Everything You’ve Ever Wondered About Laboratories

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What is a laboratory?

We’ve all seen laboratories (or “labs”) in films and TV – lots of vials, test tubes, and machines humming away on the counter. But what exactly is a laboratory?

The precise definition is any room or building with scientific equipment used to conduct scientific tests or teach science.

That’s pretty broad. Though, it does establish the primary purpose of a laboratory: to do science. However, science is a vast field, and the laboratory equipment present in a lab may differ depending on the exact scientific field for which the lab is designed.

While laboratories have existed since ancient Greece, the modern form originated from alchemists and pharmacists. Before gradually morphing into the modern laboratories, we see today – glassware and Bunsen burners included.

What are the types of laboratories?

Laboratories come in all shapes and sizes. There are, however, a few broad categories of laboratories: chemistry laboratories, life science laboratories, and computer laboratories.

Chemistry laboratories

typically conduct chemistry research involving chemical compounds, glassware, Bunsen burners, and more. When we picture a laboratory, this is likely what we envisage. However, modern chemistry labs have much bigger equipment, for instance, a mass spectrometer.

Life science laboratories

cover a vast array of disciplines, from molecular biology to ecology. Here, the primary difference is the use of biological material. This necessitates specialised laboratory equipment like biological safety cabinets, refrigerators, bioreactors, and more.

Computer laboratories

are a relatively recent addition. The laboratory may look like a regular room with many monitors – but, in fact, it is connected to powerful servers. Here, computer scientists can run complex computer models and calculations using the server.

The above list is not exhaustive, and there are many other ways to categorise laboratories. These include by owner (company, government, independent, and university) or within a category. For instance, company labs fall into three categories: research laboratories, development laboratories, and test laboratories.

If you’re in need of a new laboratory in South Africa with excellent facilities, contact us. Don’t waste your time searching for “laboratories near me” on Google. We’ll always try to accommodate the type of laboratory you need. We can acquire expensive laboratory equipment through our partnerships with industry leaders.

What work can laboratories do?

Laboratories can be adapted for almost any scientific research and development. In a sense, the laboratory is merely the space; whereas, it is the equipment that determines what is possible.

Here are some examples of common laboratory work:

Diagnose diseases:

After you’ve had a blood test or other medical test, the sample is sent off to a medical lab. There, they’ll use the equipment to test the composition of the blood. Or they’ll try to culture your bodily fluids to determine which bacteria or fungi are causing the problem.

Computer model a chemical reaction:

In a computer lab, you can use powerful servers to model complex mathematical and chemical problems. For instance, many computer labs use excess computational power to model chemical compounds and their reactions.

Investigate deadly viruses:

In the world’s most secure labs, government scientists investigate potentially deadly viruses to explore their biology and how to fight against them. The vaccine for COVID-19 was developed in a laboratory.

These are just a few notable examples. Here at LabSPACE Africa,

we’re devoted to tailoring our laboratory space to your needs. Whatever laboratory equipment is needed, we’ll help you organise. And we’ve always got plenty of space into which you can expand.

How can I work in a laboratory?

Have you always dreamed about a laboratory job? Want to work at the cutting edge of science?

If so, to get a laboratory job, you’ll need to pursue an education and career in science. One of the most common laboratory jobs is a laboratory technician (or “lab tech,” for short). They manage the labs and help organise and set up the laboratory equipment. However, there are many other laboratory jobs available, including researchers, analysts, assistants, and more. Not all need an extensive educational background. For entry-level positions, having a bachelor’s degree in science or six years experience.

What is essential for a well-functioning laboratory?

Here at LabSPACE, we believe six key things guarantee a well-functioning lab: SPACE, EQUIPMENT, CONSUMABLES, EXPERTISE, ANALYSIS, and TRAINING.


Without a well-lit, well-maintained lab space – with room for growth – there is no laboratory. If you’re searching for a “laboratory near me,” we’ve got laboratory space that allows more than 200% future growth. So, as your research expands, we accommodate.


No equipment, no experiment, no research. It’s that simple. That’s why we work to ensure you’re stocked with the precise laboratory equipment needed for your research.


The ingredients to your recipe – consumables keep the research running. We’re always ready to provide you with the necessary consumables within hours.


Need to know the correct equipment or relevant regulation? We’ve got the expertise on hand to answer any of your questions. LabSPACE Africa has a network of advisory scientists and supplies available upon request.


Once you’ve got your sample, you need to analyse it. With extensive equipment from HPLCs to FTIR spectrometers, we’ve got you covered. Whatever analytical apparatus is required, we’ll always work to accommodate your needs.


Industry experts and other parties registered with regulatory bodies provide regular training sessions of technologies and regulatory guidelines. So, you’re always kept up to date.

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