CTA architect Brock Martinson recently attended UC Irvine’s Integrated Training for High-Containment Biosafety BSL-3 Laboratories at the Pacific Southwest Regional Center of Excellence in Irvine, CA. Course topics included understanding risk assessment in containment labs, standard operating procedures for lab operations, and the key architectural, mechanical, and plumbing design elements required for BSL-3 laboratory design.
Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s training on Recognizing the Biosafety Levels.
Martinson, a project manager hailing from CTA’s Boise office and the lone architect that attended the class, said the opportunity to get a fuller understanding of the processes and procedures that make a lab successful was fantastic. He commented that “getting to see behind the scenes and talk to a group of lab users was extremely enlightening. The experience really reinforced what a tremendous impact design decisions can have on a person’s work and research.”
“It was also pretty crazy to don and doff a fully HEPA-filtered Tyvek suit,” he noted. “It really made me appreciate my khakis!”
The week-long course emphasized the importance of establishing the goals and uses of each lab early in the design process. Will select agents be present in the lab? Will live animals be contained in the space? Questions like these serve as the starting point for good design decisions and help act as the foundation of a successful laboratory design project.
The course also included facility managers, who were able to share insights into the maintenance and design of the highly specialized mechanical systems required for BSL-3 lab spaces. By learning about the pitfalls these experienced professionals have observed over the courses of their careers, Martinson says CTA is now better positioned than ever to help our industrial and institutional clients pioneer environments through the design of BSL-3 labs.