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Laboratory Design: ANSI Seeks Comments on Proposed New ISO Technical Activity


Submit Comments by August 24, 2020

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) seeks comments on a proposed new field of technical activity within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) focusing on laboratory design. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO.

SAC, the Chinese national standards body, submitted the proposal, which states that there are currently no recognized international standards on any major aspect of laboratory design. Many countries have developed and implemented their own national building, safety, and laboratory design regulations and guidelines; however, no global systematic standards on laboratory design that can be widely applied across the world have been developed, according to the proposal.

The proposal also explains that laboratories are a key component in supporting both private and public sectors in a sustainable economy, including fields like healthcare and agriculture. The proposed technical committee (TC) aims to enable countries to address a wide range of global issues and reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support health, eradication of hunger and poverty, climate change, and economic development.

The Laboratory Design Industry and Global Disease Outbreak

Global outbreaks of zoonotic diseases like Avian Influenza (H5N1), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Coronavirus (COVID-19) have highlighted a worldwide lack of adequate laboratory capacity, especially in low-resource environments.

According to the proposal, the TC can help address this situation, early during the design stage, by providing a standardized approach on laboratory function, health and safety, energy efficiency, environmental impact, and regulatory compliance issues.

Standardization in laboratory design would include site selection, design of internal layout of space and services, with the objective to provide functional, safe, energy efficient, and sustainable laboratories, taking into account environmental impact, the practical division of experimental and support areas, and layouts, plus model selection of laboratory furniture.

All interested U.S. parties are invited to review the proposal, which features related existing work and relevant affected stakeholders.

Submit comments to Steven Cornish, ANSI senior director of international policy and strategy, at [email protected], by close of business on Friday, August 14, 2020. Based on the input received from U.S. stakeholders, a recommended ANSI position and any comments will be developed and presented to the ANSI ISO Council for approval before the ISO voting deadline of September 26, 2020.

ANSI has published an explanatory information document outlining the process used to develop U.S. positions on issues and activities under consideration by ISO and IEC.


Jana Zabinski

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Beth Goodbaum

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