Saturday, 8 March 2014

Choosing School Science Lab Furniture

There are many different types of school science lab furniture to choose from and it can be difficult for schools, colleges and universities to decide between the different designs and products on the market to meet needs of specific students and curriculum areas.

Here we will focus on some of the different requirements we come across at Tecomak Furniture Solutions, and describe what types of design would be appropriate.

School Science Lab Furniture  – Click here for more information.

The Importance of Requirements-Led Design
A new school lab might look good from a surface point of view, but if it doesn't support the needs of your students and your curriculum, then it won't produce the educational results you are hoping for and won't be good value for money. An efficient school lab design needs to be tailored to suit both the types and ages of students and the subjects being taught. 

Many schools will have a good idea of the layout they require, but others may need help in understanding what is possible in modern educational lab design, especially if they currently have an older-style laboratory in need of a complete rethink. Tecomak Furniture Solutions are experts, not just in installing chosen school science lab furniture, but in taking time to discuss clients' needs and understand what advantages different design options can give them.

Is the Lab used for Different Subjects and/or Age Groups?
Often a school lab has multiple functions, for instance, serving for both chemistry and biology sessions, or for both older and younger pupils. In this situation, there will be a need for school lab furniture giving greater flexibility. Where the room often has to be changed around, there is likely to be a greater need for storage facilities. There may also be a call for mobile furniture – either styles of lab benching which can be rearranged easily, or carts which can be used for transporting text books and equipment.

We offer different types of standard educational laboratory furniture, including cantilever furniture, which is particularly flexible in terms of storage and so may be a good choice for a lab with multiple uses. Island benches can be used for a mix of practical and theoretical work, while pod designs can also help to make the lab adaptable. Tables can either be arranged around a pod, providing services such as gas and power, or moved to face the teacher when needed, for instance during theory sessions.

What Storage and Preparation Areas Are Needed?

All school labs will need storage built in, but how much depends on the type and size of items to be stored. Another question is whether secure storage is required and, if so, who needs to be able to access it. Tecomak's pedestal furniture is the most economical of our laboratory benching designs, and offers under-bench storage in the cupboard units which support worktops.

Other facilities to consider include store rooms for chemicals and equipment, together with areas where preparation can be carried out for a demo, away from the main teaching area. If no dedicated space is available, a good solution may be for part of the classroom area to be used, with lockable storage or partitioned areas being included in the laboratory design.

What are the Numbers of Students and Styles of Lessons?
Knowing the maximum number of students to fit into a lab will often dictate the type and arrangement of benching and seating. Before designing a lab, it is also important to look at whether this number is likely to expand at all in the future. If so, it may be necessary for the lab design to factor that in. This could potentially save on the costs of a future lab refurbishment.

If science lessons are shorter and mostly based around practical work, students may not be sitting down in the same place for any length of time, so basic stools could be a suitable choice for seating. However, if there are longer and theory based lessons within the lab setting, where students are sitting most of the time, the seating needs to be more comfortable and provide greater support.

What are the Requirements for Power, IT and Ventilation?
Services are a vital part of any school lab design, and in the modern world these include IT as well as traditional utilities like electricity, gas and water. To get power and networking services throughout room, peninsular benching is often ideal, with a design which starts at the walls and works inwards.

Another question to consider is whether the curriculum requires a fume cupboard and, if so, how intensively it will be used. Tecomak can advise you on this and factor in finding a suitable site for fume cupboards and associated ventilation routes, taking into account visibility for the class as well as safety and airflow.

Tecomak's school science lab furniture is all built to last, with quality standards which mean it will prove cost-effective. We have more than 35 years of experience and will project manage your installation, ensuring that your new lab design offers high performance for staff and students alike. 

Tecomak Lab Furniture –  Find out more about our service.

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