BSL-3 Laboratory Design Standards

Several years ago, President Napolitano formed the UC High-Containment Laboratory Oversight Committee (HCLOC) comprised of faculty and biosafety professionals with expertise in the safe use of infectious agents in biological and biomedical research. Infectious disease research involving highly pathogenic and primarily aerosol transmissible agents (i.e., Risk Group 3 agents) has the potential to present significant risk to individuals, the community, and the environment. The ability to safely conduct these research activities is largely dependent upon the highly engineered Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory, the highest-level containment facilities currently operated by the UC. The primary objective of these laboratories is to provide the best possible physical containment of Risk Group 3 agents. Hence, the design and engineering of these laboratories must be maintained at the highest attainable standards.

Although several authorities have published standards for the design of BSL-3 laboratories, no single agency has sole oversight or responsibility for this important research safety consideration; therefore, the development of the UC Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory Design Standards has incorporated input from several of these sources, including the following:

* CDC Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), 5th Edition, 2009
* NIH Design Requirements Manual for Biomedical Laboratories and Animal Research Facilities (DRM), 2019

* NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines), 2016

* National Institutes of Health Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory Certification Requirements, 2006

The information presented in the BSL-3 Laboratory Design Standards addresses facility design and engineering systems for BSL-3 containment laboratories and incorporates additional design elements to assist campuses in conducting facility risk assessments. The HCLOC has assembled and approved these design standards to serve as the foundation of BSL-3 laboratory design and construction and to support the application of consistent standards within UC. The UC BSL-3 Laboratory Design Standards provide the mandatory minimum design criteria for Biosafety Level 3 laboratories in the UC system.