Office Principles launches specialist laboratory division

Design, fit-out and workplace consultancy, Office Principles has launched an expert laboratory division, Principle Laboratories to provide a bespoke technical service and one-stop solution for its growing number of clients within the scientific, innovation and technology based laboratory environments.

The new division, which operates autonomously, with a team trained in the unique complexities and challenges of lab design and delivery, is led by design director, Nick Jones.

With several years’ experience as a principle laboratory designer and visualiser, Nick understands the challenges of these sectors and is keen to engage with clients to identify best practice solutions and create smarter labs. Nick says: “Laboratories are workplaces with a difference. They have their own set of specialist requirements, with intricate and exact specifications due to the nature of the processes and materials being handled in these spaces, which often include chemicals and other highly flammable and toxic substances. There is a keen initiative to make these environments more energy efficient for facilities and more sustainable for the environment to meet Carbon Neutral objectives.

“Each project is different and requires an expert eye, along with a deep understanding of what is taking place in that lab environment to create the optimum space. Specialist knowledge is needed along with a responsive approach to the wellbeing and comfort of the employees who will be operating within this workplace.

“We want to differentiate ourselves from the perceived office refurbishment doing laboratory fit-out and emphasize our capability and experience, coupled with industry knowledge and understanding of these environments. However, many of our clients don’t want a lab fit-out in isolation.

“There will also likely be a requirement for supporting commercial workspace such as project write-up zones, showers and washrooms, breakout areas and meeting suites. We have the know-how and experience to deliver all aspects of the fit-out to create an integrated and inspirational space.”

Managing director of Principle Laboratories, Cyril Parsons is confident that there is a demand for a more specialised, tailored offering: “There are relatively few companies who can provide the full package for laboratory design and fit-out, eliminating the prospect of duplication, split responsibilities and over-running costs. By procuring and co-ordinating a single solution, we can deliver within budget and on time, regardless of the scope of the project.

“What we have found is that there is huge competition within the scientific, innovation and technology fields at the moment and our clients are focusing on recruitment and retention and how to attract the best talent. The design of the laboratory environment and the supporting facilities play an integral role in helping to recruit ‘best in class’ talent. However laboratory fit outs require a more sensitive, specialised approach than offices, coupled with a strategy-based methodology.”

Key services provided by Principle Laboratories include laboratory design and build; workplace consultancy, furniture supply and ergonomic seating; the handling of specialist gases, solvents and waste disposal; specialist ventilation, mechanical and extract installation; gas storage and delivery; the installation of architectural building components such as safety flooring and partitions, fume cupboards, Bio-safety cabinets and isolators, emergency facilities, security access control, airlocks and integrated BMS and laboratory information management systems.

Principle Laboratories is a member of OBN, One Nucleus and CBRE.