GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a large pharmaceutical company, developed FlexiLab to help respond to the changing nature of research methods and the expensive reorganization of its laboratories which were limited by fixed configurations. The concept combines open floor plans with movable equipment and modular services to create an adjustable and versatile space. It allows the scientists the capacity to move their working units (fume cupboards, LEV containment units, benching, etc.) on wheels based on their immediate needs throughout the space as all services are fed from above through a standard ceiling grid with colour coded connections for the different services via flexible cords with quick ‘plug and play’ service connections.
The solution relates to the stuff, space plan and service layers of the building including relocatable glass walls that help with contamination and security and promote communication amongst the users. Components can be refitted easily and it takes about a day and a half to fit out an entire space which can be done by the users themselves. The system has been adapted to be used by researchers in a variety of disciplines and has reduced costs for GSK dramatically from £1.8 to 3k per m2 and increased occupancy capacity from 12-14 to 22 or more per a lab.