The key to the success of a cannabis lab is being familiar with the infrastructure and being able to create a design that accommodates large laboratory equipment, working areas, storage, and safety.
Labs are crucial in the ever-growing marijuana industry for analysis and ensuring the quality of cannabis products. While many people believe that a cannabis testing lab should be designed the same as any other lab, it’s essential to understand a few key factors. Here’s some important advice you should understand before undergoing the design of your lab.
Know Your Regulations
Different states have different regulations when it comes to cannabis labs. There is no one established standard for these facilities. Both state and local jurisdictions have their own regulations that labs must comply with. All labs have electrical, ventilation, air filtration, and cleanliness regulations they must adhere to, so it can be challenging to understand what the regulations are and how to comply.
Before creating a cannabis testing laboratory, make sure you have a thorough understanding of these regulations. If your lab does not comply with the regulations, you will be able to fix the issues found. However, it can be challenging to make it work when you’ve already finished the construction of everything else in the lab.
The safety of the lab and laboratory techs who work within it much be ensured through the design. You will need fire alarm systems, eyewash stations, and emergency showers. Consider all of the tools and fluids that scientists and lab techs work with daily and make sure that you take into account all of the items that could cause them harm.
For example, chemicals can burn through countertops and onto those working at that station. To prevent freak accidents from happening in your lab, only use chemical resistant tables and workbenches.
From there, establish all of the precautions you will need in place to make sure it is a safe work environment for everyone.
Design for Power Efficiency
In order to survive in a competitive industry, you will need to maximize your efficiency and the efficiency of your power, including HVAC and lighting. Considering LED technology can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
All items within the space should be laid out for workflow efficiency, including lab tables. People should not have to walk too far in order to access everything that they need. Specific rooms such as trim rooms and dry rooms should be close enough to one another that technicians are able to go from one to the other quickly and easily.
Consider the daily life of someone working in the lab and what they will need to do and where they will go. You will want to make rooms that will be used one after the other close enough that someone won’t have to walk across the entire building to get there.
You can also optimize the workspace by investing in tools that will help people get their jobs done quicker. If you are hand watering, you may be wasting tons of time and effort that could be done using an irrigation system.
Laboratory cabinets and other storage solutions will also optimize workspaces, providing workers with areas to put items that they don’t yet need but soon will. Having laboratory casework and cabinets will allow workers to continue to focus on the work instead of searching for an item that they can’t find when they need it.
Utilize Separate Rooms
You should use separate rooms for separate tasks. If you can divide areas, you will have the ability to isolate so that if you face a microbial issue, you won’t lose the entire crop all at once. Rooms should be well-sealed to prevent any issues from spreading.
The size of the rooms will depend on the items that you’re using, including any lab benches. Having one large room where multiple tasks are completed may end up being a mistake since you run the risk of contamination.
Keep Limited Access in Mind
Your cannabis analysis lab should be designed with clean-room protocols in mind. There should be limited access to production. Limiting access will lead to fewer chances of the contamination of valuable crops. When it comes to an inspector or investor who needs access, you can design viewing windows that allow them to understand the process without the risk of contamination.
Utilize Clean-Room Technology
Clean-room technology will come in handy when state regulations become stricter in terms of lab testing. Clean-room protocols, such as disposable gowns, booties, and points of entry technology like air curtains will help you continue to follow the regulations while reducing the risk of contamination.
Consider Your Growing Style
Before designing a lab, think about your preferred grow style. If you prefer to use a certain type of science lab table, try to design your rooms to maximize those tables and create as much space for people to move around.
If your tables are smaller, you can design rooms with a different shape or size. Make sure, however, that you also consider everything that must go on top of laboratory tables, including crops, testing materials, and paperwork.
Also remember that if you work with the right company, you can have them create customizable lab furniture that can be made specifically for your lab.
Ask for Help
If you’ve never designed your own lab before and want to make sure it’s done right, you can hire a grow room or lab designer. These designers know and understand the regulations, and can help you maximize space and increase efficiency through design.
You may also want to work with an architect, but while they can layout the facility, they may not have any advice on how to maximize space. A design consultant should be able to work with architects or engineers and understand what’s important to facility owners.
You must also consider that many designers and architects don’t understand the subtle things about cannabis that they should in order to design an effective lab. Always work with those who have experience working in the cannabis industry with a proven track record of success.
When it comes to choosing the best lab furniture, make sure to work with a laboratory supplies company that’s able to deliver custom solutions based on your needs. You will be surprised at how easy it is to optimize the space when you are able to find the right lab furniture.