Bulb Laboratories – A New Microsite

Bulb Laboratories A New Microsite

Bulb Interiors are delighted to introduce a new microsite dedicated to our laboratory services offering.

Please check out Bulb Laboratories

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Laboratory fit-out and refurbishment requirements could be complex. Our clients may have specific health and safety considerations, require safe, secure storage for chemicals, bio hazardous materials or need clean room environment.

Through Bulb Laboratories microsite, we endeavour to anticipate your needs and assist with your queries.

Whether you need a small-scale research laboratory or complex R&D facility, the Bulb team can help you choose the right property, create a practical design solution, achieve value for money and manage the delivery of a quality project, right first time.

How to optimise workflow when designing your laboratory

How to optimise workflow when designing your laboratory

Year of Collaboration-Guest Blog 3

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When planning the layout of your laboratory, a focus on optimising methods and processes promotes more efficient workflow; gaining considerable time and ensuring financial savings.

Method miniaturisation is the squeezing of as many instrumental and analytical parameters as possible to optimise efficiency. Variables that can be examined include extraction solvent, extraction technique, injection onto the column, separation on column, quantification via the detector and finally the cycle time of one analytical run. As we strive to make the method more robust we should improve quality, obtain an equivalent if not better Limit of Detection (LOD) and deliver the result more quickly and hence more cheaply.

How do process improvements then arise?

Space is often at a premium in older laboratories. In Water Labs, after analysis methods are miniaturised, such small volumes of solvent and such small vessels are used that the space required in a fume cupboard becomes negligible. The extra space can be taken by a modern efficient soil extraction system that replaced a bulky and cumbersome original. No queuing means no time loss. The more efficient use of work space can also promote health and safety and might negate the need for a shift system, a shift premium, unsociable working hours and any extra energy costs involved.

How do lab re-arrangements then arise?

Allying space savings and method miniaturisations has led laboratories to regard their operations as manufacturing enterprises. The ideal in any modern lab is to have a “push” ethos. If as many methods as possible have been miniaturised it is perfectly feasible to gear the “front end” of a laboratory into a sample-splitting area. Here, each sample aliquot (whether it be a soil or water sample within an Environmental Lab) will be weighed into a vial that is then used for the extraction, this will save several people constantly going back to the original container, on a shelf or in a fridge, to sub-sample. These aliquots are then pushed down to the extraction department who in turn send the extracts, when completed, on to the instrumental analysts who then provide the results to the reporting teams for final delivery to the customer. If everyone can see the work coming, they are more likely to be focussed on delivery. Old style compartmentalised labs do not promote flow through the system, in fact they are more likely to ensure samples (and analysts!) go missing.

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Diagram: Floor schematic of push lab v compartmentalised

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Venting the heat via enclosed ducting and an external fan from a laboratory with ten dual GC-FIDs and ten GCMS systems and south-facing windows!

This can save hours and hours and is also better for the LC systems across the other side of the laboratory which are very temperature sensitive should they not have column ovens. Each island of benches has a half metre gap between them, so all the fans can breathe and so engineers can have easy access.

Conversely instruments are not best served against a wall or window:

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Some sample preparation can be a large time outlay, if you are drying solid samples instead of having multiple temperature-controlled ovens, build a drying room, make it thermostatically controlled and use fans to speed up the drying process in a controlled fashion.

For critical instrumentation an electrical ring main with generator back-up is ideal and larger labs are best served by having their own electricity substation.

The gas supply also needs some thought. There are multiple third-party companies that will, for a few thousand pounds, future-proof a lab for five years growth in analytical instrumentation with efficient dual head mantles, etc. Although labs are rapidly moving away from cryogenic cooling, some may be stuck with an old analytical system, in which case a very short flow path is required to preserve the low temperature, that means unfortunately cylinders in the lab or preferably a lab situated against a perimeter wall with the cylinders chained to the exterior of the wall. Peltier cooling (no cryogen) is the way to go! In our experience, a health check of the gas supply is rarely carried out in laboratories past the installation date and the lab may be haemorrhaging helium gas and hence much money. This being a finite resource, we should all be diligent.

Anthias Consulting offers a 1-day Gas Supply & Plumbing Health Check. This practical course provides an onsite gas health check along with training on how to carry out leak checks, maintenance and ‘gas saver’ techniques, providing long-term cost savings.

Paragraphs 3 and 4 taken from ‘Miniaturisation in GC Laboratories – the Holistic Picture’ by Anthias consultant Richard Stokes, first published in Chromatography Today Mar 2016.

About Anthias Consulting:

Anthias Consulting provides training and consultancy in all aspects of Gas Chromatography (& GC-MS), Liquid Chromatography (& LC-MS), Spectroscopy and all related techniques. Anthias offers a range of services that lead the way to more productive methods and improved quality of results in the laboratory. Anthias’ consultants have worked in or developed methods for every industry that uses gas chromatography, liquid chromatography or a spectroscopy technique and can help you, whatever your application. Their consultants are practicing analytical chemists with current skills; when they are not teaching or consulting, they are in the lab installing, maintaining and troubleshooting the instruments, developing methods and analysing samples for partners.


1 Hamden Way, Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire CB23 3UG, UK

Tel: +44 (0)1480 831262


Do you have Capabilities to Fit-out a Complex Biotechnology Research Facility?

Year of Collaboration – Guest Blog 2

Do you have capabilities to fit out a complex biotechnology research facility?

Yes, we do and have just completed a multi-phase project in Oxford.

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Bulb Interiors were originally engaged to create three separate laboratories within a warehouse including a mezzanine floor and sub division works. Having successfully completed and occupied three laboratories, the client commissioned a fourth laboratory to accommodate prototype R&D equipment aimed at achieving larger scale production.

In each of the laboratories, a key aspect of the project was the need for controlled environmental conditions and containment. It involved temperature regulation, humidity control and ventilation. For this Bulb recommended our commercial partner, Green Gate Mechanical Services Ltd.

Client Brief:

Fells Wine

The client required an R&D facility with bio containment applied to ventilation, air conditioning and public health services.  Precise environmental conditions were needed involving high ambient temperatures and high ventilation rates.

Whilst the warehouse had areas of restricted head room, the maximising of headroom was vital to provide flexibility. This was important for the future installation of prototype production units, still at the early design stage.

The wet laboratory was intended to house high volumes of water requiring structural support at first floor level. Whilst maintaining the integrity of ground floor existing laboratories beneath. The wet laboratory incorporated multiple sinks, wash hand basins, water and waste supplies serviced by multiple gullies and troughs.

Additional services included leak detection, compressed air and odour control.

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Key Challenges:

The works were to be undertaken whilst the three other laboratories were in operation, so flexibility of approach was needed to maintain CL2 compliance throughout.

The client was operating to a tight deadline, but had a limited budget given the early development stage of the factory process.

The building is sited on a popular business park with neighbours in occupation on both sides. There was a need to maintain uninterrupted M&E services to the existing operational facilities via programmed minimal shutdowns of power, IT servers and other services.

For bio-containment there was a need to achieve the correct balance between not oversizing due to space constraints but accommodating in the design restricted outlets and inlets.

The installation required high ventilation change over rates at high ambient temperature, also a two-zone temperature control system.

The works were to be undertaken whilst the three other laboratories were in operation, so flexibility of approach was needed to maintain CL2 compliance throughout.

The client was operating to a tight deadline, but had a limited budget given the early development stage of the factory process.

The building is sited on a popular business park with neighbours in occupation on both sides. There was a need to maintain uninterrupted M&E services to the existing operational facilities via programmed minimal shutdowns of power, IT servers and other services.

For bio-containment there was a need to achieve the correct balance between not oversizing due to space constraints but accommodating in the design restricted outlets and inlets.

The installation required high ventilation change over rates at high ambient temperature, also a two-zone temperature control system.

The design also needed to accommodate the high potential water usage at first floor level with the installation of a complex waste network below the raised floor.

Our Solutions:

Utilising the strong working relationship with the specialist contractor Green Gate, the team was able to adapt and react swiftly to changes in the Employers Requirements as they arose.

Such expertise provided a robust engineering solution at speed throughout both the design and implementation stages.

Green Gate engineered a two-zone heat recovery VRF system to achieve high ambient heating and cooling requirements. Together with a Trend Control System to manage all ventilation within close parameters. A carefully co-ordinated ventilation system allowed maximum headroom for future installations of R&D equipment whilst maintaining high changeover rates.

This ventilation system included ultra violet scrubbers and vertical high velocity discharge to eliminate external odours.

Bio-containment was achieved via use of specialist diffusers and mesh to all wet floor areas including drainage and sinks.

Other equipment included an air compressor with integrated dryer, filter and regulator to pneumatic machinery.

To facilitate goods/material access, multi storey platforms & external loading platforms were constructed adjacent to goods loading doors.

Throughout the process, Bulb ensured the client’s project team was always aware of any changes. We proposed methods of work so that observations and compliance can by achieved by all parties. Maintaining core communication with all stakeholders, neighbours and clients staff was key.

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A successfully designed and installed facility of good quality, completed on time within budget with minimal inconvenience and to the total satisfaction of client expectations.

About Green Gate:

Green Gate Mechanical Services Ltd offers a personal and high-quality building services to recognised customers and partners. They employ in-house installation engineers complemented by specialised sub-contractors in associated fields. All projects are managed by the experienced team, that pride on delivering a high-quality installation regardless of the project size. Green Gate maintains an extensive health and safety system with continuous commitment to the environment, natural resources conservation and process improvement.


Woolhampton Design Centre, Station Road, Woolhampton Reading, Berkshire, RG7 5SE
Tel: 01189 712762

‘Creative Environments are born out of conscientious design’

Collaborative design led projects

LGI have collaborated with Bulb Interiors on a range of projects delivering inspired, bespoke design solutions to cater for specific business requirements across all commercial sectors. Together Bulb and LGI have worked on a varied project list which include Pharmaceutical, Technology, Software, and Utility companies. This has recently culminated in securing a prestigious design led project for Fells fine wine distributors.

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Fells Wine

LGI was proud to work with Fells on the renovation of their new office at Faraday House in Hertfordshire. Fells have distributed fine wines since 1858. As a sole UK distributor for many leading worldwide makers and brands, Fells has enjoyed significant growth in the recent years. The LGI Design team and Bulb Interiors successfully pitched to redesign their new building to accommodate their growing requirements. Fells Wines’ previous premises, located in Berkhamsted, was dated and a rather oppressive cellular environment with poor quality accommodation. It lacked meeting areas and breakout spaces, with a disjointed layout that separated teams across the floors making efficient working difficult. Due to continued expansion and to showcase their growing new offering of ‘gifting’, Fells acquired Faraday House in Kings Langley. The new premises provided opportunity to introduce a true cultural change to the business which they were ready to embrace. Consultation with Fells resulted in a clear list of requirements for the new space. Based on that the LGI design scheme was broken down into key areas:

The Reception:

Create a first impression that represents the core values and history associated with the Fells brand. The use of contemporary furniture and layout combined with the use of traditional materials.

The Boardroom:

Illuminated display of historical artefacts combined with the use of wall-mounted bottles clearly spoke of the heritage of the company, and its evolution.

The Chilled Wine Store & The Tasting Room:

It was important to strongly demonstrate the quality and range of products offered by the company. A viewing window from the tasting room connected the two areas visually, making clients and visitors feel linked to the products distributed by Fells. Being an area for client use, a premium, contemporary feel was of utmost importance.

The Gifting Area:

The growth of this new business stream was one of the key factors in needing more space. It needed to provide an impressive setting for buyers from top high street retailers. High quality bespoke joinery, specialist materials and focussed display lighting created a versatile, high-end retail environment and meeting space. Full height, adjustable cabinetry with recessed blinds where installed to the rooms perimeter along with a reconfigurable central display island with feature lighting. These considered elements combined to create an impressive and versatile promotional space to display ‘gifting’ goods at a premium level.

The Breakout Area:

The breakout area needed to be a bright and inviting focal point. It also needed to support agile working and encourage an enhanced sense of community between departments. Whilst the space acts as a functional dining area the opportunity to enhance the functionality with a sense of community and style was one not to be missed. The inclusion of contemporary bench tables with powder coated steel frames, stools and feature lighting above helped to add personality to the space. Integrated power and data offers flexibility to facilitate ‘agile’ working. Stylish modular soft seating, an upholstered recessed booth and brightly coloured dining table and chairs allowed for a variety of postures and arrangements. The inclusion of table football added a further element of fun and interaction for staff to help encourage a cohesive ‘family feel’ to the company. The LGI Designs team is proud to have been part of the transformation and creation of, a wonderful office space that is uniquely ‘Fells.

About LGI Designs:

LGI Designs are an independent design consultancy providing design services to commercial clients delivering unique design solutions. Direct consultation and collaboration forms the basis of the design process enabling LGI to produce unique designs. The shaping of offices and spaces help to develop & reflect specific aspirations and culture. The implementation of focussed design led solutions enable LGI to help clients develop their business and measure the impact of design on an office space. Elements such as productivity, well-being and a sense of community can be enhanced by good design. https://www.linkedin.com/company/lgi-designs/ https://twitter.com/LGIDesigns

‘2018 – A Year of Collaboration’

We appreciate the valuable contribution by our partners in Bulb delivering modern workplaces & delighting clients. We dedicate 2018 to COLLABORATION & would share helpful content from our partners throughout the year.

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Our partners would bring you valuable and inspiring guidance and; showcase their expertise through latest trends, project approach, case studies etc. These will be delivered as guest blogs on our website and social media.

New Project at Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire

We are delighted to have won a new office fit-out project for APAM at the Arlington Business Park, Theale. Bulb Interiors have previously worked with APAM on the delivery of many successful fit-out projects at the park.

Arlington Business Park has recently undergone a complete transformation with many amenities added including the on-site Café and the Gym (fitted out by Bulb) and the bespoke designed Floating Pavilion, providing meeting space for tenants.

Our client is a global software company that has outgrown their existing premises (fitted out by Bulb) and who are moving into a larger space at the park.

The Bulb team is already on site and the project is on programme to finish before Christmas.

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