Table of Contents:  

Section 2-1: Customers

Section 2-1: Customers

2-1- 00 Design Requirements
10 Design Guidance (Reserved) 
20 Design Information
30 Design Document Requirements

2-1-00 Design Requirements

The Customer is the focus of everything we do.  ORF is focused on satisfying the needs of its customers, driven mainly by its reputation for quality!

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.

2-1-20 Design Information

A. Key Customers
Users:   The researchers, medical personnel, administrators, support personnel and visitors who use NIH facilities on a daily basis.  ORF provides and operates the NIH facilities so that it possible for the users to perform their duties or functions.

Key Administrative Officers:  The principal customer contact for the Institute/Center (IC). They request facility improvements and provide the necessary requirements for the request. ORF meets the facility requirements and desires of the Administrative Officers

Scientific Directors & Executive Officers:  Establish the scientific and administrative pro-grammatic direction of the ICs.  ORF implements the programmatic directions as they relate to NIH facilities.

Program Facility Managers of Accredited Facilities:  Responsible for maintaining the accreditation of the facilities that they manage.  ORF assist the Program Facility Managers in maintaining their accreditation by making the correction of deficiencies in accredited facilities a very high priority.

B. A Slice of a Day in the Lab:
The following discussion is taken from a lecture given by James L. Mulshine, M.D. at the NCI-ORS/NIH, ISPE Research and Development Symposium, on March 5, 1996, “Designing for Research Ethos.”  This discussion is to give the programmer a flavor of research activities from a researcher’s perspective. “The typical experiment conducted in today’s NIH laboratory is complex.  It could involve some cell harvesting, some incubations, some purification steps, some primary analysis steps, some data reduction efforts, graphical representation of results, and drafting a report.  While these activities may happen within the same walls, specialized resource areas are available in other environments to perform distinct tasks more efficiently.  A critical issue for each laboratory to resolve is how much space should be dedicated to specialized instrumentation as opposed to maintaining space as generic.” 

More than previously, instrumentation is being bundled with a dedicated micro computer on its own freestanding cart. “These instruments include beta and gamma counters, phosphor imagers, other image analysis instruments, freeze dryers, and gel dryers, to name a few. The balance between specialized space and generic space is an emerging issue in planning and obtaining optimal lab density. Control of bench space is a visceral issue regardless of the nature of the research setting.”

The design for experimentation generally imposes the requirement of close time management. Time dependent access to a work space is usually required at several periods during the course of a typical experiment.  In specific instances, access to related instrumentation workstations critical to the experiments may drive adjacency considerations.  In some cases, instrumentation is so critical to the experiment, that redundancy is necessary, in which case both the primary and backup instrument must be equally accessible to the researcher. “To optimize the work environment in the lab, it is critical to understand its subcultures.  The average research lab, especially at NIH or in academia, is tightly regulated with highly specialized instrumentation.”  The ambiance in the lab ranges from the ascetic to playful.  A number of people rotate through the laboratory in a given year.  A problem is that at NIH there is a transient population, so lab occupants may not have as a proprietary identification with their physical environment as elsewhere.

C. Research Personnel Profiles
The following discussion is also taken from Dr. Mulshine’s lecture.  This discussion is about the expectation of the occupants of a laboratory.  Again this is from the perspective of a researcher and it provides useful anecdotal information about the behavior of occupants in a laboratory setting at a particular stage in their career.

“The personnel in a typical lab consist of technicians, students, graduate students and post doctoral fellows, staff scientists, and junior and senior faculty.  All these groups have their own needs and aspirations which can result in different expectations of a research facility.”

Technical Staff: “At NIH, a technical staff person is typically among the most accomplished lab workers in the world.  Many of the NIH GS -11 technicians with long years of experience have accumulated expertise in a staggering array of laboratory techniques. They, along with the post doctoral fellows are the backbone of the productivity of the NIH. With experience, a technician accrues a sophisticated understanding of laboratory ergonomics.” Programmers and lab design teams would profit from listening more to the thoughts of these accomplished individuals. “These people are concerned about the flow of activities. They want to have tissue culture, bench space and refrigerators in close relationships to allow efficient lab work. They want to have ample adjacent storage space to have at their disposal all the accouterments that allow them to continue working and sustaining progress through a grant or fiscal cycle.  These seasoned individuals are more sensitized than others to safe lab practices, so they want good airflows and strategically placed desktop downdraft hoods. Technicians are in the lab for extended projects, so they do not want to prolong exposure to noxious substances.  In their time they have seen or heard of shut downs for radioactive spill or toxic waste accidents.” For this reason, they want the professionals in ORF to build into a facility the infrastructure that will allow them to stay in compliance with good lab practice.  “With rapidly evolving hazardous material handling requirements, this aspect of lab design is in flux.”  

Students:  The student’s time in the lab is more temporary, so they want to see as many techniques as possible during their tenure.  Students spend more time with literature searches and downloading articles and data bases than doing lab work.  They want access to journals and proximity to white marker boards (white boards) and beverages.  The importance of lab safety is not so deeply ingrained in them so it is best to segregate certain functions. If the journals and workstations and white marker boards are not in the lab but close by, then the chances of the beverage staying off lab benches is better. Students’ curiosity leads to wandering, and they like to work in shared equipment rooms because of the novelty and the potential for encountering a fellow student. Student requirements are probably the least critical of the design qualities of the facility.

Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Fellows: The post doctoral fellows and graduate students occupy a distinct niche in the research community, and need a place to work. They have a time limit to successfully complete their research.  They are more paranoid about freezer and incubator failure. Many students need to work at odd hours through the night. They demand good logistical support so that, for example, they can find additional bovine serum albumin and a package of five c.c. pipettes at 3:00 A.M. in the morning.

“Smart building systems and lab equipment monitoring is important to these folks.  These people spend a lot of time putting together respectable posters. These posters are put together in a frenzy of activity leading up to major national meetings.  Small conference rooms can be temporarily converted into staging areas to facilitate poster assembly.  Upon returning from meetings, mounting these trophies (posters) on hall bulletin boards allows for collegial feedback on current research projects. Interaction rooms where post docs can snack, sip coffee and gripe about the latest failed experiment are an important lab asset.  Close proximity to journal racks is desirable here.   Post docs like bikes and jogging so provisions for showers and access to a place to lock a bike are appreciated.”

Staff Scientists: Staff scientists are career doctoral scientists who have special expertise.  For example, they may run the cell sorting facility, the electron microscope or perform all the DNA or protein sequencing. The scientists need conditioned power and uninterrupted power for their expensive, specialized and sensitive instruments. They may or may not need a private office but they, along with technicians, need a place to store their coat, some lab supply catalogues and their lunch securely.

Tenure Track Faculty:  “The junior faculty wants an office as much as they want their own lab modules.  Even within a large lab room, if a functional boundary is devised, it helps new faculty members to feel more in control of their own destiny.”  This is important because cooperation in a lab is generally greater when the workers in the lab are confident that they are in control of critical variables during the day that determine their rate of progress.

Senior Faculty: “Senior Faculty spends more time on the phone and more time in conferences. They too, want white board access. They need meeting areas in close proximity with the lab to conduct lab meetings and to network with collaborators.” Although they are away from the lab, its design is an important influence on them. For example, complaints of insufficient computer access and contaminated incubators fall to the Senior Faculty member for resolution. “Senior Faculty members have a long term stake in the proper functioning of the lab. From the Senior Faculty perspective, the best research facility is the one that lets the focus of the group stay on the research problem and not on the facility.”

D. Animal Care Personnel Profiles
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers: Feed, water, and examine animals for signs of illness, disease, or injury in laboratories. Clean and disinfect cages and work areas, and sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment. They may provide routine postoperative care, administer medication orally or topically, or prepare samples for laboratory examination under the supervision of veterinary or laboratory animal technologists or technicians, veterinarians, or scientists.

Veterinary Technologists and Technicians: Use the skills of Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, who perform many of the same duties for a veterinarian that a nurse would for a physician, including routine laboratory and clinical procedures. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians may work in research facilities, where they may administer medications orally or topically, prepare samples for laboratory examinations, and record information on an animal’s genealogy, diet, weight, medications, food intake, and clinical signs of pain and distress. Some may be required to sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment and provide routine postoperative care. At research facilities, veterinary technologists typically work under the guidance of veterinarians, physicians, and other laboratory technicians. Some veterinary technologists vaccinate newly admitted animals and occasionally are required to euthanize seriously ill, severely injured, or unwanted animals.

Veterinarians: Responsible for the day-to-day operation of the animal research facility. Veterinarians play a major role in the healthcare of laboratory animals. They work in basic research, broadening the scope of fundamental theoretical knowledge, and in applied research, developing new ways to use knowledge. Veterinarians can contribute to human as well as animal health. They work with physicians and scientists as they research ways to prevent and treat various human health problems. For example, veterinarians contributed greatly in conquering malaria and yellow fever, solved the mystery of botulism, produced an anticoagulant used to treat some people with heart disease, and defined and developed surgical techniques for humans, such as hip and knee joint replacements and limb and organ transplants. Today, some determine the effects of drug therapies, antibiotics, or new surgical techniques by testing them on animals.

2-1-30 Design Document Requirements

A. Program of Requirements
The Program of Requirements (POR) is a customer directed document and it is essential that the customer’s input is reflected in the POR.

B. Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI)
Customer input is vital to the scoring of the project’s (PDRI).
(508 compliant)


This page was last updated on May 23, 2013