From: Laurence Doemeny <ldoemeny**At_Symbol_Here**COX.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Advice on our new science building
Date: October 8, 2012 4:38:42 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <005657F5EEDE0648A9D77FFA7591B04029ADB859**At_Symbol_Here**>

This publication from the National Academy of Sciences may have answers to some of your questions.  Laboratory Design, Construction, and Renovation: Participants, Process, and Product  and it is free.


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Richardson, Nancy A
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2012 11:35 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Advice on our new science building


We are building a new building that will house health sciences, physics, biology, and chemistry.  It will be mainly a teaching building with classrooms, teaching labs and faculty office areas.  We may have a few small research areas here and there.  We chemists will have the top(fourth) floor for our 6-8 teaching labs, chemical storage, and office area along with one or two small seminar/meeting rooms for around 24 people.  I teach as well as do safety and so I am trying to give the best safety advice in the design as I can, but feel rather inadequate for the task.  I wonder if others have some advice to offer.  As we design the layouts for the rooms, certain particular questions have arisen and I was wondering what others’ experiences have been with some of the following aspects or other aspects that have not surfaced yet:


1.      Are ductless hoods a reasonable choice for some/all teaching labs?  I am most concerned with the great variety of materials that the organic labs use.  They tend to do different experiments every time through the course and I think it might be hard to ensure the filters were always adequate.  Also, other teaching labs get used for research(that uses all different materials) from time to time when lab classes are not meeting.  What opinion could any of you offer on ductless hoods?  Are they ultimately cost effective?  Are they maintenance intensive?

2.      In planning teaching labs, there is a question as to whether all the students in a lab need to be under a hood for distillations of various types or working with other materials such as silica.  The introductory chemistry class lab distills mouth wash in one experiment.  Does the ethanol concentration in the air pose any actual risk or the menthol?  Is there some law that says exactly what should be done under a hood?  Could hexane, methylene chloride, and ether be outside of a hood, for example, with enough general room ventilation and how could these be monitored to ensure safe levels in the listed standards for some chemicals?  The appendix in 1910.1450 suggests 2.5 ft person for hood space, but is this done in teaching lab design when one setup is shared by two or maybe four students?  Would hood bonnets be a good alternative for some things?

3.      Are there some chemically resistant AV projectors that could be placed into labs.  We had wanted projectors in labs before, but since other metal(locks, fume hoods, the safety shower) in the labs had become corroded it was thought that projectors would not stand up to chemical exposure? Or with a good ventilation design will this not be an issue? 

4.      What about storing materials in labs?  Now we have a good bit of storage within the teaching labs in our old building because there is no other place for it, but from what I can tell, there are limits on in lab storage of flammables even if there are flammable cabinets.

5.      What is the practice with regard to receiving chemicals and transporting them to upper floors?  I am especially concerned about gas cylinders.


Thank you in advance for any opinions and experience anyone has on these topics and with these issues and perhaps other building design issues.



Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.