New Guidelines for Laboratory Design Bring Consistency, Reliability and Durability to Projects Across Columbia’s Campuses

February 13, 2023

Facilities and Operations has released new design guidelines for laboratory and research facilities on all Columbia campuses, serving as an outline for Columbia project managers, architects, engineers, and laboratory design consultants to create consistently designed, best-in-class environments for researching and teaching.

The Guideline, which applies to the complete laboratory design process from programming through permitting and occupancy, represents a collective effort from a cross-functional team of experts across all University campuses and Environmental Health & Safety in collaboration with consultant-partners. The team periodically evaluates new technologies, methods and products, and specific products, when recommended in the Guideline, are evaluated against multiple criteria including overall durability, maintainability, warranty, sustainability, accessibility, compliance with fire-life safety codes as well as cost.

This iteration of the Guideline increased focus in two areas: aligning with sustainability goals outlined in Columbia’s Plan 2030; and developing a universal design to make research spaces accessible to the broadest range of individuals possible without the need for specific accommodations.

“On behalf of the project co-chairs representing all of Columbia’s campuses, we are proud to support the University’s groundbreaking research with a dynamic framework that sets the standard for new state-of-the-art labs at Columbia,” said Edward McArthur, vice president of Planning and Capital Project Management at Columbia’s Morningside campus. “The new Laboratory Design Guideline ensures new research spaces perform optimally and are accessible to as many people as possible – all while moving Columbia toward a more sustainable future.”

The Guideline is available on Columbia’s Design Requirements page, as well as Columbia Research’s website. Periodic updates will be made to the Guideline as needed based on new technologies or best practices.