Table of Contents:  

Section 4-4: Interior Finishes

Section 4-4: Interior Finishes
4-4-00 Design Requirements
       10 Design Guidance 
       20 Design Information (Reserved)
       30 Design Document Requirements (Reserved)

4-4-00 Design Requirements
The interior design for a facility should be developed as a complete and coordinated part of the building design, expressing both the functional and aesthetic needs of the user. Finish materials are what the user and visitor: sees, touches, and walks on and therefore produce an immediate impact.  All interior components and their related construction details, finishes and products, shall be based on the anticipated use, engineering limitations, fire and other health and safety requirements, applicable codes and regulations, life cycle costs, house-keeping and maintenance costs, durability, aseptic characteristics, and the appropriateness of the particular material or combination of materials to the environment being created.
Color selection is an important element of the building’s interior and exterior design.  Color selection should be coordinated with the quality and quantity of light provided in each space.  Colors and patterns should be selected with regard to their effect on the maintainability and function of the space as well as with regard to their impact on the health and welfare of the people who will be using the space. The range of interior and exterior colors should be made from a limited pallet to facilitate maintenance and coordinate with all finishes, furnishings and accessories. Lighter colors with improved light reflectivity characteristics should be used to the greatest extent possible to improve functional lighting levels.  Matte surface finishes should be provided where glare from a high gloss finish would be functionally disruptive.  Color selections shall be made by the designer and incorporated and coordinated throughout the contract documents for the project.
The Interior Designer is required to make selections of finishes, materials, furniture and products from the GSA Federal Supply Schedule.  Current GSA contract schedules must be verified with each manufacturer prior to specifying items. The designer must consider the expiration dates of those contracts to assure availability of the product at the anticipated time when product ordering is to occur. Contract Documents shall be developed to require a submittal of all manufacturers’ information about the installation instructions, flammability ratings, static and acoustic characteristics, and recommended maintenance and stain removal techniques for all interior finishes and materials.
Materials selected for the finishes of laboratories shall be durable, smooth, and easily cleaned, provide ease of maintenance, minimize pest access, and contribute to the creation of a comfortable, productive, and safe work environment. 
Materials for laboratory finishes shall be as resistant as possible to the corrosive chemical activity of disinfectants and other chemicals used in the laboratory.  Finishes shall be sealed to provide a positive barrier against the harborage of pests and vermin.  Structural and construction joints shall be detailed to be easily cleaned and decontaminated
A. Ceilings:
Ceilings such as washable lay-in acoustical tiles (mylar face with smooth surface, vinyl face or equivalent) with a square edge (not tegular) on a non-concealed spline shall be provided for most laboratory spaces.  Ceiling heights shall be a minimum 2 850 mm in laboratory and laboratory support spaces and a minimum of 2 440 mm in administrative spaces.  Gypsum board with epoxy paint ceilings, equipped with access panels, shall be provided in glass-ware washing and autoclave rooms, where the potential for a high moisture level exists.  Access panels shall be fitted with gaskets that seal the door when closed and also the flange around the panel lip where it meets the ceiling.  Open ceilings are acceptable provided minimal ducting and piping are present, and all exposed surfaces are smooth and easily cleaned. 
B. Walls:
Wall surfaces shall be free from cracks, unsealed penetrations, and imperfect junctions with ceiling and floors.  Materials shall be capable of withstanding washing with strong detergents and disinfectants and be capable of withstanding the impact of normal traffic.  Many areas within an animal facility are subject to water daily, including impact damage from hose streams.  Walls in these areas shall be constructed of concrete, concrete block, or surfaced with a heavy duty, impenetrable veneer, such as fiberglass reinforced panels (seamless). 
C. Flooring:
Floors shall be designed to accommodate different types of wheeled conveyances and shall be devoid of abrupt changes in elevation.  Avoid raised thresholds, steps, and ramps in circulation areas.  Consideration shall be given to radiographic electrical floor ducts.  The A/E selections shall be influenced by an understanding of the specific use of the particular area.  When selecting floor finishes the A/E shall consider:
• Durability and permanence.
• Functionality of room/space.
• Maintenance.
• Floor flatness (FF) and floor levelness (FL): Numbers shall be specified when the installations of finish materials, functional conditions, or equipment dictate tight control of concrete slab substrates.
• Interstitial space flooring system shall be addressed for noise transmission, water–tightness and possible self leveling sealants.
C.1 Biomedical Laboratory Floor and Base Materials:
Floor materials shall be nonabsorbent, skid proof, resistant to wear, and resistant to the adverse effects of acids, solvents, and detergents.  Materials may be monolithic (sheet flooring) or have a minimal number of joints such as vinyl composition tile (VCT) or rubber tile.  Floor materials shall be installed to allow for decontamination with liquid disinfectants and to minimize the potential spread of spills.  The base for VCT or rubber tile may be a 100 mm high easily cleaned vinyl or rubber material. 
C.2 Animal Research Facility Floor and Base Materials:
Floors shall be smooth, durable, moisture proof, nonabsorbent, and slip resistant and resistant to the adverse effects of disinfectants, high temperature water, detergent cleaning, and chemicals used in holding and procedure rooms and continuous movement of cages and equipment.  If thresholds are used to separate dissimilar flooring materials, provide type that permits the easy wheeling of cages or other equipment through the animal facility.  All exposed concrete floors shall be sealed.  These are mandatory for animal research facilities.  VCT or rubber floor and base materials are not permitted for use in animal research facilities.
C.3 Carpet:
 Use of carpeting when an office is contiguous with the laboratory is not permitted.  If carpeting is allowed or used in office areas not contiguous with laboratory, direct glue down installation is required, preferably using carpet tiles.  Carpet (modular tile or broadloom carpet) shall comply with all flammability requirements outlined in applicable codes.

4-4-10 Design Guidance
A. Ceilings
A.1 Lay-in Ceiling Tile: 
Lay out ceiling tiles symmetrically so that tiles and grid members retain modular dimensions.  All ceiling-mounted items shall be secured through the ceiling to secondary support members.  Heavy equipment and equipment tracks shall be securely suspended from independent structural assemblies attached directly to the structural floor and framing members overhead.  When acoustic treatment is required in the presence of high levels of moisture, mylar-faced acoustic tiles shall be used.  Maximum accessibility in corridor ceilings to the mechanical and electrical distribution systems above shall be provided.  Concealed-spline ceiling systems are not permitted.  Access panels into ceiling plenums shall be color coded with tabs to identify the type of utility present.
A.2 Ceiling Treatments:
All areas within the animal facility, except personnel support spaces, require ceilings that are smooth, free of crevices and imperfect junctions with walls, and capable of withstanding scrubbing with detergents, disinfectants, and water under pressure on a frequent basis.  Surface mounted lights and exposed pipes are not permitted.
A.3 Gypsum Wallboard:
Most vivarium ceilings may be constructed of a suspended high density, moisture resistant GWB with an epoxy coating.
A.4 Access Panels:
Monolithic ceilings, such as suspended GWB or plaster systems, shall be provided with gasketed stainless steel access panels in vivariums.  Panel doors shall also be fitted with a gasket.  It is recommended that access panels be minimized in animal housing/holding and procedure rooms so as not to disrupt ongoing research and animal care activities. Access panels into ceiling plenums shall be color coded with tabs to identify the type of utility present.
A.5  FRP Ceilings: 
Suspended FRP panels, with heavy duty aluminum suspension system, gasketed with hold down clips are recommended for animal research facilities.  FRP ceilings shall not be used in biomedical laboratories.
B. Walls
B.1 Wall Treatments:
Selection of wall treatments shall be based on the functional use and purpose of the area, as well as any infection control and chemical resistance requirements. The selection of materials and finishes shall create a non institutional appearance. Sound control and acoustical properties within the area shall be considered when material selection is made. All materials must conform to applicable codes and standards.
• Fabric Finish Materials: No wall coverings are permitted in laboratories for aesthetic reasons, however, may be considered as a protective covering. 
• Multicolored Paint Coatings: The use of multicolored paint coatings may be more cost effective than wall coverings; however, this option is a high maintenance item. 
C. Floors
C.1 Flooring Systems:
Flooring systems that may be considered are:
Linoleum Floor:  Use of linoleum floor may be acceptable in biomedical laboratories.
Rubber Floor: Use of rubber floor is acceptable in biomedical laboratories, but not permitted in animal research facilities.
Carpet:  The carpet assembly (modular tile or broadloom carpet and padding) must comply with all flammability requirements outlined in applicable codes. The quality of carpet proposed for a facility must be based on several factors, including resistance to wear, soiling and staining.  When carpet is used in corridors adjacent to building entrances, walk-off mats shall be provided to extend the life of the carpet installation.  Carpet colors should be chosen for their ability to mask soiling to prolong the carpet’s appearance.  Small irregular patterns and tweeds help mask soiling.  Avoid using geometric patterns in high traffic areas such as corridors as these designs may emphasize soiling patterns.  Carpet shall also be selected based on the requirements necessary to comply with accessibility guidelines.
Carpet should not be provided in personnel break areas and food preparation areas.  While the use of carpet is discouraged in food consumption areas, its aesthetic and acoustical benefits shall be evaluated against sanitation requirements before it is selected for use.  If selected for food consumption areas, specify antimicrobial compositions.
VCT: Standard is 3 mm VCT with 100 mm vinyl cove base using continuous versus sectional installation shall be specified with applied adhesive, not self-adhesive.  Flooring shall be installed under casework.  VCT is not permitted in animal research facilities.
Slip Resistant Surfaces: In addition to code requirements to provide slip resistant ground and floor surfaces, provide slip resistant floor surfaces in all shower stalls. Slip resistant floor surfaces should also be provided in all locations where the floor is subject to moisture or water, e.g., building lobbies.
Resinous/Composite Polyester/Vinyl Flooring Materials:  Seamless, monolithic flooring is required within vivarium.  Material shall be carried up walls 150 mm minimum, integral with floor with coved corner.  A water vapor transmission and core test shall be performed prior to application.  Control and expansion joints shall be flush.  Surface preparation shall be shot blast.  Floor shall slope to drains and top coat shall be slip resistant. 
Sheet Vinyl: Seamless vinyl floor and base may be provided in the tissue culture room, heat welded only. Chemical welding is not permitted.  Conductive flooring required where static is present, but is generally not permitted in animal research facilities.  Some areas within the animal facility may not require the same amount of cleaning and disinfecting as the areas in which cages and animals are held or transported.  These areas are program driven and may consider the use of a monolithic sheet vinyl flooring material with heat welded seams.  Flooring material shall be carried up the walls a minimum of 150 mm to provide an integral coved base for ease of cleaning.
Vinyl Bases: Continuous versus sectional vinyl base shall be applied with adhesive versus self-adhesive, with a recommendation to use rubber versus vinyl base.  When monolithic flooring is used, either a 100 mm high integrally coved sheet flooring base or a readily easily cleaned 100 mm high vinyl or rubber base may be used.  Establish mastic performance requirements/standards.  Vinyl base is not permitted in animal research facilities.
C.2 Floor Moisture Protection and Waterproofing:
All “wet” areas shall receive a positive slope to the drain of 6 mm per 300 mm. Floors shall receive a waterproof membrane prior to the installation of the finish materials.  The selection of the membrane system shall be coordinated with the flooring manufacturer.
D. Room Numbering, Signage and Graphics:
ORF DFP determines the room numbering system for the identification of all spaces.  This room numbering system shall be incorporated into the design, under DFP guidance, beginning in the design development phases, and reviewed by DFP at the 70% submission, so that all components are coordinated with the building’s final room numbers. 
D.1 Interior Signage:
The A/E shall comply with the requirements as defined in the NIH Interior Signage Users Manual.  If this manual is not available at the time of the DRM publication, the A/E shall contact the Project Officer for guidance on interior signage requirements.
E. Window Treatments:
Window treatment is an important element in the overall design solution. Successful window treatment choices must satisfy both functional and aesthetic requirements for the space. Blinds are acceptable choices for interior window treatments. During pre-design programming, the Interior Designer must be involved with the project development to determine the types of window treatments necessary.  Elements such as the direction of the source of natural light; the effects of natural light on the user throughout the day, requirements for filtering, blocking, or redirecting light, the effect of natural light in fading of fabrics, the requirements for use of a video monitor, etc. must be considered. Window treatments shall be coordinated with heating and air conditioning to avoid interference with designed airflows.
E.1 Blinds: 
Aluminum blinds may also be used as an interior window treatment.  Blind slat depth shall be coordinated with the window frame profile when inside mount units are planned.  Neutral colors (black, beige, brushed aluminum, etc.) that will not stand out when viewed fro the exterior of the building are preferred to colors that compliment the interior palette. On new buildings, one color shall be used throughout the building.  Windows with integral blinds should be evaluated in addition to the installation of interior mounted blinds.

This page was last updated on May 23, 2013