Recognizing the design and construction of a forensic laboratory is a complex undertaking. The National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors held a joint workshop in November 1996 to develop guidelines for planning, designing, constructing, and moving crime laboratories.
Workshop participants determined many crime laboratory design issues include those considerations present when designing any building, with special requirements involving environmental health and safety, hazardous materials, management, operational efficiency, adaptability, security of evidence, preservation of evidence in an uncontaminated state, and budgetary concerns. Guidelines resulted from the workshop that can be used by crime laboratory directors when considering the construction of a new laboratory or the renovation of an existing laboratory. Technical laboratories such as toxicology, biological sciences, DNA, firearms analysis, and trace evidence have specialized needs unique to their areas of work. High performance standards are required for cleanliness, temperature, humidity, and vibration controls to create an environment suitable for forensic sciences. Further, the technical work performed in forensic laboratories must be able to withstand evidentiary challenges. Guidelines are presented for planning, designing, constructing, and moving crime laboratories. Appendixes provide a description of spaces by laboratory sections, laboratory design standards and modules, a forensic computer examination laboratory statement of work, a move-in plan, and a statement of work for commercial moving services. References and figures
Date Published: January 1, 1998