Two years ago, when I was on the academic side, I'd probably be asking the same question.
However, I think the first step is to go back to the engineering team to see what was specified. It is possible (likely) that they specified chemical resistant, but not heat resistant, lab benches, although I'd be very surprised if they didn't meet flammability codes. It would be too bad if they did, but likely to cut costs on the project.
I'd also note, that I discourage people from placing hot glassware on cold lab benches, even Pyrex or similar glassware since it increases the chance of it breaking.
And, an in an interesting twist on codes, the 2015 NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals has the following statement:
"11.2.7 Open Flames
184.108.40.206 Laboratory operation using open flames shall be performed in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) Whenever possible, alternative methods to the use of open flames, such as heating mantles, hot plates, glass bead sterilizers, or infrared loop sterilizers shall be used."
It then goes on to give specifics to follow when using flames, including section 220.127.116.11 outlining "Biological operations using open flames and flammable liquids..."
Following a small fire in a lab last week (flame sterilization using flammable liquids), we've started a campaign to eliminate flames from the lab, when feasible.
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The institution where I teach has just completed a new science building. This is my first semester working there. It was noted during our last lab that the benchtop material is not heat resistant. When hot beakers were
placed on the surface it bubbles, burned and delaminated. My guess is that someone was trying to save money.
What I am trying to figure out is whether there are applicable safety and or fire codes. It seems reasonable to expect that benchtops in chemistry labs should be heat and fire resistant. Under normal operating conditions
we are working with hot glassware and sometimes use Bunsen burners or other sources of flame.
Thank you for your help