Furniture is one of the most important things to consider when designing and setting up a science laboratory. The furniture should provide enough working space and also a safe place to carry out your research. While the laboratory space may influence the type of lab furniture, the question is which furniture is ideal for science labs – moveable or fitted furniture or both?
The fact is, each furniture design has its pros and cons, and deciding on the best option requires some critical considerations. Things like budget, available space, and teacher’s preference can influence whether to put moveable or fitted furniture or both. Since no one size fits all, the selected laboratory furniture option should ensure that practical science is facilitated in the safest manner possible.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each furniture design
Pros of Moveable Furniture
Having movable furniture in a science lab creates flexibility. Depending on the tasks done, the furniture can be moved to a particular position where every student can access it and be stored if it is not used. However, some people will not see the idea of moving tables around a lab as flexible, and they will opt for the fitted furniture.
Offers Pupil-centered Learning
The loose science lab furniture in the UK is designed to suit safe student-centered learning, unlike the traditional fixed furniture that is more teacher-centered. With the flexible design furniture, collaborative group work is easy as the students can be divided into smaller manageable groups where they will enjoy ample works space per student. Movement space is also created where teachers and students can freely and safely access all parts of the room.
Having ample working space for each student reduces the safety risks common when students are working in a limited space.
Cons of Loose Furniture
The process of moving furniture is noisy and disruptive
Most teachers will not love the idea of having moveable furniture as the process is loud and disruptive. The movement can also easily damage the floor.
Minimal Room Size
If the laboratory space and shape is limited, moving tables may not work because the reconfiguration options are minimal.
The loose lab furniture can move accidentally
One of the greatest disadvantages of having movable tables in a science lab is that they can accidentally move, posing safety risks associated with naked flames, boiling liquids, or harmful chemicals being used on the worktops. If you opt for this design, ensure they have a locking mechanism to prevent accidental movement during practical lessons.
Pros of Fitted Lab Furniture
Having fitted lab furniture has a lower cost than having loose movable furniture. If the school is on a tight budget, they will definitely go for the fitted furniture.
No accidental Movements
With fixed lab furniture, you don’t have to worry about any accidental movement of the tables that cause risks.
Cons of Fitted Lab Furniture
Offers teacher-centered Learning
Fixed lab furniture does not offer the functionality of effective collaborative, practical group work because they do not offer ample working space for students, and the teacher is restricted to access all students.
Creates Safety Risks
Having fitted furniture confines practical work to a small perimeter which creates safety risks because the space is limited, increasing lab accidents when students are doing their practicals.
Since classrooms are usually not big enough to accommodate the ideal and most preferred lab furniture, a supplier should advise the school accordingly if moveable or fitted furniture and which one is better than the other. They should consider all things, including the pros and cons of each option. If you are looking for laboratory furniture in the UK, we are experts in laboratory design and installation. We can give you expert advice on science lab furniture in the UK designs considerations. Contact us here for more information.