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Forensic Laboratory Programming, Planning & Design

Ken C. Mohr, Health, Education + Research Associates, Inc. (HERA, Inc.)


Our first objective is to establish that crime laboratories are one of the most complicated facility types today. The combination of forensic science and crime laboratories requires the very best technology, planning and programming that biology, chemistry, physics, teaching and research have to offer.

Our second objective is to establish that in the past decade, forensic science and crime laboratories have evolved dramatically. This change has impacted how the science is performed and how facilities operate. Advancements toward improving design methodologies, accommodating personnel growth, flexible space for technology and zero-use policy in DNA of radioisotopes have positively affected the forensic industry.

Another objective is to show that some of the best practices to meet the needs of forensic science happen within the laboratory: flexibility, multifunctional spaces and open laboratory concepts, to name a few. Sustainable design comes into play during the laboratory fit out. The facility owner will receive the benefits of sustainable design by incorporating such aspects as: renewable casework, green countertops, natural and direct/indirect lighting sources and application specific ventilation.


We hope to present substantial support for sustainably designed forensic laboratories and all of the benefits they include. We also hope to show, along with the design process, a thorough understanding of sustainable technologies including materials & finishes, safety & ventilation, quality of life issues and how one applies them to the forensic laboratory.

Labs21 Connection:

This presentation will focus on sustainable laboratory architecture. This presentation will also address how forensic science has changed over the past decade and how sustainable design plays a role in that change.


Ken C. Mohr serves as a principal of HERA and senior laboratory programmer/planner. For the past 16 years, Ken has collaborated with numerous forensic, governmental agency, corporate, university, and healthcare institutions specifically in the programming, planning, and design of laboratories, collecting years of lessons learned. His strengths are in the areas of planning analysis and design, and as a facilitator for programming work sessions. He works with a concensus-building approach to satisfy the needs of multiple departments and users within a facility. He is also technically proficient with various types of computer software to produce the details and documents required to price and build client laboratories.

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