I have a question. Given that the occupancy of a laboratory complies with whatever fire codes specify, would not an important question be "How many supervisory persons (TA's and/or professors present) should there be per student?"
In the NYC building code, it requires 50 sq. ft. per occupant in a lab and our labs are 1250 sq. ft. (Therefore 1200/50=24. At 1250 there is room for 1 instructor.). Consequently, there are 12 work stations, therefore students work at a station as a team of two. I would refer you to the NYC building code, Title 27, chapter 1, subchapter 6 (table 6-2; pp:166).
This link should get you pretty close:
This table shows 1 occupant/ 50 sq ft. for laboratories and 1/100 sq ft. for prep rooms.
Somewhere else in the code it is mentioned that furniture is taken into account or a standard 10% reduction in total sq footage is used.
Campus planning can tell you the sq footage. You should use their number. This is also a good legal justification for capping the class at 24. Check your local building code for lab occupancies.
James Saccardo, CHMM
It's the beginning of a new semester here in the beleaguered California community colleges, and there is again an administrative push to over enroll students in chem labs.
So I am interested in the history of the 24-25 chem lab safety caps. Does anyone know why 24-25 has been deemed the upper safety limit and what evidence was used? Also, exactly what agencies and organizations (in the US and abroad) besides ACS and LSI recommend these caps?
For those of you in California, is it true that when a new chem lab is designed for a state-funded school that the lab design is based on 24 students? This is what I've heard, and architects seem to design California chem labs around this magic 24, but is it state-mandated?
Folsom Lake College, Folsom California
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