We love cars. From a beat up 1980s coupe to the dependable family mini-van, or the newest gas-electric hybrid to roll off the line, we’re attached to our cars and spend significant time in them. Unfortunately, accidents and crime can happen anywhere; including in our cars.
Forensic facilities often contain vehicle exam areas. Vehicles that have been involved with a crime are processed in a bay. A car may be dusted for fingerprints, paint from a hit and run may be sampled, or biological evidence may be collected. Vehicle exam spaces require planning and design to be most effective in supporting this collection of evidence.
How many bays do you need? What are the pros and cons of single versus multiple bays? These questions are often answered by available funding and current and future case load involving vehicles. Other factors may determine the number of bays your facility needs. Evidence integrity must be maintained.With one bay, that only supports one car, securing evidence between cases is not an issue. Having two or more bays becomes more challenging. The most secure but least flexible solution to maintaining separation between bays is the construction of walls between bays.With this option you lose the ability to utilize more than one bay per case; perhaps a wrecked vehicle requires more space for processing. When the area is needed for two separate bays they can be separated with a retractable wall or metal gate. Two or more bays that open into one another allow the space to accommodate a broader range of vehicles for examination.One bay might be designed for standard sized vehicles, while a second could be designed to accommodate larger vehicles.
How large of a vehicle do you want to be able to examine? While you might occasionally have a case involving a bus or truck you must decide if this frequency justifies the additional costs associated with large vehicle bays and a heavier vehicle lift. One design feature that can accommodate the infrequent processing of large vehicles is designing multiple bays which open into one another. By providing contiguous bays you can position a large vehicle perpendicular to the small vehicle bays and utilize the bays as one larger processing area. The size and type of overhead doors into the exam area is also a consideration. Although one door into each area may seem like the obvious choice, it may be wise to opt for one larger overhead door for each two-bay grouping. This allows for easier delivery of damaged cars as well as easier accommodation for those vehicles that no longer accurately track.