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Fabrication Labs Policies and Procedures

Overview

The CBE Fabrication Labs provide all departments of the College of Built Environments with substantial facilities for courses and activities related to Design, Materials Research, Structural Behavior, and the role that Manufacturing, Craft, and Digital Fabrication Technologies have to play in determining our built culture. These inquiries are supported through superb hands-on lab facilities that offer an impressive collection of tools and technologies for working with wood, metal, plastics, plaster, concrete, and more. Our general wood and metal lab facilities are housed on the first floor of Gould Hall. Digital Fabrication tools are dispersed throughout the College. Relationships with fabrication labs in other parts of the University offer additional resources.

The College supports pursuits leading to an in-depth knowledge of the realities of construction methods, material qualities and building technologies, that are critical to understanding how our building traditions have evolved and, more importantly, to understanding how we can carry on the finest craft traditions as well as continue to innovate while using resources wisely to create the best possible environments. To that end, the College takes pride in its tradition of excellence in lab-based teaching. Of particular note are furniture design studios that allow students to immerse themselves in fine craft traditions; materials courses and research opportunities that provide direct experience of the built consequences of design and fabrication strategies, and courses engaging digital fabrication technologies. Design/build studios and individual initiatives are also supported. These programs have contributed significantly to the reputation of the departments within the College and to the College itself.

The Lab Director directly manages the fabrication labs. The Director’s responsibilities include day-to-day lab operations such as approving and scheduling staff, establishing lab hours and insuring a safe learning environment. The Director is also responsible for enforcing the policies and procedures adopted by the College. Anyone desiring the use of lab facilities, including space, tools or instruction should contact the Lab directly at 206•543•6581.

A Faculty Lab Advisor fosters the pedagogical aims of the fabrication labs in conjunction with the CBE Lab Committee. Faculty and students with questions regarding support for specific teaching goals or concerns with potential conflicts with other uses should contact the Faculty Lab Advisor.

A College Fabrication Lab Committee, composed of faculty representatives from each department as well as selected staff oversees the development of rules and regulations governing the fabrication labs, and provides guidance for the development of lab facilities.

The College requires that the following policies and procedures be followed without exception.

Policies and Procedures

The policies and procedures that follow were developed to facilitate the continued academic mission of the fabrication labs and work yard in light of increasing safety requirements, demands on the facilities, and budgetary constraints.

There are two policies within the overall framework:

  1. A  Policies and Procedures for Lab Use, guiding the actual use of the lab facilities (for student, faculty and staff users), including rules, a lab safety sheet and sign-in procedures, and;
  2. B  Policies and Procedures for oversight and management of the fabrication labs (for faculty, lab staff and advisors)

A – Policies and Procedures for Lab Use

  1. Safety is of foremost concern. All users of the labs must go through a general lab introduction, including a safety session, and must sign an affidavit declaring that they have read and understood the Safety Procedures Sheet. This affidavit will be kept on file in the lab office. The General Lab Introduction does NOT qualify all users to use all tools, but does allow general access to the fabrication labs during open lab hours. Advice in the case of an accident should be sought from professional health providers. Lab staff are not trained medical workers but will be able to provide access to first-aid items for minor injuries and cuts.
  2. All student, faculty, and staff use of the fabrication labs is subject to the requirements of safe and proper use and care of the tools, equipment and facilities, as determined by the lab staff. Since the lab staff is both qualified in and responsible for these matters, their decisions are final.
  3. The Lab Director reserves the right to restrict the use of the lab, specific tools, or materials and operations when there is a perception of risk or immediate danger to individuals, tools or property. Not all lab staff are experienced or qualified in all aspects of lab practice, so in addition to the aforementioned right they may also, at any time, shut off individual tools or ask individuals to cease work if they judge there is any immediate danger of harm to individuals, tools or property, or if they don’t feel qualified to properly judge the safety of specific operations. Lab users must follow the directives of Lab staff immediately, and provide assistance when asked. Delay, resistance or unpleasantness to the staff may lead to the immediate suspension of lab privileges.
  4. The regularly designated lab staff is responsible for instruction in the appropriate use of tools, equipment, and facilities of the fabrication labs, for observation of their safe operation, and their maintenance in good working order. In some cases, where more than one safe method of use of stationary power tools is possible, it is important for users to learn CBE preferred methods, and to use them consistently (this allows staff to visually check tool-use methods for safety while working with multiple users, and it eliminates one source of confusion for other less-experienced users).
  5. All users (including experienced users new to the fabrication labs) desiring the use of specific stationary power tools must receive appropriate training from our staff, provided through studios and classes, regularly-scheduled sessions open to all (sign-up sheets are posted in advance) and – when time permits – on an individual basis.
  6. Materials, operations and tools that are dangerous to the user or others may not be allowed in the fabrication labs, including sidewinder circular saws, nail guns, spray painting, polyester resins and other materials that produce noxious fumes or dust. This list is subject to change and addition at any time. Users should ask lab staff for advice before using novel materials in the lab (including using unusual materials in the laser cutters).
  7. The fabrication labs are for use in pursuing academic or personal work by all currently enrolled students, faculty and staff of the College. (Note: this may include non-majors of the college degree programs who are enrolled in courses offered by any of the College departments.) Use of the fabrication labs is a privilege; training must be received and policies and rules must be followed to qualify for, and retain, the privilege to use the fabrication labs. Professional work may be arranged through BE-FAB (see attached agreement) where such work does not interfere with academic work and objectives.
  8. All users of and visitors to the lab are required to sign in (and out) as they enter (or leave) the fabrication labs, noting if they have signed an affidavit regarding the Safety Procedures Sheet, and describing any tool adjustments needed, damaged or worn equipment, suggestions for changes, etc.
  9. The Lab Director has primary responsibility for coordinating lab staff and insuring appropriate staffing levels based on lab usage. The fabrication labs will be available for use only when regularly designated and certified lab staff is present. A minimum of two designated staff members must be present when stationary power tools are operating. If the Lab Director deems that additional staff will be required to provide adequate coverage for students engaged in projects for specifically assigned coursework, the cost of that staff should be provided for, in advance, by the course instructor’s department.
  10. Scheduled lab hours will be determined each quarter in accordance with the established priorities for that quarter and the available budget for staffing. Hours will be posted during the first week of the quarter, and will be updated weekly (and may be subject to change without prior notice).
  11. In the case of a class assignment in the fabrication labs of any duration, it is the responsibility of the teaching faculty member(s) to: 1) ensure lab availability well in advance of the project being assigned (at least one-quarter in advance for substantial lab assignments); 2) ensure that the required materials, hardware and other facilities are present before their students arrive; 3) ensure that the lab staff has a copy of the assignment in advance and, 4) be present in the lab with their students when teaching is expected to take place. The lab staff will be available to assist the faculty and advise students, but should not be expected to substitute for the faculty.
  12. The fabrication labs and the work yard area must be left clean and orderly after every use, including between work sessions.
  13. Storage space in the fabrication labs is limited, with priority given to courses actively taught in the fabrication labs or lab classroom. Users may confer with the Lab Director but should assume that all materials and projects must be removed when they are not actively being worked on. Users must accept full responsibility for any and all materials or work left in the fabrication labs. The CBE and lab staff cannot be responsible for missing work and materials or damage to projects.
  14. As a courtesy to all lab users, useful, unused extra materials or hardware (screws, nails, fasteners, etc.) at the end of a project are to be contributed to the supply stock available in the fabrication labs. Completed projects, scrap materials, jigs and setups, and prototypes should be removed from the lab immediately upon completion of a project, or completion of the course for which the project was being pursued if the project is incomplete.

Lab User Priority

Because space and staff support is limited, fabrication labs and yard use and access are prioritized in support of academic programs as follows:

  1. Lecture, laboratory and/or studio classes, arranged and approved one quarter in advance, for a full quarter in the lab (assumes a departmental contribution to lab staffing).
  2. Lecture, laboratory and/or studio class assignments for a period of less than a full quarter, arranged and approved one quarter in advance (assumes a departmental contribution to lab staffing).
  3. Lecture, laboratory and/or studio class assignments for a period of less than a full quarter, arranged and approved on a first-come, first-served basis (scheduled only if and when sufficient staffing and lab hours are available).
  4. During open lab hours, individual or group student projects that are work related to class assignments.
  5. Faculty or staff ad hoc work connected with lecture, laboratory or studio preparation.
  6. Research projects sponsored by the College and/or its departments or programs, as scheduled in advance.
  7. Thesis work arranged on a first come, first served basis and scheduled in advance (ideally arranged at the time of proposal).
  8. Special short-term use for projects related to community organizations, as part of the College’s community service function.
  9. Special projects within the College for improvements, scheduled in advance, on a time and space available basis, with all funding provided by the CBE including hourly staff time at standard hourly rates. (The lab budget does not include funding to support such activities.).
  10. Student, faculty and/or staff personal (and non-commercial) work, not directly related to class assignments or preparation, during scheduled open hours.

Within the limits of space and staffing, every effort will be made to make the fabrication labs available to all College users. The lab staff is responsible for assignments in cases of conflicts of uses with equal prioritization when both users cannot be accommodated. The assigning of work that requires the use of the lab by large numbers of students (i.e. large lecture classes) may be discouraged due to the limitations of facilities and staff. Please respect that the fabrication labs are not currently budgeted and staffed to provide full-time access.

B – Policies and Procedures for Lab Oversight and Management

The Lab Director (currently Penny Maulden, pmaulden@uw.edu) directly manages the fabrication labs. The Director’s responsibilities include day-to-day lab operations such as approving and scheduling staff, establishing lab hours and insuring a safe learning environment. The Director is also responsible for enforcing the policies and procedures adopted by the College. Anyone desiring the use of lab facilities, including space, tools or instruction should contact the Lab Directly at 206 543 6581.

A Faculty Lab Advisor (currently Kimo Griggs, Associate Professor & Associate Dean, kimog@uw.edu) fosters the pedagogical aims of the fabrication labs in conjunction with the CBE Lab Committee. Faculty and students with questions regarding support for specific teaching goals or concerns with potential conflicts with other uses should contact the Faculty Lab Advisor.

A Lab Committee composed of faculty representatives and selected staff oversees the development of rules and regulations governing the fabrication labs, and provides guidance for the development of our facilities.

The fabrication labs serve all departments and programs in the College; the interests of all faculty and programs should be addressed first through consultation with the Lab Director. Conflicts may be resolved through consultation with the Faculty Advisor and, if necessary, the Lab Committee. Because space and staff support are limited and concern for safety is foremost, arrangements for substantial use of the fabrication labs and/or the yard must be made with the Lab Director (see CBE Fabrication labs Faculty Instruction Sheet)

Departments that have coursework or other initiatives requiring extensive use of the lab facilities or yard are expected to consult at least one quarter in advance with the Lab Director and as soon as possible after the conception of a design/build project. While every reasonable effort will be made to support all proposed activities, failure to consult with the Lab Director in a timely fashion may result in not being able to use the lab or specific facilities when they are desired. Uses that have historically used the Fabrication Labs for specific activities during specific quarters of instruction may take priority over new initiatives.

Interested faculty must schedule activities, arrange for necessary training, provide lists of necessary supplies well in advance, and should arrange to contribute to the fabrication labs by providing or funding approved staff. The fabrication labs will be available for use only when regularly designated and certified lab staff is present. A minimum of two designated staff members must be present when stationary power tools are operating. If the Lab Director deems that additional staff will be required to provide adequate coverage for students engaged in specific projects, assigned for specific coursework, the cost of that staff should be provided for, in advance, by the course instructor’s department.

The Lab Director is solely responsible for designating and supervising lab staff. Potential lab staff must have previous lab experience through another school, class or job; one or more quarters of working in our fabrication labs under the supervision of the Lab Director and/or other experienced lab staff; and current first aid/CPR training. There will be no exceptions to this rule for or by anyone, under any circumstances at any time. Faculty requiring students to use the fabrication labs are not to designate lab staff without consultation and confirmation from the Lab Director well in advance of lab use. It is helpful to the running of The Labs for students interested in becoming members of the lab staff to be identified by faculty and encouraged to speak with the Lab Director.