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Table of Contents:  

Section 2-4: Animal Research Facilities

Section 2-4: Animal Research Facilities
2-4-00 Design Requirements
       10 Design Guidance  
       20 Design Information
       30 Document Requirements

2-4-00 Design Requirements
The purpose of this section is to develop NIH Programs of Requirements (POR) and other planning and programming documents and shall not be used for design review. Concept or schematic designs shall be reviewed against the POR.
Space utilization of NIH animal research facilities shall be in accordance with Paragraph 2-2-20.B in Volume II of the HHS Facilities Program Manual.
• Excellence in design with commitment to quality by the design and management team is a primary goal for all NIH.  
• Designs for new animal research facilities shall include considerations for future expansion including horizontal and vertical expansion.  Building massing shall be consistent with the current master plan.
• Columns shall not fall within the animal research facility planning module so as to prevent interference with facility space planning and layouts and inefficient use of valuable space. 
• Interstitial space shall be designed to scale. A model or full size mockup of the interstitial space is required.
• The laboratory planning module shall be considered the primary building module in multiuse facilities due to the importance of the laboratory planning module to functional and safety issues.
A. Program Objectives 
Program objectives must be determined as early in the planning process as possible.  It is crucial to identify the variety of species that the facility should be expected to accommodate over time; the temperature and humidity range that each species can tolerate; and the degree of flexibility and adaptability required within the facility to accommodate different species.  The designer shall determine the cost impact of making some or all areas of the facility more flexible than other areas. In order to provide for an environment within the animal research facility that meets the program objectives, the designer will collect data on spatial allocations, functional adjacencies, user requirements, staffing projections, flexibility requirements, redundancy requirements, security requirements, architectural finishes, fixed equipment needs and circulation of personnel, materials, animals and waste.
A.1 Planning Criteria:
The animal research facility will be designed to house animals in an appropriate species specific environment that meets or exceeds all applicable policies, guidelines and regulations as outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Guide), PHS policy and animal welfare regulations. In addition, facilities must meet the minimum requirements to be accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, (AAALAC). The ideal facility will:
• Meet projected holding and programmatic requirements, while providing for expansion and flexibility in space utilization;
• Provide for efficiency of management through innovation and flexible design;
• Be cost effective in design, construction, operation, maintenance;
• Utilize innovative design and construction to minimize future energy, maintenance, labor, and expansion costs; and
• Provide an ergonomic and user friendly work environment.
• Include redundancies.
• Have capacity for increased holding space. 
A.2 Space Requirements
The space requirements for animal facilities vary greatly.  Requirements are dependent on the specific use of the facility, type and density of animals housed, type of caging and racking systems, number of investigators utilizing the facility, and operational methodologies of the facility.  Each proposed facility shall require careful analysis by the A/E and consultation with users to determine adequate space requirements.
Criteria for animal housing space is set forth in the DRM.  The space requirements for a facility shall consider the total animal population, number of species, isolation requirements, number of animals per room, and number of investigators and research projects anticipated.  The assignment of support space is based on protocol, equipment, and process and can be determined only on the basis of an evaluation of the specific project program of the facility users.  Application of these space criteria requires the A/E to analyze functional requirements in light of specific project needs.
A.2 Specialized Design and Review by DOHS Community Health Branch (CHB)
Animal facilities present some of the most challenging circumstances to an effective pest management program and the performance of integrated pest management (IPM) services.  Additional care and attention shall be paid during all phases of planning, design, and construction of animal facilities.  Some components that require specialized design and review by DOHS Community Health Branch (CHB) include:
• Building integrity (site design, building envelope, exterior building lighting).
• Receiving areas. 
• Interior wall, floor, and ceiling finishes.
• Door types, locations, and materials.
• Wall and door protection design and materials.
• Access panels.
• Sealing locations and details. 
• Interior lighting.
• Cage wash design.
• Solid waste disposal, recycling, and storage facilities.
• Floor drains.
• Locker rooms and break rooms.
• Administration areas.
These items shall be evaluated and reviewed with respect to the overall program requirements of the entire building, specific animal species, size of the facility, and anticipated future use(s) of the facility.

2-4-10 Design Guidance
This Section describes in general and specific terms the NIH requirements for the planning and design of facilities that house animals and related functions. Considerable animal research is conducted at the NIH in order to support NIH’s mission to improve the health of the American people through biomedical research. The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (The Guide) published by National Academy Press covers all aspects of the care and use of laboratory animals, including institutional policies for monitoring animals and providing care. The Guide should serve as an aid to develop policies governing the care and use of animals based on the institution’s particular requirements and in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.
In the U.S., research facilities requiring the use of animals must conform to The Guide to be accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC). For accreditation the environment within the facility must provide for the health, safety, comfort and well being of the animals and staff. Plans for building and renovations of animal facilities must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Animal Care and Use (OACU). Animals are not allowed to be housed in laboratories or spaces other than approved animal housing facilities for longer than 24 hours unless the area is established as a satellite animal housing facility.  Establishing a satellite animal housing facility may require shortterm design modifications that facilitate monitoring the local environment OACU requirements.
A. Animal Research Facility Trends
Biomedical research is heavily dependent on animal research to create animal models for the study of human disease processes. Fluctuations in the animal species of choice may vary from time to time and for this reason the facilities must be capable of meeting ever changing animal research requirements.  The design of these facilities must be flexible and adaptable.
A great deal of animal research at NIH involves genetic mutations and manipulation (trans-genic technology) of specific animal traits and testing these traits by performing behavioral studies, imaging studies, and biochemical studies.  Toxicology studies are performed to observe the effects drugs have on developmental and metabolic processes and on behavior patterns.
Long term observation of animals may dictate design features for a specific species.  Until recently rodents and nonhuman primates have been the primary research animals of choice. There has been a dramatic increase in the use of aquatic species (zebra fish, sea urchins and other marine species) resulting in the adaptation and renovation of older facilities and the potential need to accommodate aquatic species in new facilities.  Large animals (primarily sheep and pigs) are used for cardiothoracic surgery and require pre and post operative holding space.  Dogs, cats and chickens are used for specific types of research but are used in small numbers.
There is a trend to provide better and species specific “enrichment” for nonhuman primates and large animals.  Enrichment requirements will impact on design of the facility if the program calls for play rooms, natural light, views of activity, group housing, animal runs, and storage of toys.
Other trends in animal research facilities include an increased use of robotic cage wash equipment to supplement staff shortages and reduce staff injuries; heightened security measures; more extensive and expensive environmental controls to protect unique animal colonies; and an increased need for support facilities within the animal research facility such as diagnostic labs, imaging equipment, conference rooms, special function and core suites.  Each of these trends demands special design considerations that must be addressed in the planning process.
B. Animal Research Facility Activities
The activities performed in an animal research facility include, but are not limited to, providing routine animal and environmental maintenance, performing animal research and providing general administrative services. In addition, an animal research facility requires a significant amount of support space. Environmental maintenance includes bedding changes, food preparation, routine cage washing, room cleaning, local filter maintenance, pest management and waste disposal.
Routine animal maintenance includes daily animal examination, routine pathology to determine colony health status and animal breeding for colony maintenance. Animal research includes genetics studies, animal testing that requires the administration of drugs, chemicals, or biological agents, pathology, diagnostics, surgical procedures, imaging, phenotyping, behavioral studies and record keeping of a highly detailed nature. Animal research facility administration areas should provide space for a central reception area, veterinarian offices, office support staff areas, and technical and laboratory supervisory staff offices. Animal research support activities include animal shipping and receiving, decontamination of materials entering the facility, storage and dispensing of animal feed and bedding, cage washing, laundry services, cold storage of medical pathological waste, and animal caretaker requirements such as lockers and a lunch room.
C. Design Goals and Objectives
The NIH will provide state-of-the-art animal research facilities to enhance and maintain its position as the world leader in biomedical research. The NIH will accomplish this goal by constructing new animal research facilities and renovating older ones to meet ever changing biomedical research requirements. These guidelines will be applied to new animal research facilities and, to the extent possible, to renovation projects. The following goals and objectives define the minimum recommended program requirements and recommendations for the design of animal research facilities.
C.1 Quality of Life and Environmental Considerations
The immediate environment directly and indirectly affects an animal’s biological and behavioral responses.  Noise, light, vibration, sound, species thermal requirement ventilation, etc. of the animal’s cage affect the quality of life and may adversely impact the research.  At a minimum, animal holding and procedure areas must be designed to ensure animal well being, to meet research requirements, able to be sanitized and easily maintainable, and to minimize experimental variables and maximize predictability.
C.2 Animal Well Being
The facility should support a healthy social environment for the animals that mimics the animal’s natural social environment. The characteristics of each species must be considered in deciding how to house a diverse animal species. There is very little data comparing the relationship of quality or quantity of an animal's activity to its physical or psychological well being.  A cage does not necessarily limit the amount of animal activity although it may alter the form of activity the animal can pursue. The need for exercise or induced activity is subject to the judgment of the animal science professional based on an understanding of the species or breed, its temperament, age, history, physical condition, nature of the research, and expected duration of animal research facility residence. Examples of supplementary activity that can be provided include furnishing a treadmill or exercise wheel, walking on a leash, providing access to a run, or releasing an animal from its cage into an animal play room/activity area. Provisions shall be made for animals with specialized locomotion patterns to express these patterns, especially when animals are held for long periods. For example, ropes, bars, and perches are appropriate for brachiating nonhuman primates.
C.3 Employee Well Being:
The animal research facility is also a workplace for employees. Therefore, the occupational health and safety of personnel must be considered.  The environment shall be aesthetically pleasing to employees and consistent with the needs of investigators engaged in animal research. It should be efficient, secure, and easy to maintain and perform animal care taking services. Sufficient air supply, filtration, and exhaust shall be provided to minimize unpleasant animal odors and animal allergens.  Provision of natural light, adequate work space, color, and ergonomic furniture systems are integral to a pleasing, functional, and effective work environment that will enhance productivity and aid in the recruitment and retention of quality personnel. In order to provide for an environment within the animal research facility that meets these goals, refer to animal facility space descriptions for information that impacts the quality of life of the animals and their caretakers.
C.4 Graphics/Signage: 
Without views to the outside or significant landmarks within the facility, orientation becomes a planning issue in an animal facility. It is recommended that a map of the corridor system be provided at strategic junctures in the hallway. Alternative way finding elements might be used such as directional markers on the walls, color coded corridors or artistic symbols designating room or corridor use.  Each room shall have a room number clearly displayed at its entry.  
C.5  Other Amenities:

Amenities such as lounges, break areas, training rooms, staff offices, and conference rooms should be provided. Placement and size of these rooms should be carefully thought out in order to maintain the integrity of the degree of facility contamination control that is defined in the program. Locker and shower facilities should be provided outside of the animal barrier area for staff whose work does not involve animal contact.
C.6 Natural Light:
Natural light is not recommended in areas that will house animals that require regulated lighting cycles. These include but are not limited to rodents, rabbits, and fish.  Windows may be desired in areas that house large animals such as nonhuman primates, dogs, or farm animals. With the exception of facilities housing larger farm species, most animal rooms should be equipped with artificial lighting systems that control the diurnal lighting cycle. Through the use of innovative design and construction, diurnal variation can be maintained. If windows or door vision panels are to be placed in animal rooms, veterinarians shall be consulted for placement of windows and window treatments.
The negative aspects of windows in animal facilities frequently dominate design, and opportunities can be missed to enhance the personal work environment with natural lighting. Windows should be provided in personnel and administrative areas.
C.7 Lighting and Controls:
Fluorescent lighting is recommended in an animal facility. However, discussions shall be held with the veterinarian and researchers regarding the light spectrum and light covers of fluorescent lamps. Light covers should diffuse and soften the light so as to have a minimal effect on animals that may have higher than normal light sensitivity. Lighting should be suitable to the space and cleaning methods in the room, recessed, ceiling mounted and sealed to prevent vermin infestation.
Lighting control is a major consideration particularly in small animal holding rooms. Lighting control is typically required for large animal holding or procedure rooms as well. Light intensity can have an impact on research results under certain circumstances and may differ by species. Whenever possible, lighting should be centrally controlled, on emergency power and monitored at the room level. Monitoring of the lighting control system should be independent from the method used to control the lights. Consideration should be given to direct measurement of room illumination or monitoring the electrical circuit feeding the room light. The ideal system would provide a local warning light alarm and, if required, remote audible alarms signaling lighting failures. Light monitoring control systems shall also be capable of providing reports for status and alarm conditions. Although it may be possible to group several rooms on a single timer, this should be discussed with the users. Animal protocols often call for diurnal lighting cycles (circadian rhythm) to be reversed or altered in length for the researchers needs or for the desired results of the experiment. These studies require lighting controls and automatic timers in all holding rooms and isolation cubicles.  “Red light” or other lighting options within holding rooms, as determined by users, should be considered so researchers can enter a room during the dark cycle without affecting the animals.
C.8 Noise:
Acoustical control is an important planning consideration and shall be evaluated during design. By examining adjacencies, the effects of noise can be addressed in the design layout.  Most animals are stimulated and may be stressed by noise. Different species of animals will have different tolerances for high or low frequency noises.  Certain frequencies can have an adverse affect on sensitive animals. These issues must be discussed with facility users.
Power ventilated racks generate noise. The rack density in a room will affect the noise level.  Mechanical equipment may generate noise frequencies that are not noticeable to humans but will potentially affect animals housed near the source of the noise. This is further exacerbated by the requirement of hard, easily cleaned surfaces throughout. Most animals are stressed by noise, except for large animals not involved in behavioral testing. Equipment that generates noise should be remote or acoustically isolated from animal holding rooms wherever possible. 
Large animals tend to be noisier than small animals although avian species (birds) are noisier in relation to their size than rodents. Animal species that generate noise should be isolated from those that are noise sensitive by either distance or sufficient acoustical isolation. Noise conductivity through the duct system should be taken into consideration.
Although rodents can adjust to constant low level background noise, background noise should be minimized or removed through the use of innovative design.
In all situations, it is imperative to eliminate the effects of sudden and variable noise producing elements, such as fire alarms, throughout the animal holding environments.
C.9 Vibration Stability:
Vibration stability is important to maintaining a constant experimental environment for sensitive animals such as rodents. Therefore, rodent holding and test rooms should be located away from areas such as a cage wash, major circulation corridors where racks are frequently in transit, mechanical rooms and elevator shafts.  Vibration is not as much of an issue for large animals except in behavior testing rooms. Vibration studies should be performed to determine how best to achieve the maximum allowable vibration levels as determined by instruments and animals to be used in the area. See Chapter 5 Structural
Vibration stability is required in an animal facility where specialized equipment will be used such as animal imaging equipment, electron microscopy, and electrophysiology procedures including intracellular data collection equipment. Vibration stability will be of greater concern if the animal facility is located in an upper level of a building rather than at ground level because of structural considerations. Sensitive pieces of equipment may require an isolation slab. Some equipment can be stabilized using a dampening device.
D. Animal Research Facility Planning Parameters
D.1 Ratio of Holding Rooms to Procedure Rooms:
During the programming stage the users should be consulted on whether animal holding rooms house multiple species and whether animal holding rooms and procedure rooms should be designed to be interchangeable with minimal structural modification. Flexibility in design of these critical areas provides for rapid accommodation of future programmatic changes and efficient space utilization. 
As a general rule of thumb, one procedure room for every three to four small animal holding rooms should be considered.  Clusters of isolation cubicles should have at least one procedure room per cluster.  Suites should have a minimum of one procedure room within the suite. The ratio of procedure rooms to holding rooms for large animals shall be determined by scientific requirements and the specific program requirements of the facility.  Most large animal holding facilities will require an extensive surgical suite with its accompanying specialty procedure and prep rooms. Terminal procedures and necropsies on large animals are ideally conducted in separate locations from the surgical suite but can be performed in a necropsy/perfusion room or in a specially designated procedure room. Room should be arranged to provide airflow from the least contaminated area to the most contaminated area.
D.2 Animal Research Facility Support Space:
The ratio of animal facility support space to holding and procedure space is generally 2:1 or higher.  Support space includes bedding and feed storage, decontamination or quarantine  areas for incoming animals and materials, a laundry, feed preparation areas, administrative areas, break areas, meeting/training rooms, lockers for animal caretakers, gowning areas, cage wash, autoclaves, marshalling areas, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacy, storage areas and housekeeping closets. Storage areas should include space for cage and rack equipment, general support supply storage, and locked cabinets for investigators to store small research specific items.
Shared use spaces may include surgical suites, imaging suites, behavioral suites, transgenic suites, radiology rooms and irradiator(s), in addition to the operational support spaces. Shared use, central or core facilities may be considered as part of support space or as part of procedure/holding space depending on how the program chooses to define the space. The definition of this space should be established early in the programming process to facilitate net to gross calculations.
D.3 Office and Administrative Space:
Animal facility administrative areas should be designed using standard administrative space parameters. There may be a programmatic need for separate offices for government and contract supervisory staff.  Administration offices should be located near the main animal facility entrance. This locates the management personnel in a position to observe the movement of personnel and equipment into or out of the facility. Guests, vendors and service people should have access to the animal facility administrative areas without entering the animal housing and support areas. Each veterinarian, manager and contract project officer should have a private office. Space should be allowed for office equipment such as copying machines and fax machines. A separate area for housing centralized computers and monitoring equipment should be considered. The administrative area should include conference rooms, a break room and access to toilet facilities that are separate from those used by the animal caretakers. Office and administrative space should have a positive pressure relationship to animal research facilities.
D.4 Flexibility and Adaptability
Animal research facilities should be designed to maximize the animal holding capacity and accompanying utility services. The animal facility should be flexible and adaptable to accommodate changes in function and protocols without having to make major changes to the facility. Spaces should be designed to hold multiple species over time as protocols change. Individually planned or customized spaces are to be avoided. Flexibility in design of these critical areas provides for rapid accommodation of future programmatic changes and efficient space utilization.
D.5 Expansion/Renovation Considerations:
Vertical and horizontal expansion of an animal research facility shall be considered during the planning phase. It must be possible to construct any expansion with minimal interference to the operation of the facility and the least disturbance to the animal population.  When planning for expansion, ensure that all utilities are compatible with existing utility systems, built-in equipment, etc.
D.6 Planning Module
Modular planning techniques have traditionally been employed to provide for an adaptable facility. Modular planning schemes should be used, to the maximum extent possible, for animal housing and procedure space. Modular planning is based upon a concept of three dimensional units of space and services, which are used in a repetitive fashion for each type of function within the animal facility. The dimensions of the structural bay, both vertically and horizontally, must be carefully evaluated with respect to the laboratory planning module if the animal facility is component of the laboratory facility, mechanical distribution, and future expansion plans. The planning module must be developed on the basis of an evaluation of operations and protocols and the anticipated numbers and species of animals.
In animal facilities, the most common unit of space is the animal housing/holding room.  Ideally, when planning a multifunction animal research building, the animal holding room modular size should be determined based on cage or rack system size. This scheme may or may not be similar in size and configuration to the standard laboratory module. The width of the animal room is determined by the number and types of animals, the way in which they are housed whether by cage or rack, and the cleaning methodology that will be employed. Room length is determined based on housing/caging options and minimum aisle width between racks but also must accommodate service space for sinks, cleaning equipment, and change stations etc.  The height of the animal room and doors is primarily a function of the maximum rack height anticipated including rack fans.  There must also be enough space above the rack to provide a uniform airflow distribution in the room.
Wherever possible, rooms should be clustered to provide separate zones for small and large animals taking into consideration the differences in rack dimensions, waste disposal requirements, acoustical and vibration requirements, care taking requirements, investigators, protocols, disease status, and airflow requirements.
Animal Facility Holding, Procedure and Support Module Variations: The length, width and height of the animal facility modules are dependent on the intended use of the space. There may be a need to a have a variety of different size small animal holding rooms with or without individual or shared anterooms. Animal holding and procedure suites are a combination of modules used for a specific research purpose. Within a suite, the rooms may be subdivided or positioned differently than in the general layout of the animal facility. Other support spaces such as the cage wash or the administrative areas are composed of multiple modules without wall divisions to accommodate large pieces of equipment or open office space. 
E. Services and Systems:
Utility systems within the animal research facility must be capable of providing all the services necessary for scientists to conduct their research and for the animal husbandry staff to properly care for the animals. It is equally important that provisions be made for utility services to accommodate unanticipated demands brought about with new technologies or through changes in research protocols.  A percentage of reserve capacity should be designed into the primary building systems to accommodate increased animal densities. All components of the utility systems should be planned and designed to allow all required access, maintenance and repairs without entering the animal holding or procedure rooms.  Maintenance spaces should be configured so it can be expanded without displacing animal research functions whenever possible.
E.1 Connection of Utilities to Animal Facility Space:
Utility services must be distributed to each individual space. The connection point of each service should be in a uniform position relative to the space and detailed to provide simple extension into the space without disruption of adjacent modules. These services may run in interstitial space, allowing animal holding or procedure space to change without increasing or upgrading capacity or location of central infrastructure systems. Changes would be primarily to terminal systems, i.e., piping and power connections to apparatus and equipment within the space.
E.2 Services and Systems Distribution Concepts:
HVAC units serving animal facilities should be designed with redundant heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system arrangements or with standby equipment with capability to ensure continuous operation during equipment failure, power outages, and scheduled maintenance outages. It is acceptable to have a common air intake system for both animal holding and other parts of the building. The animal area exhaust system must be independent of the non-animal exhaust systems of the building.
Utilities and services including communication and information systems should be organized into specific zones, both horizontally and vertically, to provide distribution of systems and services that can be extended to each animal holding and procedure module. The choice of design and locations of the utility distribution system(s) is a product of utility function, cost effectiveness and ease of access for maintenance, future services, and remodeling during the life of the animal research facility.  At a minimum, a percentage of the holding and procedure rooms shall be designed for interchangeability of use.  The percentage and locations of rooms with drains should be determined during programming.
E.3 Special Considerations for the Connection of Utilities to Animal Facility Space:
The following are special considerations for the connection of utilities to animal facility modules or space.
• Small animal holding rooms other than isolation cubicles shall each have a sink. Isolation cubicles are not required to have a sink but a sink should be located in an adjacent procedure location/room. In all situations hand washing sinks should be convenient to all holding locations. Large animal holding rooms shall have a sink outside the holding room area or suite.
• Non human primates and farm animal holding rooms and aquatic tank rooms require floor drains. Most animal rooms at NIH are not hosed down so drains should be avoided except in areas that may be converted to hold aquatic or large animal species in the future. When floor drains are present, consideration should be given to the appropriate size of the drain lines, maintenance of the drain traps, drain caps and flush systems and floor slopes to drains.
• The type of animal watering system should be determined (automatic or bottled) during programming.  If automatic watering is not desired at the onset, consideration should be given to designing a system that can accommodate a percentage of automatic watering for possible future needs. Consideration should be given for the quality of water required. In some situations highly purified water such as RO may be required. In many cases there is an additional requirement for the treatment of the water prior to distribution (i.e. chlorination, acidification or neutralization). Remote monitoring of the water treatment process is required. In order to accommodate water treatment concerns appropriate equipment, piping and plumbing systems must be considered.
• Consideration must be given to steam connections, clean steam and reverse osmosis (RO) water with additional polishing systems in the cage wash and bottle filling area of the facility.  Clean steam connections will be required wherever there is an autoclave.  The users should also be consulted as to the need for RO water in dishwashers, if required and frequency of RO drops in procedure rooms.
• The racking/caging system for small animals should be determined as early as possible in the planning process in order to determine the type and number of duct connections. Different racking systems may have different types of connections. Alternate rack configuration will affect the placement of those connections.  Considerations must be given to ducts above the plenum and the location and length of the exhaust taps. In addition, some racking systems are now designed with dynamic LAN line connections. 
• Placement of electrical outlets and weatherproof or waterproof protective covering for the outlets should be carefully considered for all animal holding rooms.  Electrical loads must be sufficient to accommodate all the needs of animal holding and procedure rooms. Ideally, electrical outlets servicing ventilated power turbo units and other equipment should be located high enough to prevent draping electrical cords, which may prove to be a safety hazard. Also racking systems shall be connected to the emergency power system.
• LAN line connections. Consideration must be given for the requirement of LAN connections within the animal holding room. In addition, some racking systems are now designed with dynamic local area network (LAN) line connections.  Provide for at least one LAN connection for laptop use. 
F General Staffing Patterns of an NIH Animal Facility
The number of staff in an animal research facility will vary according to the size of the facility.  Staff will include veterinary staff including a chief veterinarian and subordinate veterinarians, administrative staff, research and technical support staff, supervisory and staff level animal caretakers and support staff for feed and bedding preparation and cage wash.  In addition, research staff will regularly enter and leave the facility.
G. Space Descriptions
Animal research facilities present a wide assortment of planning challenges. The challenges range from differences in environmental requirements by species and building zones to the durability and water resistance of the architectural finishes to room flexibility that can accommodate a variety of species over time. This section of the manual presents information for the designer to use in planning the animal facility space requirements in relation to the species needs and caging systems and the zone the space occupies.
G.1 Animal Housing and Holding Areas
Generally, any area where animals are held for more than 24 hours is treated as holding area. Housing/holding areas are usually located in a defined specific pathogen free (SPF) zone of the animal facility. However, there are instances where conventional housing is required for “dirty” animals such as a quarantine room or an area of the facility specifically for research using non-SPF or “dirty” animals.
In an effort to increase the facilities flexibility, it is essential to plan for both anticipated and potential species usage and rack and caging type. The animal housing or caging system chosen is one of the most important elements to consider in the planning process. Animal housing and most procedure space should be carefully designed to facilitate animal wellbeing; meet research requirements; minimize experimental variables; and provide isolation from wide temperature and humidity variations, vibration, and noise sources .The caging system should provide adequate space to permit freedom of movement and normal postural adjustments; a comfortable environment; and an escape proof enclosure that confines animals safely with easy access to food, water, and ventilation. The caging system must also meet the biological needs of animals, e.g. maintenance of body temperature, waste elimination and reproduction. Ideally the chosen caging system should be: a) ergonomically friendly; b) of proven design and functionality; c) be durable; d) maximize available holding space; and e) be a standard shelf item with readily available replacement parts. All holding rooms must be designed to be easily cleanable and minimize pest harborage. Refer to Section 1-11 Integrated Pest Management. Consideration should be given to providing space to record data and to store records and supplies. All caging systems and animal holding rooms must meet or exceed all requirements out lined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, PHS policy and animal welfare regulations.
Small Animal Requirements: Small animals include mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, reptiles, fish and birds. Each species will have different caging and environment requirements. Each species must be held in separate rooms or cubicles unless, in the case of rodents, ventilated racks are used to house them in order to provide separation of animals at the rack or cage level.  Each rodent rack should provide for either bottle or automatic watering systems. Where isolation or quarantine space is required, space should be considered for a separate anteroom or procedure rooms.
A small animal holding room should be capable of housing different species at different times and in different caging systems.  In most situations, holding rooms should not have windows although the doors may have an observation window or view port that can be made light tight or provided with red film. If windows are present within an animal holding room, systems must be in place to guarantee that the room’s normal diurnal variation can be maintained. In addition, windows must be designed to preclude the visualization of animals from outside of the building and also to address security issues. Anterooms are optional for most animal holding rooms (dependent upon animal biosafety level), but should be considered on an as needed basis for the facility.
Small animal holding rooms should be located convenient to a central cage wash, but at a minimum they should be separated from the cage wash by a corridor. Likewise, to minimize the impact of noise and vibration the holding rooms should be separated from mechanical rooms or other noise generating areas in the facility. This is particularly necessary for barrier areas where genetically sensitive animals are held.  
Design features and finishes should encourage effective sanitation while at the same time be safe for personnel and durable. All surfaces should be water resistant, impact resistant and skid resistant. Electrical outlets should prevent shock hazards and have weatherproof covers in areas within the vivarium.
Each small animal holding room shall have a sink with hot and cold water within the room. There should be a place to hang a mop, ideally near the sink in each room. Consideration must be given to the various management styles, which may be utilized within each animal holding room. Some situations may require the use of biological safety cabinets (BSC) or a laminar flow change hood or transfer station. The impact of these systems and, in the case of ventilated racking systems, motors, must be considered in determining the rooms heat load and air circulation patterns. 
Rodents: Rodents include mice and rats. Mouse cages may hold up to five mice per cage.  Rat cages are larger than mouse cages and can accommodate up to four animals depending on size. Sometimes rats and mice are housed in the same room.  Mixing species in a room should be avoided if at all possible. However, if this becomes necessary, ducted ventilated racks or other environment isolation equipment should be used.
Mice and rats are housed in “shoebox” type cages that are stacked in racks specifically designed for this purpose. There are numerous caging and racking systems on the market. Racks may be single sided and placed parallel to the room walls or double sided and placed perpendicular to the wall. Room configurations utilizing a combination of the two systems have also been used with success. There are also systems that can be arranged in a “T” formation. The proposed rack layout will determine the projected facility holding capacity. Ideally, the rack arrangement should allow adequate space for a caretaker to roll a cart up to or between the racks for animal transfers, bedding changes, and for maintenance items that may be include feed barrels, mop racks and trash cans. Consideration should also be given to providing a flexible layout that can accommodate someone with a disability to maneuver between the racks if required.  The minimum recommended space between racks is 915 mm.  Some animal facility programs may require a biological safety cabinet or a change station in each holding room to make cage and bedding changes, rodent transfers or to perform minor procedures.  The designer should allow room for a changing station in addition to the holding racks when this need is identified in the program. Consideration should be given for the additional heat load provided by change cabinets or ventilated racking systems.
Reptiles and Amphibians:  Reptiles and amphibians can be held in aquarium type glass or plastic tanks or they can be held in modular flexible species holding rooms. Temperature and humidity control and lighting are the only special requirements for reptiles.  The temperature should range between 20-29.5OC and the relative humidity should range between 33%- 60%. The users should determine whether or not they want UV light in the room.  UV light provides vitamin D to the reptiles. If UV lights are installed, a UV warning light must be installed outside the room in addition to an auto-off switch that is activated upon opening the door.
Birds: Most species are held in small animal cages or they can be held in modular flexible species holding rooms. The type of bird containment will depend on the species, the study and the investigator’s requirements.  Some birds might be held in cages while other species might require an aviary that mimics their natural environment.  Although a drain is not required in a bird holding room, the room cleaning method must be closely reviewed.  If the room will be hosed, then the floor shall have a drain.  
Aquatics: Aquatics include fish, sea urchins and amphibians. The trend in aquatic tank holding rooms for fish is to have a single large room that can hold many tank racks with integrated water circulation and filtration systems. However, there may be different requirements for other aquatic species. Lighting shall be timer controlled for circadian rhythm studies. Amphibians are sensitive to temperature differences and may require “sunning” areas.  Noise and vibration can adversely affect aquatic species and should be controlled or buffered as much as possible.
Water is the life support medium for aquatic species.  The water system supporting the various components of the system must be sized properly. A major concern for the designer of an aquatic facility is the water weight.  Aquatic holding rooms must be designed to structurally support the load. 
Water temperature, quality, pH, degree of hardness and salinity must be tailored to the specific aquatic species and must be closely monitored to avoid disastrous effects on the population. The levels of   ammonia, nitrates, chlorine, dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide in the water must also be monitored.
In some cases, a percentage of supply water can recirculate. Recirculation parameters shall be discussed with the user representatives designing the building. The location of pumps and other mechanical equipment associated with the aquatic facility is a critical design feature and shall be located remotely from the holding rooms so as not to create noise and vibration. Appropriate filtration should be considered for the removal of particulates and nitrogenous wastes. A flow monitoring system should be incorporated in the system to detect a loss in pressure or decline in water levels. Emergency power should be considered for the pumps and lights in the aquatic facility. Floor drains should be installed in all tank and procedure rooms where aquatic species will be housed. Floor drains are essential and flood proofing is an important feature to consider in design especially if the holding tanks are on an upper floor.  Floors should be sloped 3 mm to 10 mm to the drain. Drains should be rust proof and flush with the floor.  Consideration should be given to providing some way of trapping and removing debris from the drain opening (i.e. removable basket). Other flood proofing considerations include putting a small berm and a tight seal sweep at the door base.  All ceilings, walls, sills and floors should be water resistant.  All lighting fixtures should be splash resistant.  All electrical boxes and conduits should be corrosion resistant and splash resistant UL listed wet location minimum 85 PSI or minimum IP65 rated. The HVAC system should work in tandem with the water supply system in controlling the room and water temperature. Note that in order to maintain the desired water temperature; the room temperature may not be ideal for those who have to work in the room.
In order to define space usage in an aquatics facility, the following shall be considered and provided per program requirements:
• Space for the nursery, procedure space in small rooms off the tank areas, and for raising aquatic food (i.e., shrimp). 
• Space for preparation of dry food.  Space shall be allocated adjacent to the water tank holding rooms for mechanical system components, live food production, supplies, and additional procedure areas. 
• Space for a shop with storage capacity on equipment. 
• A quarantine area may be required for incoming animals even in a facility that breeds its own study population of animals.  The location of the water pumps and recirculation piping shall have a major effect on the design of this area. 
• A sink and adequate bench space for procedures and staff activities per each module.
An aquatics facility may require easy access to a fume hood because highly carcinogenic and teratogenic chemicals are used to create mutations in fish. A holding area may be required close to the fume hood for short term holding of fish that have been treated with mutagens. These needs should be discussed with the potential users.
Insectary: At the NIH, insects are studied as the carriers (vectors) of transmissible human diseases or for genetic research related to human disease.  Examples of insects used at the NIH are mosquitoes, sand flies, ticks and fruit flies. Design requirements may vary for different insect species but the general concepts for an insect breeding and research lab are the same for all species.  The following general design criteria should be addressed when planning any insectary.
• Temperature and humidity control
• Light control
• Pest management methods
• Use of nonporous materials in construction
• Methods of insect containment
• Species specific breeding requirements
• Cold storage
• Research/lab supply storage
• Food preparation requirements
• Adjacent research procedure space requirements
• Uniform lighting throughout to prevent shade and shadow including under counter areas, corners, etc.
• An anteroom with inward directional airflow for airborne insects. 
A major health and safety concern in an insectary is the inadvertent release of infected or genetically manipulated insects into the environment. Insect containment can be managed by using carefully controlled procedures in a facility that is designed well.  Access to the insect barrier shall include a series of sealed, controlled access doors separated by small vestibules containing devices appropriate to trap the species used in the facility.  These may include wall mounted light traps or temperature control devices to produce an environment such that an insect could not survive passage through the space.   Mosquitoes are slowed at temperatures between 2-10O c. If a mosquito were to escape the barrier into a cold vestibule, it would drop to the floor and eventually die.  
Insect breeding rooms may have a temperature range of 10-28OC and a relative humidity of 75%. Surfaces within breeding rooms should be smooth, nonporous white materials.  Ceilings should be low 2.3 m (7’-6”) to allow recapture of escaped insects and ease of cleaning. 
Environmental rooms must be designed with tightly sealed, weatherproof electrical outlets and fixtures. Drains are not recommended as they can harbor unwanted pests or serve as uncontrolled breeding areas. Doors to the facility should be of solid core construction.  Shelving in breeding rooms or insect procedure rooms shall be stainless steel wire open construction to eliminate any hiding places for contaminating insects or other pests.
Lights in breeding rooms must be provided with timer and dimmer controls to recreate natural environment conditions that are essential for breeding.
Screened doors shall be used as necessary within insect barrier areas. The screen material and mesh size are important factors to consider.  The mesh size will be dependant on the insect species housed in the area. The screen material must be rust resistant and durable. 
Rabbits: Rabbits fall in a category between small and large animals.  They are considered large animals because their requirements for surgery follow large animal guidelines. However, rabbits are typically housed in the rodent space of an animal facility. Rabbits are typically housed one per cage. Rabbit racks are designed specifically to hold rabbit cages. A typical rack will hold six to eight rabbit cages. Larger cages are used for breeding. For rabbits weighing up to 4 kg, each rabbit requires .28 m2 (3 nsf) of floor space. For rabbit weighing over 4kg, each rabbit require .37 m2 (4 nsf) of floor space. Rabbit cages contain waste pans that must be changed frequently (perhaps 3 times per week). Rabbits may spray corrosive urine outside their cage. Cleaning requirements for the room and descaling the racks become an issue where rabbits are held. Wall and floor surfaces must be very durable and cleanable in rabbit rooms because frequent scrubbing is necessary to remove urine. Consideration should be given to a pre-filter/grid system at the exhaust because frequent filter changes will be required due to a large amount of fur shed. Rabbit holding rooms (or spaces with other species that shed excessively) should be provided with a pre-filter/grid system at the exhaust located no higher than 1 370 mm (5’-0”) from the floor.  The rooms will have temperature, humidity and lighting requirements.  Adequate aisle space has to be allowed for ease in changing out the pans and working with larger breeding cages
Large Animals: Large Animals include nonhuman primates, cats, dogs and farm animals. In the case of some large animals, especially nonhuman primates, consideration should be given to providing natural light, adequate exercise areas, group housing, means for animal communication, and well equipped play areas with toys, games, and televisions. This must be undertaken without sacrificing safety, and may depend upon the nature of the research. Ideally, the large animal holding rooms and activity areas should be designed to provide an enriched, visually complex environment for nonhuman primates and other species where data is available to suggest a benefit.
Since large animals may be noisy, they should be housed away from quieter areas of small animal rooms, administration spaces, and research laboratories. In some situations, ante-rooms are also recommended to minimize the potential of releasing escaped animals into the rest of the colony. Each cage should provide for either bottle or automatic watering systems. Consideration should be given to self-flushing drains for some species holding rooms. Ideally, dogs, sheep and pigs should be provided with runs if they are to be held for a long period of time. The size of the run utilized should at a minimum meet the requirements for daily exercise of the animals.
Nonhuman Primates:  Nonhuman primates are categorized as Old World i.e. macaques, cynomologous, and baboons or New World i.e. marmosets and owl monkeys.  There can be great variation in the size of the non-human primate even within the same species.  Non-human primates may be housed in individual cages but they also may be paired or group caged. Group housing may be used in some instances for infants or juveniles.
The size of a nonhuman primate room must accommodate working safety considerations. Animal caretakers must be able to work within the holding room but be out of reach of the nonhuman primate. Aisle space between the cages will be determined by the species and caging and racking systems. This dimension will exceed 915 mm (3’-0”) to prevent the non-human primate from reaching the worker if they are standing in the middle of the room.  Space should be allowed between housing racks and cages to permit maneuverability. This space has an impact on the overall room dimension.
Space in group cages should be enriched with structures such as resting perches, visual barriers and, when housing some species, shelters. Some species should be provided items for swinging or climbing. They are very social animals. The current philosophy is to provide enrichment areas for them to play and communicate. Enrichment can include providing the nonhuman primates with the ability to view movement through windows into the general corridors so that they can see the caretakers or to the exterior of the building. In some circumstances thick lexan panels in lieu of traditional caging may be considered in some nonhuman primate faculties for enrichment and socialization.
Nonhuman primates are noisy, messy and destructive animals. Therefore, sound attenuation and durable finishes are important considerations in the design process.  Exterior windows and holding room door lites must have adjustable shutters or blinds to allow the animal rooms to be light tight if necessary and to aid in the maintenance of normal diurnal variation. 
Dogs: Dog species used for biomedical research are commonly medium sized breeds such as a beagle but larger species i.e. foxhounds are not uncommon.  Dogs are noisy and messy so sound attenuation and durable finishes are important considerations in the design process. Flush drains are required.  Facilities that house dogs may have outdoor runs for enrichment of the animals.  Dogs should be able to see other dogs and other movement so partitions can be of the chain link variety. Consideration should be given to providing design elements that facilitate socialization of the animals.
Farm Animals:  Farm Animals used for research at NIH include sheep, pigs, goats and occasionally cattle and horses.  Research farm animals may be housed indoors or outdoors.  Farm animals are often used to test surgical procedures that require long term observation of the animals. Pre and postoperative holding areas may be required. Indoor facilities must have walls that can withstand the forces these animals can exert on them; and the entire structure shall be designed to support the animals planned to occupy the space. Farm animals are noisy and messy so sound attenuation and finishes are important considerations in the design process.  Flush drains or trench drains will be required.
Cubical Housing: Cubicles are small rooms or containment compartments within a larger room or suite of rooms. Cubicle housing may be used for isolating animals of different health statuses, for conducting timed day/night studies, for separation of different species or for specialized barrier areas. Cubicles offer the advantage of isolating a small segment of the animal population and permit housing of multiple species in a single room. Cubicles are particularly useful for quarantine of incoming animals and may preclude the need for a separate quarantine room. Cubicles are also useful in the containment of hazardous substances used in animal studies, provide an added degree of security, and reduce odors and allergens. Cubicle housing areas should be designed to have either positive or negative air pressure in relation to adjacent spaces based on intended use of the cubicle. If the cubicles are prefabricated units, they can be readily disassembled to convert the room to other uses.  Ideally, cubicles should be designed to accept two single-sided rodent racks or one double-sided unit or one non human primate racking unit. Although management may decide to utilize static non-ventilated cages within the cubicle, cubicles should be equipped with two exhaust drops to be used if ventilated caging is used in the area. If overhead doors are used on this type of space, consider providing automatic door operators, which must be provided with safety devices that prevent injury to the operator, which must be provided with safety devices that prevent injury to the operator.
A higher level of protection can be attained through the provision of individual air supply and exhaust in each cubicle.  Air may pass through a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter at the supply, exhaust, or both. Each cubicle may also have its own lighting and watering system.  Access to a manual over ride must be restricted through the use of a key or card key system. Uniform lighting is ideal throughout the cubicle but because cubicles are small light may not reach the back of the holding rack. Therefore considerations should be given to specifying vertical fluorescent lighting to be installed in the corners of the cubicle in addition to ceiling lights. If vertical lighting is utilized, the bottom of the tube should be specified to be 457.2 mm from the floor. The fixtures must be sealed and gasketed.
Containment Suites: As a minimum, all animal facilities at the NIH shall be designed as ABSL2 facilities.  Containment suites shall have negative air pressure relative to adjoining areas. For specific requirements refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) NIH publication “Biosafety in Microbiological Laboratories” for animal biosafety level (ABSL) planning and design
Isolation Areas: Isolation cubicles should be provided to house animals that may have an infectious disease or animals that may be more susceptible to disease (i.e. immuno-compromised, etc.). Ideally, cubicles should be designed to accept two single-sided rodent racks or one double-sided unit or one NHP racking unit. Although management may decide to utilize static non-ventilated cages within the cubicle, cubicles should be equipped with two exhaust drops to be used if ventilated caging is used in the area. Isolation rooms should be on the “dirty” side of the animal facility, perhaps near the necropsy/perfusion room. 
Procedure Rooms: Animal procedure rooms may be either shared or dedicated. A shared procedure room provides space for working with animals from multiple animal rooms and frequently involves multiple investigators, and possibly more than one species. Dedicated animal procedure rooms provide space for working with animals maintained in a single room or a small cluster of animal rooms that may have direct access to the procedure laboratory. Procedure rooms should be equipped with a fume hood and/or BSCs, sink with eyewash, stainless steel counters with downdraft sinks/tables for rodent surgery, exam lights, refrigerator and wall-mounted or mobile cabinets. Alternatively, ducted BSC can be considered for areas that use small amounts of chemicals or radioisotopes. Class II, B1 or B2 BSCs may require increased exhaust and make-up air, which is more energy intensive.. There should be sufficient electrical outlets to support all anticipated equipment.  Central gas (oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.), a passive gas scavenger line, vacuum and high pressure air may be needed in some or all procedure rooms.  A low bench top may be needed for either a desk surface or a microscope. Procedure rooms should be designed so that they can be converted to animal holding rooms.
Behavioral Testing Rooms: The requirements for behavioral testing rooms will be driven by the species to be tested.  All behavioral testing rooms should have the same HVAC as other animal holding/procedure areas. All behavioral testing rooms should be light tight, acoustically protected, and have IT connections to data collection areas outside of the testing room. All testing room requirements shall be reviewed with the users.
Rodent testing rooms may require deep countertops at desk/table height to hold special equipment. The rooms should have shelving for storage of testing equipment. Floor material in rodent testing rooms can be shall be epoxy. Rodent testing rooms shall have light cycle controls. At least one rodent testing room should be capable of holding a water tank.  This room should have a sink and a drain. The floor in the water tank room should be of a water-proof material.  The water tank rooms will require a video camera mounted above the tank with connections to a data collection system.  If the data collection system is to be within the tank room, a visual barrier must protect it so that light or movement from video screens or personnel does not distract animals.  Each wall of the room should have either a light box or a tack board to mount cue cards.   
Nonhuman primate testing rooms often require very sophisticated electrical connections.  Extra power lines and clean data and LAN lines are needed for computers.   Several computer network connections may be required. Cable trays, if required, should be mounted around the perimeter of the room at ceiling level. Nonhuman primate testing equipment may be robotic and may require structural considerations. Lighting needs may vary according to the type of testing to be done in the rooms. Light cycle controls may be needed.  Cameras and projection equipment will be used in some of the rooms.  Nonhuman primate testing rooms may be individual rooms specifically designed for behavior testing or they may be prefabricated testing chambers that are assembled on site. Some testing chambers may require individual exhaust drops while other test boxes contain fans and do not require additional ventilation considerations. This need should be discussed with the user.
Summary Space Schedule Animal Housing
The designer should develop an overall planning module for animal holding rooms based on the proposed racking and caging systems.
Space Name 
Area M2 (SF)
Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Animal Room (Small Animal Housing) Mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits
Number and species of animals and racking systems determines the size of the space.
Cages or racks, change station or BSC, sink, mop racks, feed barrel, bedding barrel, space for cart, and counter space
Species dependent
Possible environment control room. Stainless steel wire shelving, smooth nonporous white surfaces. All openings must be watertight. No drains. May need screens partitions; and light timing control.   
2. 3
Animal Room (Large Animal Conventional Housing) cats, nonhuman primates, dogs, and
Number and species of animals determines the size of the space.
Cages, runs, and socialization areas. Hand wash sinks in the holding room.Work areas must be outside of the holding room. 
Farm Animals
Number and species of animals determines the size of the space.
Pens. Indoor holding area must have trench or flush drains.
Animal Room (Cubicle Housing)
Number and size of the housing unit or degree of isolation required determines the size of the space.
Cubicles or flexible film isolators
Procedure Room
Fume hood, BSC, counters, sink, exam table, refrigerator, wall cabinet, flammable storage cabinet and under counter cabinets.
Rodent Behavior Testing Room
Deep countertops at desk/table height to hold special equipment, shelving for storage of testing equipment; sink and a drain when a water tank is specified. 
Nonhuman primate testing rooms
Equipment and testing protocol determines the size of the space. 
Nonhuman primate electronic testing equipment and cable trays

G.2 Diagnostic/Pathology Laboratory
Diagnostic/Pathology Laboratory: Diagnostic laboratory services are ancillary to the treatment area and facilitate diagnosis of animal health status. The services may include gross and microscopic pathology, clinical pathology, hematology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, and other appropriate procedures. The space will be equipped with stainless steel countertops with an integral sink, a refrigerator, downdraft tables, hand wash sink with eyewash, and casework. CO2 is the only central gas that may be required the need for compressed air medical grade oxygen or vacuum should be discussed with the user. Specialized fume hoods may be required as determined by the users. A ducted biosafety cabinet (Class II type B1) or a non ducted BSC may be required for examination of infectious specimens. Low bench tops may be required for microscopes. The diagnostic laboratory will be equipment intensive. There should be adequate electrical outlets to handle many small tabletop pieces as well as larger pieces such as incubators or centrifuges or scintillation counters.  The room pressure should be negative by a minimum of -12.5 Pa (-0.05” w. g.) in relation to adjoining areas
Necropsy/Perfusion: This area provides space for examining deceased animals or performing terminal procedures. It is ideally located either near the diagnostic pathology lab or on the circulation route that is used for waste to exit the facility. It must be equipped with a downdraft table (sized for species held in the facility) that is equipped to collect hazardous chemical waste, a stainless steel counter, eyewash, sink, and casework. A fume hood or ducted biosafety cabinet may be needed. CO2, gas, vacuum and a gas scavenger line shall be provided. Provisions should be made for carcass storage. Either a refrigerator/freezer in the room or, for large animals, adjacent walk-in refrigerators are recommended
Summary Space Schedule Diagnostic/Pathology Laboratory

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt  m (ft)
Diagnostic Laboratory
Countertop, s/s, raised rim, w/integral sink and splash backs, casework, refrigerator or cold room, freezer, storage gas cylinders, down draft table, fume hood and BSC.
Down draft necropsy table, counter, sink, base, trimming table and wall cabinets, refrigerator, freezer, light box, and gas scavenger.

G.3 Animal Surgery
Functional areas for surgery should include a surgical support area i.e. storage, instrument prep, lockers and janitorial rooms; an animal prep area, a surgeon prep area i.e. scrub area, lockers/change room, restroom; operating room(s), and post surgical recovery/intensive care area. Intensive care/recovery rooms should be located near the surgical suite. The surgical suite should be located away from high traffic corridors and potential sources of contamination such as cage wash, necropsy, and waste storage. Ideally, separate locker, housekeeping, and toilet facilities should be provided as an integral part of the surgical suite. The surgical suite should have windows for observation and an intercom system connected to all rooms of the suite. Ideally the suite should be an isolated unit with controlled/restricted assess. Surgical suites are designed differently based on the types of animals used. Survival surgery for small animals may be conducted in procedure rooms or in operating rooms.
Locker Room: This area provides space for surgical personnel to change before and after surgery. Lockers should be provided for short term storage of personal items. Consideration should be given to planning a janitor's closet (with a floor mounted mop sink) and a toilet room in this area.
Surgeon Scrub Room: This room shall have hands free direct access to the surgical suite/operating rooms.  It should be equipped with a hands free scrub sink and disposable scrub brush dispenser.  The scrub area shall be an isolated area, not utilized as a thoroughfare for animals or supplies.
Animal Surgical Prep Room: This area provides space for holding and preparing the animal subject for surgery. The room should have two separate doors to provide one way traffic flow into the surgical area and out to the general circulation/housing area. It should have direct hands free access to the operating suite/room. The prep room will be equipped with a procedure table, storage cabinet, stainless steel counter, sink, eyewash, with wall cabinets. A down draft table, as well as a wet prep table may be required. The prep room should have vacuum, a waste anesthesia gas scavenger line, compressed medical gas lines (i.e. oxygen, medical grade air, nitrogen, etc.) are required at each procedure table/location. A controlled access drug box should be considered in the prep room. There should be space for a refrigerator and a portable anesthesia unit.
Operating Room: This area provides space for surgical procedures on animals.  In order to maintain a sterile environment, consideration should be given to a door lock system that will lock the operating room door from the outside if the door to the adjacent room is open.  Compressed medical gases (i.e. oxygen, medical grade air, nitrogen, etc.), waste anesthesia gas scavenger units, and vacuum lines shall be provided. Overhead surgical lights and a double light box to view x-rays are suggested. Operating rooms are equipment intensive and require additional electrical outlets to support fixed and mobile equipment needs. All of the operating rooms should have easy access to a central fluid warming cabinet and contain a viewing window to the exterior surgical suite corridor.
Recovery Room: This area provides space for animals recovering from surgery and the effects of anesthesia. The recovery room/cubicle shall be designed to meet the requirements of non human primates or other large animal intensive or post operative recovery care. Each room or cubicle should be able to house one or more specialized environmental support units designed to provide a controlled environment (i.e. oxygen tension, humidity, temperature, etc.) or single cages or holding racks depending on the species to be accommodated. Ideally the room should have two doors to provide one way movement from the surgical suite and out to the general circulation to return the animal to its housing unit.  The room or cubicle should be equipped with a bench top, sink and an oxygen line. Compressed medical gas, vacuum, as well as a refrigerator and drug storage areas is required. A controlled access drug box should be provided. Desk space should be provided for computer monitoring equipment and charting area.
Surgical Supply and Surgical Work Room: This room will provide space for surgical supplies and work space. It should have direct access to the operating room and the general circulation corridor. It will be equipped with lockable casework, sink cabinets, and sterilizers.  The room is organized with one way flow from dirty to clean. Cleaning equipment such as sinks, washers, ultrasonic cleaners, and autoclaves are accessed from the dirty side, with instrument pack, prep, and storage on the clean side, toward the operating room.  RO or DI water may be needed for instrument wash equipment. Clean steam is required for the sterilizers. The designer should evaluate the need for gas, heat and steam sterilizers/autoclaves within the facility. If EtO sterilizers are required, special exhaust must be provided.
Summary Space Schedule for Animal Surgery
Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Animal Surgical Preparation Room
Procedure table, storage cabinet, counter, sink, eyewash, w/wall cabinets, fluid-warming cabinet central gases, control substance safe, and refrigerator.
Operating Room
Operating table, portable anesthesia machine, instrument table, suction cart, isolated power unit, major surgical light, medical gas dispenser, gas scavenging device, x-ray illuminator, special monitoring equipment and white board.
Scrub and Gown Room
Surgeon's scrub sink, casework, and storage cabinets.
Locker Room
0.3 or (3)/ person
Full length lockers and benches
Rest Rooms
Size per plumbing code
Surgical Work and Supply Room
Case work, sink, instrument washer, sterilizer, and tables
Post Operative Intensive Care (Recovery) Room
Cage or rack, counter w/sink medical grade oxygen source and wall cabinet, refrigerator, and gas tank storage

G.4 Pharmacy
A pharmacy area shall be provided in the vicinity of the procedure room and surgery suite but it does not have to be within the surgical suite. It shall contain an appropriate level of security in addition to a drug vault and a controlled access drug box. It should have some bench space, a desk area, a sink and a refrigerator. Lockable cabinets should be provided for drug and supply storage. Data lines should be provided in the area for inventory control. High density movable storage systems should be considered for pharmacy storage. A duct-less alarm should be considered.

Summary Space Schedule for Pharmacy

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Drug vault, controlled access drug box, work surfaces w/binder bins & lateral files, sink with eyewash, and refrigerator
Pharmacy Storage
Lockable cabinets, high density movable storage system

G.5 Whole Animal Imaging Equipment Spaces, Radiographic Suite and Irradiator Room
The design of whole animal imaging systems such as MR, X-Ray, PET, CT and SPECT shall consider serviceability and decontamination from maintenance and biosafety stand-points. Consideration shall be given to whether portions of the equipment shall be located outside of containment for ease of maintenance and serviceability. Should any portion of the equipment be located outside of containment, a containment barrier that integrates the imaging equipment and the animal interface shall be required. 
The radiographic suite consists of a darkroom, control booth, and radiographic room. It should be convenient to the surgical suites and accessible to other parts of the animal facility. It is common for facilities to require more than one style of x-ray unit (i.e. fixed table mounted unit, dental, rodent, etc.). The designer must establish the requirements of the facility and design the suite accordingly. The X-ray equipment, animal subject, and entry should be visible from the control booth. Radiation safety shall be consulted for any special shielding requirements.
Darkroom: The darkroom provides space for developing X-ray film and may house an automatic film processor or developing tanks, sink, film bin and light-tight loading bench, countertop, red light, and wall mounted film illuminators. A silver recovery system must be provided if required by the processing equipment. The dark room should be equipped or designed to prevent flooding of rooms adjacent and below the space and shall include the means for detecting floods. The room must be equipped with a lightproof door and a warning sign. An electronic interlock should be provided that prevents the red light from lighting and entry door from opening while the film bin is open. Entrances to darkroom and the internal layout of the darkroom must provide access to individuals with disabilities. Based on some facility layouts, multiple darkrooms may be provided within animal facility support spaces.
Radiographic Room: This room provides space to X-ray animal subjects and will house radiographic and fluoroscopic X-ray unit(s) with table, wall mounted film illuminators including spot illuminators, and wall mounted storage cabinets. Storage may be required for film archives and portable imaging equipment such as ultra sound machines. Provide a pass-thru interlocking box for film transfer between the radiographic room and darkroom. Specialized power requirements of the individual machine must be taken into account in the design of power distribution.  Some counter space should be provided. The specific requirements of the units to be installed in the area must be determined by the designer. Shielding of all walls and doors must be provided in accordance with the NIH Division of Radiation Safety. An electronic interlock system between the X-ray equipment and entry door lock will be as follows:
• The electric lock is activated by X-ray   equipment
• X-ray equipment shall not operate unless the entry door is  closed and locked.
See Environmental Management/Radiation Safety Section 1-9-20-F.9 “Radiation Producing Equipment and/or Machines.”
Control Booth: This booth provides protective space for personnel to control the X-ray unit and it is located in the radiographic room. The NIH Division of Radiation Safety shall review and approve all design documents and inspect all construction relative to the radiographic equipment.
Irradiator Room: A cesium irradiator is used primarily to irradiate rodents or sterilize tissue culture specimens in order to conduct further research. An irradiator is a large piece of equipment with a radioactive source housed within the unit. The unit can weigh up to 3,700 Kg. If the irradiator will be transported to its permanent location via an elevator, the elevator must have the capacity to accommodate the irradiator’s weight. In addition, the approach to the room must be direct and free of obstacles that may prevent installation of the equipment. Appropriate electrical connections are required and should be on a backup generator. The room housing an irradiator must have a controlled access door that is locked at all times. Provide two independent entrances, one via the vivarium for animals, and one for research personnel needing to irradiate cell cultures.
The irradiator room does not require special shielding because the shielding is built into the instrument. The room should have some shelving and a bench top work area.  IT connections are required for a local computer to collect data while the unit is running. The Division of Radiation Safety must be consulted and must approve the room plans and the access route for the irradiator.
NMRI: Magnetic and RF shielding requirements shall be verified with equipment manufacturer and shielding consultant. All shielding requirements must be coordinated with containment penetrations. Coordination of electrical and plumbing piping shall be performed to minimize the effects of magnetic or RF interference inside the shielded system. The effects of structural components on shielding design (rebar, steel joists, etc.) shall be considered.  Proximity of NMRI to adjacent equipment or areas of ferrous activity (loading docks, cart movement, etc.) shall be reviewed for additional shielding and separation requirements. Ceiling heights may be increased due to shielding requirements and may have an impact on overall floor to floor heights.
CT/PET/SPECT: Lead shielding requirements shall be verified with equipment manufacturer and shielding consultant. Lead shielding of penetrations shall be coordinated with containment requirements.  Isotope injection and animal recovery areas shall be determined by program.
Summary Space Schedule for Radiographic Suites, and Irradiator Room

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Dark Room
Automatic film processor, sink, film bench and loading bins, counter top, and wall mounted film illuminators.  Must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
Radiographic Room
Radiographic and fluoroscopic x-ray unit w/table, wall mounted film illuminators, and wall mounted storage cabinet.
Irradiator Room
Cesium Irradiator, lab benches, data ports or LAN  connections, and desk space
Equipment determines the space
NMRI System: magnet, shields, computers, transmitters, receivers etc.   
* Equipment determines the height
G.6 Decontamination and Receiving
This space is used to decontaminate the containers in which newly received animals and materials arrive so as to reduce the transfer of vermin or contamination from outside the facility. Animals may be transferred from their delivery containment unit into clean holding units at this location or they may be moved to the holding room to be transferred locally. If equipment or other materials will be chemically decontaminated in this area, consideration should be given to providing a grid floor with a chemical collection unit under the grid that can automatically neutralize the chemicals before they enter the sewage system. A large drain and hose bib with backflow preventer will be required for this space if materials will be chemically decontaminated. The space should be located between the animal loading dock and quarantine. It shall be equipped with a sink with eyewash, drain, hose bib with backflow preventer, desk and bench top. Adequate storage should be provided for both waste and clean equipment.  Caretakers in rodent receiving areas may use temporary isolation cabinets to separate animals from different sources.
Quarantine Area: Incoming animals may be quarantined prior to entering the animal holding area. Self contained cubicles may be used for small animals held in the facility. Each cubicle may have its own exhaust and watering system.  A pass through autoclave shall be considered for a larger quarantine room. The quarantine room shall be located close to receiving and the cage wash. It should have a sink, bench work area and shelving, and exam lights.  A small diagnostic lab with bench top centrifuges and other lab equipment may be required in close proximity to the quarantine room. 
Vestibules: Vestibules should be located as required to prevent contamination of animal holding areas and clean areas of the animal facility, for sound isolation, and for security. Vestibules may be appropriate at the point of entry into the facility, into a suite of isolation rooms, between areas that hold different species or between animal and administrative areas. Doors are to be equipped with bristle type door sweeps. Consideration should be given to provisions for staff to gown/degown at entry vestibules.  A cross over bench or pull down seat should be considered in gowning areas as well as space to store clean gowning paraphernalia and discard bins.
Summary Space Schedule for Decontamination and Receiving

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Animal Receiving Room
Countertop, stainless steel (s/s), raised rim, w/integral sink and splash backs, casework, s/s exam table, refrigerator (domestic type), electronic animal weighing scale, and exam light. The following equipment is only applicable when more than the minimum net area (11 m2) is provided:  bathtub & floor mounted electron animal scale.
Quarantine Room
Self contained cubicles or flexible film isolators, exam area and sink.
Shelve storage for gowning, separate waste bins
G.7 Cage Wash
The cage wash houses equipment for cleaning and sanitizing animal cages, trays, lids, and water bottles.  In addition, the cage wash area may house bedding disposal and bedding filling equipment and storage for clean bedding. During the planning phase, the method and route for feeding, bedding delivery and bedding disposal between the loading dock and the cage wash must be defined. Automated delivery and discard systems for bedding, food and waste are available and should be considered for large facilities. These systems may have special space requirements at the loading dock and in the cage wash area. The cage wash should be convenient to animal holding but distant from administration offices and personnel areas.
The cage wash equipment may include a bottle washer, a cage and rack washer, tunnel type washers, acid neutralization tanks, robotic equipment and an autoclave. The auto clave should be of sufficient size to contain full size or multiple cage racks. In some applications, a large, pass-thru autoclave with controls on both sides may be adequate to serve the needs of both the clean and dirty sides. This may eliminate the need for duplication of expensive capital equipment. The autoclave should be provided with “clean” steam to extend the useable life of the equipment. Provide sufficient space for maintenance needs to include exhaust of the mechanical space and sufficient lighting levels. The species housed in the facility, the capacity of the facility, the number of wash cycles per week, the number and duration of staff shifts, and redundancy/capacity of other washers determine the equipment type, size and complexity.
The cage wash area should be divided into a "dirty" side and a "clean" side. A third area containing the wash equipment should be considered in large cage wash operations between the clean and dirty sides. There should be no personnel access between the two sides. The sides may be divided by a glass or stainless steel partition with a telephone or paging system for communication.
Access to the dirty side should be through double doors opening in the direction of traffic.  Automatic openers should be installed to control the doors. The doors should be impact resistant and have door sweeps. The dirty area must be designed for wash down activities. Linear space is needed to marshal incoming cages and racks; for dumping bedding; cage break down; emptying bottles and loading washers. The dirty area should be equipped with a sink, bedding dump station, waste disposal equipment, automatic water manifold flush station, chemical neutralization, pre-wash stall with a grid floor, a water fountain and emergency eyewash and shower. A pit may be required to prep or descale the racks and cages. 
The clean area is equipped with a large autoclave, bedding dispenser, animal drinking water flush station, and water bottle filler. Linear space for marshalling is also required on the clean side. A unisex toilet room and water fountain should be provided in both dirty and clean areas. Both sides should be designed to promote proper cleaning and minimize pest harborage.
Cage and rack washers feature a chamber of sufficient size to accommodate two or more cage racks or large cages. The rack washer should be placed in a pit to eliminate the need for ramps. Pits must be surfaced with rustproof grating materials, easily accessible and cleanable. Separate pits shall be designed for equipment pit(s) and drip pit(s). Grating covered drip pits must extend into the clean area to allow the clean rack to drip dry (provide separation between the dirty and clean pits). The equipment pit should be sealed, and the space around the washing equipment should be sealed to form a complete barrier between the clean and dirty sides of the cage wash area. The tunnel washer transports cages on a continuously moving conveyor through a pre-rinse, detergent wash, rinse, final freshwater rinse, and drying sequence. These units are also suited for water bottles, small cages, and other small equipment. There should be a minimum of 1.2 m (4’-0”) clearance around the tunnel washer for maintenance. A common enclosed equipment service space must be provided between the clean and dirty side to provide for cage wash equipment maintenance. Noise exposure to personnel must be considered when selecting cage rack washers. An operating noise level of 85 dBa should not be exceeded. 
Efficiency of water usage must be considered in planning, as this will impact the type of equipment purchased. Some water used in the rinse process may be recycled.  Water may have to be treated to eliminate chemical and mineral deposits.  Acid neutralization, depending on the size of the facility, may be required and should be considered during the planning phase.
There is a trend towards robotizing some or all of the cage wash functions in larger facilities.  The facility has to have sufficient through put to warrant the cost of robotic equipment. Safety walls must separate the areas where people enter the robotic area from the actual equipment.  Redundancy should be considered when designing a robotic cage wash facility. Consideration should be given to having one robotic cage wash line and one conventional cage wash line. Provide enough linear queuing space on both “clean” and “dirty” sides.  A robotic cage wash requires a marshalling area, conveyor belts, a bedding dump station, an automated cage handler, an index tunnel washer, a cage and rack washer for larger or non standard size cages, a steam sterilizer, bedding dispenser, bottle filling station, and other equipment associated with the robotic system. Additional robotic systems options such as dust control equipment may be considered. 
All materials and finishes should be moisture resistant, sealed. Finishes in the cage wash area should stand up to frequent high pressure water cleaning. The type of equipment used in a cage wash will require electrical source, high temperature, high volume water, and large quantities of clean steam.  The HVAC requirements of the cage wash area must be carefully evaluated to ensure the safety and comfort of the personnel working in this environment.
Storage: Adequate storage space must be planned for clean cage racks, bedding and feed, any special clothing and supplies, cleaning chemicals, husbandry supplies, and procedure room supplies and equipment. Storage for chemicals and detergent drums shall be located away from heavy traffic zones. Wire mesh shelving is recommended. 
Cage/Rack Repair Room/Shop: A cage/rack repair room is used primarily for large animal equipment and should be located near the large animal holding area and near the large animal cage wash entry.  Equipment will be repaired and will then need to be washed. The repair shop does not have to be within the confines of the animal holding area although it is desirable to have it within the facility. Adequate electrical outlets should be provided for shop equipment. Task lighting may be required. Bench top space is required.
Feed and Bedding Storage:  This area will provide space for bulk storage of feed and bedding. Calculate feed and bedding storage for the “worst case scenario” of the species that the facility may have to accommodate and protect storage space from being “squeezed out” of the facility
Summary Space Schedule for Cage Wash Functions

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Cage Wash Room
Equipment determines the size
Cage rack washer, autoclave, bedding dispenser, acid neutralizing equipment, feeder bottle filler, sink, bottle washer, and dump station. Provide a pre-wash stall. Tunnel washer may be provided in a larger animal research facility.
Clean Cage Storage Room
Cage Repair Shop
Work benches, sink, welding booth w/fume hood, and gas cylinders
Feed and Bedding Storage
Pallets and deli refrigerator.

G.8 Animal Research Facility Support
Animal research facility support includes: a laundry, feed diet preparation room and cold storage for animal carcasses.
Laundry:  Clean linen, either from within the facility or from a commercial laundry is distributed though the receiving office to locker rooms and gowning rooms. Based on program requirements, a laundry area may need to be provided within the animal facility. Space must also be provided to accommodate receiving clean linens if laundry is serviced outside the animal facility.
Feed/Diet Preparation Room: Many animals require special diets. The feed preparation room shall have sinks with heavy duty garbage disposal and drain boards to wash and sanitize fresh produce. Shelving and storage cabinets are also required.  One or more commercial size refrigerators and freezers will be required for food storage. An icemaker may also be required. Counter tops with adequate electrical outlets should be provided for “standard kitchen” equipment such as blenders and hot plates to prepare the food.
Cold Storage for Animal Carcasses: Both the necropsy room and the loading dock require some form of cold storage to hold animal carcasses for examination and for disposal.  A refrigerator is adequate for storage of small animals but a walk in cold storage room will be required for larger animals, located at the loading dock. The room should have open mesh or slat stainless steel shelves.  The floor should have a drain and a lip at the door to contain any fluid spills. Separate storage facilities must be provided to house animal carcasses that contain radioactivity. These storage facilities must not have floor drains. If animal carcasses or remains contain radionuclides they are handled like other radioactive materials.
Equipment Storage: This area will provide space for shelves to store equipment.
Summary Space Schedule Animal Research Facility Support

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Laundry Room
Commercial washer and dryer, shelves, layout table, dirty linen hamper and shelves
Feed/Diet Preparation Room
Kitchen wall and base cabinets, sink, range, and refrigerator
Cold Room* MPW, Carcass and Waste Storage
Unit determines the size
Walk-in prefabricated unit w/ stainless steel shelves.
Unit determines the Height
Equipment Storage
* For large animal carcass and waste storage
G.9 Animal Caretaker
Rooms for animal caretakers shall be provided in a transitional zone between the animal zone and the administrative areas so caretakers do not need to degown for convenience functions. Transitional areas include break rooms and gowning areas.
Break Rooms: Break rooms serve as interaction space for the animal facility staff. They should be located in the vicinity of the administration and changing areas, have a comfortable atmosphere, and be equipped with chairs, tables, bookcases, counter, microwave, ovens, refrigerator, vending machines, white boards, tack board and space for time cards if required. Trash and recycling receptacles should also be provided.
Gowning Areas: Locker, toilet, sinks and showers shall be provided for gowning prior to entering animal holding areas and for degowning after leaving the animal holding areas. Sufficient space is required for storage of protective clothing. A crossover bench or pull down seat shall be provided as well as a sanitizable display case. These rooms shall be equipped with individual full size lockers for staff. The locker must provide for the storage of clean facility scrubs and facility specific shoe storage. Space for hanging street clothing (jackets, sweaters etc) prior to gowning shall be provided. There should be a place to collect soil laundry, to plug in hair dryers, storage shelving, a mirror and lighting. Material and finishes selected shall be antimicrobial. These spaces must be designed and constructed using moisture resistant materials and wall hung fixtures to allow for ease of cleaning. If PAPRs or cartridge respirators are used in the facility, then a decon station, changing station, and storage must be provided
Locker Rooms: Locker rooms with toilets, sinks, showers, and lockers shall be provided for staff to change in and out of uniforms. These rooms require finishes identical to vivarium finishes and shall have independent circulation routes for the varied types of access required. Provide the following: 
• Adequate number of lockers to meet anticipated staffing requirements, sized to provide adequate storage for personal possessions. They shall have bulkheads or sloped tops, filler panels, perforated door panels, and solid (grouted) bases. 
• Benches, open storage for facility footwear, space to hang clean uniforms and space for hampers.
• Showers with vanity alcoves with small shelf and bench. 
• Adequate number of toilets and sinks for anticipated staff size, complete with countertops, mirrors, vanity lighting, electrical for electrical receptacles for hand dryers and automatic paper towel dispensers.
• A dry vanity area including full length mirror vanity lights; shelf and electrical outlet may be considered.   
Summary Space Schedule for Animal Caretaker

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Break Areas
Vending machines, counters, tables’ w/chairs, refrigerator, microwave oven with exhaust hood, drinking fountain, sink, white boards, and lounge furniture.
Gowning Areas w/Locker, Toilet & Shower Room
Fixtures and equipment determines the size
Water closet, shower, lavatories w/mirrors, lockers, and benches.
Locker Room
Fixtures and equipment determines the size.
Water closet, shower, lavatories w/mirrors, lockers, and benches.

G.10 Offices & Miscellaneous Space
Offices/File Rooms: Animal care is typically a contracted service at the NIH. The contractor supervisor must have at least one office that may be within the animal housing zone or the public zone. In addition, offices are required for floor/team leaders, area supervisors and trainers.  Private offices should be provided for the Government management staff and veterinarians. Open office space is provided for clerical and other administrative personnel. Appropriate provision should be made for privacy. Ergonomic systems furniture should be used in all administration spaces.
Space should be provided for copying machines, FAX machines, files, shelves and other routine office equipment. In addition, space is required for central computer systems. This area does not have the stringent air change requirements that the animal holding areas have.  File rooms should be located in the Animal Facility Office area.  File rooms should be lockable. 
Conference Rooms/Training Rooms:  Conference rooms/training rooms should be provided for formal and informal meetings of staff and for periodic training. Conference areas shall be utilized on a shared basis and be designed in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) occupant loads. Conference rooms should be equipped to accommodate flexible seating arrangements. There should be white boards, electrical connections for audio visual equipment, a screen, and adjustable overhead lighting, data and telephone lines.
Reception Area: In light of heightened security, the animal facility should have a central reception area where guests and vendors can be met and directed appropriately.  The reception area should be located as close to the main entrance of the facility as possible. It should have a reception desk, chairs and low tables.
Housekeeping Closets: The animal facility must be equipped with appropriate sized housekeeping closets located throughout the facility to adequately serve its needs. A housekeeping closet must be provided with both supply air and exhaust to reduce humidity and control odors. Closets should be fitted with wire mesh shelving, mop and broom hangers, a mop sink and adequate lighting. Closets should be sized to hold cleaning supplies and equipment only.  The interior of the closet must be finished with materials and surfaces that are cleanable, moisture resistant and durable.
Space Summary Office & Miscellaneous Space

Space Name
Area M2 (SF)
Equipment/Furniture and Requirements
Hgt in m (ft)
Branch Chief
Work surfaces w/binder bins, convergent work surfaces, lateral files, tack boards, & white boards.
Veterinarian Office
Work surfaces w/binder bins, convergent work surfaces, lateral files, tack boards, & white boards.
Counter, work surfaces w/binder bins & lateral files.
Work surfaces w/binder bins & lateral files.
Conference table, chairs A/V equipment, white boards, etc.
Building Engineer's Office
Work surfaces w/binder bins & lateral files.
Shipping and Receiving Office
Work surfaces w/binder bins & lateral files, shelves for clean linen
Housekeeping Closets
Mop sink and mop rack

H Functional Relationships and Zoning of the Animal Research Facility
The zones in an animal research facility can be grouped into four categories that are further characterized as clean or dirty.  Clean or dirty refers to the potential for the animal or material to transmit diseases to other animals from outside sources.  For example, animals from an unapproved source are considered “dirty” until they have been evaluated for health status during a quarantine period.  Barriers within the facility are “clean” and should only receive “clean” approved animals and materials; whereas used cages are “dirty” and should not move into designated “clean” areas because they may be a source of contamination.
H.1 Public Zones:
Public zones include public corridors and elevators, multiuse loading docks, supply rooms, laboratories outside of barrier areas, and areas where staff wear street clothes.  Public zones are categorized as “dirty” because there is no control of potential animal contaminants in these areas. 
H.2 Transitional Zones:
Transition zones are defined as areas of movement between public areas and animal holding and procedure areas or between zones housing different animal species that could potentially transmit diseases between each other if they were in close contact.  Transitional zones may include airlocks, gowning areas, locker rooms, feed and storage areas, and dedicated “clean” and “dirty” animal elevators.
H.3 Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) Zones:
SPF zones refer to areas where animals are free of defined diseases. The degree of SPF may vary in different parts of the facility just as the degree of “clean” and “dirty” may vary.  The level of SPF and “clean”/“dirty” will be defined by the veterinarians and the users of the facility. Most housing/holding areas are located in the SPF zone.  An exception to this occurs when “dirty” animals (non defined disease status) are needed for the research.  A separate housing area that contains isolation housing and/or has an airlock shall be provided for this purpose.
H.4 Contaminated Zones:
Contaminated zones are areas where dead or infected/diseased animals are located or where “dirty” equipment is transported or stored. There are instances where conventional housing is required for “dirty” animals such as a quarantine room or an area of the facility specifically for research using “dirty” (non SPF) animals.  Circulation routes must be closely examined in these situations so as to minimize cross contamination of SPF animals. Physical barriers and air pressure relationships shall be designed to minimize cross contamination.
“Dirty” corridors are those used for moving soiled cages and materials to the “dirty” side of the cage wash facility.  Rooms where necropsies or perfusions (terminal procedures) are performed are defined as “dirty”.  A single corridor system can be managed so as to provide the desired degree of cleanliness and species separation defined by the facility program.
H.5 Zone Relationships:
Early in the planning process, the Project Officer and the Programmer should work with the facility representatives to prepare a POR that includes functional and adjacencies flow charts that will facilitate the design process.  In addition to impacting the ease of doing animal model based science, the arrangement of critical adjacencies will greatly impact the quality of life of the animals, the caretakers, and the veterinarians. Appropriate adjacency planning shall mitigate interference from noise and vibrations, economize circulation routes, and maintain the appropriate degree of cleanliness of the facility.
Within the animal research facility and the loading dock, the flow of materials, cages, animals, and personnel shall be accommodated in an efficient and economical manner.  Adjacencies shall be planned to maximize operational efficiencies, minimize travel distances and maintain zonal relationships. It is also essential that designs consider adjacencies based upon the variety of species that are anticipated for the animal research facility.

Surgery Suite Functional Relationship Diagram 

 Vivarium Functional Relationship Diagram

Cage Wash Functional Relationship Diagram

Wash Functional Relationship Diagram

H.6 Circulation of People, Animals and Materials
Circulation space is a critical factor in controlling contaminants and enhancing operations and procedures within the animal research facility. Planning of circulation focuses on the movement of cages and racks in the facility. Most importantly, during the planning, phase the design team decides the extent to which the corridor system helps manage the potential for contamination and to what extent management dictates certain protocols of time and direction of movement. Personnel, equipment and supplies should move from areas of least contamination to areas of greater contamination. Movement of personnel, equipment and supplies should be planned to minimize the potential for contamination of cleaner areas. Consideration should be given to the equipment and areas required to permit circulation of supplies, personnel and equipment. For example, autoclaves located near the dirty cage wash permits the circulation of contaminated caging back into the cage wash area. Convenient location of locker rooms and shower facilities in many cases permits personnel to move from dirtier areas back into cleaner situations. Consideration should be given to directional airflow and odor control. 
H.7 Corridors:
Commonly accepted circulation systems include a single corridor, a dual clean and dirty corridor, or a single corridor with unidirectional flow. 
Single Corridor System: In single corridor scheme traffic flow is in both directions between the animal holding room and the cage wash area. The most significant advantage of a single corridor system is its efficiency of space utilization.  The disadvantage is the potential for cross contamination in the corridor when clean and soiled cages share space.  Congestion caused by moving animals, cages, and supplies through a single corridor is also problematic. Contact between clean and dirty materials can be minimized by carefully scheduling pickups and deliveries, covering cages when moving them, and by using a unidirectional circulation system. With this management technique, congestion and contamination can be minimized. Single corridor systems shall be equipped with appropriately placed air locks and doors to maintain the desired level of facility air pressurization relationships, a level animal sanitation and security.  Placement of airlocks must be discussed with users. Doors should be powered operated should have controlled access where necessary.  
Dual Corridor System:  Contamination control is the primary rational for choosing a dual corridor system. The dual corridor system has animal holding rooms leading to two separate corridors that are dedicated clean and dirty corridors for the movement of cages. The flow of cages is unidirectional and may involve two single loaded corridors in a small facility, one double loaded and two single loaded corridors in a larger facility. Dual corridors are not an efficient use of space and will increase the gross to net ratio.
Corridor Width: Corridor width should be dependent on the flow of traffic within the animal facility and the amount of storage that will be available in or near the facility.  The Guide recommends a corridor width of 1 825 mm (6’-0”) – 2 450 mm (8’-0”) but 3 050 mm (10’-0”)  - 3 650 mm (12’-0”) wide corridors allow for more flexibility in circulation in larger facilities. Two animal cage racks or pieces of the largest mobile equipment must be able to pass each other without restriction in the corridor. Sufficient storage must be designed in or near the facility so that equipment does not have to be stored in the corridors. Marshalling alcoves for racks and carts should be provided so that corridors are kept free of this equipment. The corridor corners should be rounded. Wall and corners shall have physical protection.
H.8 Vertical Circulation-Elevators: 
In multilevel facilities, dedicated clean and dirty animal elevators are required. The elevator for transporting clean material should be located near the clean side of the cage wash area, while the elevator used for soiled material should be in close proximity to the soiled side of the cage wash area.  The elevator size and location must accommodate the volume of materials to be handled in the cage wash, animal and material receiving, and waste removal areas. Elevators that will be used for transport of animals and animal facility equipment must be constructed of highly durable and cleanable materials. The elevator cab floor material must be of the same material as the floor in the animal facility. The elevator car interior should have guardrails at appropriate heights for the typical racks and carts that will be used in the facility. Elevator doors must be of sufficient height to accommodate the tallest racks that will be used in the facility. Consideration should be given to an elevator door width that can accommodate at least two racks side by side.
At least one elevator should have the capacity to handle extremely heavy loads if, for instance, an irradiator is planned in the facility on a level below the loading dock level of the building. There should be adequate redundancy in the number of elevators to handle freight, staff and animals in the case of an equipment breakdown.
H.9 Security
The objective of security in an animal research facility is to ensure the safety of the animals, staff, equipment, and data. At NIH owned or leased facilities; the site is the first level of security. The site may be open to the public or it may have controlled access depending on the location.  The second level of security is the building. Access to the building must be managed.  Air intakes and any central utilities must be safeguarded from intruders. The third level of security is the access to the animal research facility. Administrative staff, research and veterinary staff, maintenance staff and vendors will require access to the animal research facility. A controlled point of entry is required prior to entering the vivarium. Security features must also be provided for the loading docks and service entries for the animal facility. Finally, the fourth level of security is the specific animal rooms, containment suites, surgical suites, pharmacy, or other areas within the animal facility with a higher level of controlled access and surveillance. Design an internal facility system to limit/control access to animal holding rooms and other areas. The A/E shall coordinate security requirements with DPSM.
H.10 Vivarium Loading Docks
Refer to Section 3-3-10-C: Loading Docks, Delivery and Service Areas: The loading dock that services a building with an animal facility should include a dedicated bay for animal and material receiving and waste removal.  The animal care loading dock must be viewed as an extension of the animal care facility.  Excluding pests and creating conditions that promote proper sanitation, at this location, are imperative to maintaining a pest free facility that meets or exceeds AAALAC Guidelines. To achieve these desired goals of pest exclusion and good sanitation, the dock facility must be: properly sited, constructed of durable; cleanable materials; sized to meet current and future program needs; allow for some flexibility in use; and create an effective barrier between the outside and the clean environment of the animal care facility. The animal receiving loading dock should include:
• A dedicated animal facility bay that is visually protected for security.  The dock must be physically segregated form other dock space and dock functions. This includes vehicle docking and material/supplies staging space.
• A receiving vestibule that is temperature and humidity controlled to protect valuable research animals. Overhead doors should be fitted with proper sweeps, gaskets, and brushes to exclude insects and rodent pests around the perimeter of the entire door. These doors and doorframes must provide an effective seal, when closed, to exclude insect and rodent pests.  The loading dock doors should be equipped with air curtains or other similar devices to exclude flying insects and to create a dust and dirt barrier when the receiving or personnel doors are opened.
• A dedicated route of transportation into the animal facility if possible
• A large pass through autoclave if bedding is to be sterilized at the loading dock
• An area to decontaminate the animal containers before they enter the animal facility.  The decontamination area can be at the loading dock or at the point of entry to the animal facility. The interior surfaces should be covered with materials that facilitate proper sanitation and ease of cleaning as is necessary in an animal care facility.  These materials must be durable enough to withstand regular cleaning and disinfection. Facilities must be available for loading dock wash down and cleanup. Floor drains should not be designed into the receiving area of the loading dock.
• A cold storage room for animal carcasses. 
• The dock entry points, e.g., materials receiving or personnel must be isolated from solid waste compacting, handling and storage operations. Solid waste operation can be attractive to pest species that are invasive to the facility.
• Recycling containers should not be sited on or near an animal facility loading dock.   Waste should not be staged for removal inside the receiving area of the loading dock.
• There should be no exposed conduit, piping, ledges, wall mounted lights, etc.  These provide perching and nesting sites for nuisance birds and are difficult to clean.
• Wall, corner and door guards should be of a type used inside the animal care facility, i.e., stainless steel, sealed at installation.
• An animal receiving room.  
• Electrical service should be provided on all walls of the receiving area and the elevator lobby to power electric light traps for pest exclusion.
• Empty conduit and back box system for an audio visual communication device at the animal receiving area with a minimum of two remote points within the vivarium.
• Electric pest control devices. 
• Lighting should be indirect to the loading dock to reduce attraction of flying insects. Do not use wall mounted lighting. Do not install lights directly above receiving or personnel doors.
• Provide a dedicated animal loading dock manager’s office
• Bulk chemical storage
• Gas cylinder storage
If animal bedding exits the building via a chute system, the loading dock configuration shall accommodate a front end container.  Provide a container (compactor or dumpster) with an ability to be connected by a chute.  On the “dirty” side of the loading dock, provide a concrete pad and guardrails matching up to the dumpsters, and provide a water source 10 meters away from the loading dock.  Space shall be provided for a dedicated compactor for vacuum bedding disposal system.

2-4-30 Design Document Requirements
A. Program of Requirements
Project Officers are encouraged to use the information in this Section to prepare PORs for NIH animal research facilities. A POR for the specific project shall be developed in accordance with Volume I Section 2-5 of the HHS Facilities Program Manual. In addition the programming process shall address user needs, population density, building circulation, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and all aspects of safety.

B. NIH Facility Budget Estimates
NIH Planners and Project Officers are encouraged to use the information in this section to prepare budget estimates for NIH animal research facility.
C. HHS Facility Project Approval Agreements
Project Officers are encouraged to use the information in this section to prepare FPAAs for NIH animal research facility facilities.
D. Project Definition Rating Index
Project Officers are encouraged to use the information in this Section to enhance their PDRI scores. 
E. Vivarium Concept Design
Architects and Engineers under contract to the National Institutes of Health are encouraged to use the information in this section as a reference in developing their conceptual design for their NIH animal research facility project.
E.1  Outline Specifications
Architects and Engineers under contract to the National Institutes of Health are encouraged to use the information in this Section as a reference in developing their outline specifications for their NIH animal research facility project.
E.2 Square Meter or Broad Order of Magnitude Cost Estimate
Architects and Engineers under contract to the National Institutes of Health are encouraged to use the information in this Section as a reference in developing their broad order of magnitude cost estimate for their NIH animal research facility project.

This page was last updated on May 23, 2013