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Facility Capability Guidance

These pages are currently under development.

Facilities must be fit for purpose and designed (or refurbished) to a sufficient standard to enable the facility to be capable of permitting the specified activities to take place.

Facilities must also be designed such that they do not indirectly introduce inadvertent risks to the users of the space or additional risks to others in the vicinity, or if such risks are identified, that they are effectively mitigated to a satisfactory level as part of the design scheme. Such indirect impact could be that the room could introduce additional fire risks than previous, so checks would need to involve considering the fire integrity of the room, for example; whether any ductwork supplying or extracting air are capable of tolerating any hazards to be introduced into the space; whether the electrical supply could be affected by any materials introduced, etc.

Ideally a new research group will occupy a space that is already in existance for the type of research that is intended to be carried out; in reality however it is likely that some changes will be required to accommodate a change of use.

As Facility Manager it would be worth considering what capabilities the Department already has before a space is allocated and/or what limitations or challenges there may be to get, for example, the required amount of services or drainage to/from the space or to gain access (for equipment/vehicles if required), etc if these are required.

There are some room design criteria that are 'absolute' in legal terms. These include containment suites designed to cater for biological research activities; namely Containment Level 1, 2 or 3 facilities for Hazard Group 1, Activity Class 2 and Activity Class 3 type biological and genetically modified (GM) research. Specific details on these types of facilities can be found in the Biological Safety webpages.

Other facilities may not have such 'absolute' requirements. There may be some aspects that 'must' be in place and this guidance will identify which these are, but others that require an assessment of risk to identify needs. Greater time must be spent designing and specifying the needs for practical research spaces such as laboratories and workshops to ensure that the space can not only cater for the research, but that can cater for the risks that may present themselves whilst the research work is being conducted.

The following guidance pages have been designed to support those with facilities management roles as well as principal investigators, to consider the risks sufficiently at the design stage. Simply select the appropriate links from the right hand column for more information.

Chemical laboratories

Laser laboratories

Specific guidance for radiological materials

Biological laboratories

Areas with gases (cylinders and piped in)

Magnet rooms

Machinery workshops