I would look very hard at the decision to put the chemists on the upper floor. In South Carolina, state buildings, like those of my university are governed by the International Building Code (IBC). and I don’t have the current code (IBC 2012) , but the last campus lab building we constructed was under IBC 2003 and I don’t think there are changes.
The problem is solvent storage. You are allowed 4 control areas (1-hr fire barriers) on the first floor, each with 30 gal of flammable liquids. You can add 100% if the flammables are stored in a fire-rated cabinet and 100% if the area is sprinklered, so the maximum is 120 gal per control area.
On the 4th floor, you are allowed a maximum of two control areas, each with 12.5% of the quantity allowed for a first floor control area. That means a total of 30 gal of solvent on a fourth floor, 15 per control area if sprinklered and stored in solvent cabinets.
Scott Goode, Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of South Carolina
631 Sumter Street
Columbia SC 29208
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.
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