time. As devices become more interconnected, creative ways to increase efficiency and build automated infrastructure will arise.
4. Shift Towards Sustainable Lab Research
Harvard’s laboratories adopted a sustainability plan in 2014 which has escalated activities each year since. This is part of a growing trend to make labs more eco-friendly.
Key Focus Areas for a Sustainable Laboratory:
- Efficient Lighting Systems
- Ventilation Control and Limitations
- Solar Power Generation
- Demand for Cooling and Air Changes
- Sanitation Products and Chemical Cleaner
- Ultra-Low-Temperature Freezers
- High-Heat Equipment
- High-Voltage Systems
- Energy Demanding Equipment and Instrumentation
- Retrofitting and Working within Existing Constraints
Sustainable research facilities require diligence on the part of designers and renovators. Project managers must take care to ensure they make the most out of the facility’s constraints of the facility to create the most eco-friendly lab possible.
Lab Design Resources and Inspiration
- Animal Research Lab Furniture and Design
- Cannabis Lab Design
- Common Challenges and Opportunities for Creating a Sustainable Lab
- Lab Designers Think Differently
- New UT Austin Lab Build
- Furnishing the Future – School Laboratory Furniture
- 3 Things to Consider When Choosing Lab Furniture
- Five Ways to Make Your Lab More Ergonomic
- Lab Design Case Study
- The Value in Buying American Lab Furniture
- Clean Labs on Lockdown
- Newest Biotechnology Lab for Radio-Pharmaceuticals
- Lab Design Best Practices
- Cleanroom Design
- Leverage Flexible Furniture Options to Create a Smart Lab Design
- Any Lab Design, Anywhere, For Anyone