Lab Design Services

M/E Engineering has been involved in the design, retrofit and commissioning of numerous laboratory projects.
Contact M/E Engineering for more information on our Lab Design Solutions.

Recent Projects

Lab Design Services

Projects we've completed have included design services for the following various laboratory types: 

  • General Chemistry 
  • Radio-Chemistry Teaching 
  • Research Hospital and Clinical 
  • Biological Containment
  • Animal Isolation/  Clean Rooms 
  • Materials Testing 
  • Electronics/Instrumentation 
  • Biological/ Microbiological 
  • Physical and Therapeutic Research 
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Translational/Clinic
CFD Modeling in Lab Design

It is through this varied experience, we are able to provide designs that are uniquely matched to the users' needs.  Additionally we also possess the capability to further analyze the space needs through Computational Fluid Dynamic Modeling.  This helps to insure our designs are efficient, cost effective and safe for those occupying space. 

Furthermore, we not only design spaces, we are actively involved in research to help develop design tools that will aid in not only the initial layout of the laboratory system but will aid in the operation of these spaces both from an energy as well as safety standpoint.

Design Process

The process of lab design is often an extensive one with many phases.  Below is a sampling of the necessary steps to facilitate a successful lab design. 


Risk Assessment: 

The first step in the design process is a risk assessment.  The results of this analysis will provide the necessary information that will help direct the system selection and the sizing of systems.  This analysis can be divided into several areas. They include the following: 

  • Fire
  • Chemical Exposure
  • Effluent Discharge
  • Biological Exposure
  • Magnetic Fields Exposure
  • Radiation Exposure
  • Laser Light Exposure

The results of this analysis will produce information regarding air change rates for occupied/unoccupied times, hood face velocities, effluent discharge and the need for modeling of effluent discharge, etc.  

Design Phase:

The following is a sampling of the design process and some typical parameters for designing laboratories.

Determine Exhaust/Supply Requirement: 

Higher ventilation rates may be required and less may be acceptable if the laboratory process is well defined and it can be demonstrated that harmful contaminant concentrations in the room air will be maintained below their threshold limit value (TLV).

Load Calculations:  Load calculations will be performed to determine the size of systems

  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Exhaust Airflows
  • Process Equipment
  • Electrical Service Sizing
  • Laboratory Gases
  • Water Needs and Pressure requirements
  • Fire Protection Coverage

Integration of Architecture and Engineered Systems: 

  • Air Intake Locations
  • Individual and Manifolded Air Systems
  • Operation and Maintenance Issues
  • Utility Distribution
  • Modular Laboratory Layouts
  • Separation of Laboratory and Non Laboratory Areas
  • Fire Separations
  • Access and Egress
  • Laboratory Volumes
  • Directional Airflows
  • System Complexity vs. Budget
  • System Redundancy vs. Budget
  • Short-Term vs. Long Term Costs

Evaluate System Options:

Potential Exhaust Systems:

  • General
  • Hood
  • General Chemical
  • Bypass Fume Hood
  • Perchloric Hoods
  • Biological Safety Cabinets
  • Radio-Isytop Hoods 
  • Toilet
  • Elevator Machine Room
  • Generator (As Needed)
  • Smoke Purge (Atrium)  

Supply Systems: 

Laboratory Spaces: 

General room ventilation will be provided to prevent the buildup of emissions in the Laboratory.  The layout of the supply air system will be designed such that the placement of supply and exhaust will maximize the clearance of contaminants from the room. 

Supply will be balanced with hood exhaust and general exhaust in each room.  Supply air will be slightly less than the exhaust air to allow for laboratory rooms to be under negative pressure at all times, or hallways and stairways will be pressurized to produce a negative pressure in a lab room.  Laboratory static pressure will be negative (-.02” to -.05”) relative to the corridors.  Pressurization shall be established by initial balance and maintained by linked supply and exhaust flow. 

Layout of Ducts and Rooms:

  • Locate exhaust points and flows
  • Determine placement of supply diffusers
    • From Clean to Dirty
    • Avoid disturbing hood face velocity profile
  • Identify manifolding of exhaust systems
  • Identify supply/exhaust main locations
  • Layout supply/exhaust duct run out

Size Primary Air Systems: 

Air systems will be sized for 120% of the design load requirements to accommodate future renovation needs as well as maintaining operational diversity.  Side-by-side air handling systems manifolded together to allow for system back as maintenance without total loss of supply air will be utilized. 

Evaluate Air Treatment: 

Design Exhaust Stack - Effluent discharge will be maintained a minimum of ten feet above the roof surface and will maintain a constant discharge velocity of 4000 fpm.  We would suggest that a consultant to evaluate effluent discharge be added to the design team.  This can be accomplished either through computational fluid modeling or actual wind tunnel modeling of effluent discharge.  This has become a standard for all projects that we design.  

Evaluate Energy Recovery Options: 

  • Develop Control Strategies
  • Determine TAB and Certification Requirements: 

Commissioning Integration:  

Through the design process a review by a commission agent (M/E personnel or third party) will perform pre-functional tests to insure the design proceeds in a direction that will reduce constructability issues and operational issues after project completion and building turn over.  Further interactions from a commissioning standpoint will take place during the construction process and after construction completion during the testing and validation period.  We would further suggest that a construction manager be included on the team.   One that has specific personnel from a mechanical contracting background and can also add to review of constructability issues.

Contact M/E Engineering for more information on our Lab Design Solutions.