Safe and Efficient Design for Specialty Laboratory Areas

Jonathan Eisenberg, Arup
Jeffrey Huang, Arup

As designers and consultants for a variety of laboratory facilities, we often work on specialty areas, such as NMR suites, freezer farms, incubator rooms, and process scale-up labs. Each of these has its own set of performance criteria. Our designs need to ensure personnel safety and compliance, while also incorporating efficiency and operational aspects.

This presentation will discuss concepts for mechanical ventilation and control, detection and alarm, and fire protection in specialty lab areas. We will reference the latest codes and standards including the International Mechanical Code, ANSI Z9.5, and NFPA 45, as well as best industry practice. Real-world examples will be shared from our lab consultation and design practices.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss operational performance needs for specialty laboratory areas, such as process scale up labs
  • Learn the hazards associated with these areas and how the codes and standards address them
  • Discuss design approaches for specialty labs and rooms to meet goals for efficiency and safe operation
  • Use real-world examples to illustrate the operation of these lab areas and how we approach their design.


Jonathan Eisenberg is an Associate Principal at Arup, based in the Boston area office. Jon has over 25 years of fire protection engineering, chemical engineering, and chemical manufacturing experience. He is a nationally known expert in industrial, chemical, and laboratory fire protection and hazard analysis. Jon combines his fire protection and chemical engineering backgrounds to offer a unique, real-world blend of expertise to owners, facility managers, tenants and design teams.

Jeffrey Huang is an associate with Arup in New York. He has 15 years of experience in commercial and institutional work, with owners, client representatives, commissioning agents, and contractors. Mr. Huang is lead mechanical engineer and PM on a number of Arup's laboratory projects, combining goals of safety and energy efficiency. Mr. Huang taught at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and is currently teaching at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture.


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