Laboratory Design Guidelines Roundtable: Part 3

Christopher Quinn-Vawter, Sandia National Laboratories

Designing a new facility can be daunting, especially designing a new laboratory with complex systems. Balancing research needs, flexibility, safety, and budget with campus-wide sustainability goals is a challenging task that falls on the organization, rather than the design team. In many cases sustainable or energy-efficient building options are highlighted as individuals ask in a building design process and can end up being value engineered out of the building design or become more costly because they are considered "extra". Building performance-based goals into the design guidelines ensures that the design team has clear metrics such that the building meets the organization's goals beyond the construction phase.

In this session, attendees will learn from the best practices of how three national laboratories are incorporating Smart Labs strategies directly into their building design guidelines. Attendees will walk away equipped with best practices to integrate embeds strategies into the design-build performance specifications, ensuring a more successful Smart Labs facility overall design.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify key strategies for integrating Smart Labs into laboratory design guidelines for new construction;
  • Understand the importance of performance-based goals in defining design guidelines;
  • Evaluate research needs, safety, sustainability, and cost considerations to inform strategic design guideline development; and
  • Apply best practices and lessons learned to current and future new construction.


Christopher Quinn-Vawter is a Certified Industrial Hygienist at Sandia National Laboratories and has 10 years of experience in the EHS field. He holds a MS in Toxicology and a MS in Environmental Health from Colorado State University. He currently serves as industrial hygiene lead in Sandia's Smart Labs pilot program at the New Mexico campus.


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