Essential Vivarium Design

Have you been planning to build a private vivarium? Your new vivarium should be built with both efficiency and growth opportunities in mind. 

Vivarium design companies understand the structural efficiencies and design needs required for long-term operation. These environments can be designed according to the specifications of clients. Designers incorporate various elements, such as environmental, mechanical, architectural, plumbing, and electrical elements. 

Get familiar with the essential vivarium design elements.

Space elements

There are multiple spaces in animal research facilities designed to provide the ideal care and maintenance for experimental animals. For instance, animal housing rooms (AHRs) consist of caging, sinks, and bedding change stations. Go here for an overview of animal research. AHRs are either organized as individual rooms or multiple rooms. The former can be accessed via a corridor system, whereas the latter is usually organized into self-contained suits. 

In contrast, procedure rooms are in close proximity to AHRs. These are the main setting for conducting research activities inside the unit. There are barrier elements as well, including lockers, airlocks, etc. Their role is to serve as a barrier between the controlled animal care environment and external influences. 

Another important space within such facilities is the cagewash, which is the hub where sanitizing and cleaning activities are performed. The most important equipment items included in a cagewash are tunnel washers, rack washers, dump stations, bedding dispensers, bottle washing stations, etc. Cage storage is another essential area that requires plenty of space. The same is true for the storage space necessary for storing bedding and equipment. 

Quarantine is another aspect of vivarium design where suspect animals are isolated due to potential infection risk. Conversely, containment facilities are designed for working with biological agents that are potentially infectious. The operation of these facilities is under negative pressure in order for air to be prevented from escaping to the general environment. Visit this website,, to learn more about negative pressure rooms.

Barrier facilities, on the other hand, are used for working with species that are immune-compromised. Positive pressure is used to keep the contaminants out. Monitoring systems are utilized to maintain optimal pressure. There is a special space designated for veterinary care, more specifically for performing care and lab functions. 

Mechanical and electrical equipment rooms are also present. There are different staff support areas, including cafeterias, lockers, workstations, and break areas, designed to support the research personnel during their tours. Corridors must be wide enough to accommodate animal carts, racks, and the flow of materials. They should have an impervious finish so as to be easy to maintain and clean. 

Architectural elements

Architectural vivarium design elements are essential in animal research facilities to increase their functionality. The floor-to-ceiling height should be between eight and nine feet, while the height above the ceiling should be about five feet. The overall height of the facility should be about 15-16 feet. 

Interior walls should be stable and strong enough to withstand wash-down and abuse. Masonry units made of concrete are recommended because of their stability and strength. The width of doors should be a minimum of 42 inches, whereas their height should be at least 84 inches. They must be tall enough to enable free rack movement. The opening size should be based on the rack and cage system in use. 

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements

System design is of great importance in vivarium environments, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements. When planning to build a vivarium, a Vivarium design company will provide the structural efficiency for long-term operation. HVAC is unquestionably the dominant system, as it’s in charge of environmental control by regulating airflow, humidity, contaminants, and temperature. Airflow rate is determined by the quality of air, caging density, and caging types. 

Plumbing systems are independent and discrete. The most crucial element is animal watering, while the primary water users are rack and cage washers. Watering system providers keep databases on the watering needs of different species. 

In contrast, electrical systems should provide reliable power and backup for critical equipment and systems. Such backup is provided through standby generators, weather-protected outlets for wet locations, and computer use in procedure rooms. Other critical elements are lighting, water usage monitoring, exit signs, and fire alarms.

Emerging issues

Changes are gradually introduced in vivarium design over time to address the emerging issues. The psychological well-being of animals is promoted by providing opportunities for group interaction, nesting, and exercise. Labor-saving technologies, like robotics, are used in cagewash facilities. During the design process, there is an increased reliance on veterinary staff knowledge. A zoning approach is introduced to make layout alterations to provide access to daylight in support spaces.

The bottom line

Your private vivarium should be secure, efficient, and compliant with all state regulations.

Trust the right vivarium design company with the task!

By Caitlyn

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