Design Considerations for the Perfect Science Laboratory
When designing a Science laboratory, safety and practicality are of upmost importance. In this article we will cover the most important factors to consider when designing a lab and share a few top tips from our design experts.
Although every lab is unique in design, there are 3 main areas needed in almost every educational science laboratory: a practical area, theory area and storage. We will go over in detail, factors to consider when refurbishing your science laboratory.
Practical Area –
This is where the fun happens, but also where the potential for accidents is increased. Here are some of the following factors to consider when designing a perfect practical area for your pupils:
- High Benches – Firstly, consider the optimal height for your benches, the most common heights for High Schools is 900mm height. However, you may require a custom height or need a lower or height adjustable surface for disabled use. In most instances, you will require your Practical work benches to be fitted, however there may be occasions where a mobile workstation would be useful, mobile workstations should be fitted with castors with brakes to avoid accidents.
- Worktops – Worktops in practical areas is of upmost importance. Science laboratories require a highly durable, hygienic surface to withstand chemical spillages and frequent usage. Our most popular chose for laboratory worktops is Trespa, this is due to its heavy duty properties and minimal maintenance, it is extremely resistant to scratches and is heat resistant. Lighter Worktops are recommended, their light appearance will reflect the light in the room making the area more spacious and airy whilst giving the lab a hygienic, fresh feel. In addition, lighter worktop disguise scratches better than a darker alternative.
- Equipment and services – it is important that students have easy access to gas, water, electricity and drainage in order to effectively carry out experiments. We suggest that gas taps and electric sockets are shared between pairs, where possible.
- Seating – Ideally, stools should be able to slide easily under the benches. Some stools allow seats to be hooked onto the top of the bench at the end of the day, making cleaning procedures quick and easy. Stools with no backs are popular in the science lab, however were theory lessons may take place over a prolonged period of time, it may be work considering high-backed stools.
Storage in the science laboratory is crucial, most labs will contain chemicals and equipment which would be dangerous if handled incorrectly. Factors to consider:
- Storage Walls- these bespoke storage units are a popular choice for the science lab as they are designed to suit your labs individual requirements. Many schools opt for all lockable storage with Gratnell tray storage integrated. These units can also include device charging units, sinks, teacher desks and interactive whiteboards. You can read our blog on teaching walls for more details.
- Bag storage – it is important that bags are stored correctly and out of the way to limit the chance of accidents. Pigeon Hole storage is a popular choice for bag storage away from the Students Practical area.
Room Configuration –
It is important to get the layout of your science laboratory correct. Factors you should be aware of when considering a refurbishment are:
- Seated Space – The main priority for all teachers is to ensure the necessary number of pupils can be seated in their lab. With that in mind, it is then important to configure the best practical design to cater for the required number of students. As a guide, students should have a minimum of 600mm in which to conduct their theory work.
- Traffic – When configuring a laboratory, footfall is crucial, ensure that dangerous equipment and goods are stored in a position where they will see the least footfall past which will limit the opportunities for tampering, most commonly, this is situated in a store room or on the teacher wall behind the desk. It is also worth considering establishing the route students will take into and out of the room to ensure appropriate space is left for main walkways which will limit the opportunities for accidents.
Read about our Science refurbishment project at Cardinal Newman High School
For more information on design considerations for school science laboratories, please contact us on 01772 696 222 or email us at [email protected]