The design and construction of a well-executed laboratory space to house high resolution analytical imaging and processing tools can often be more complex and expensive than anticipated. Unlike their manufacturing counterparts, lab tools as a class have fewer built-in countermeasures to fend off operational degradation caused by external factors. A poorly optimized facility can result in significant underperformance of installed systems, thereby wasting the investment and jeopardizing the mission. Unfortunately, very few assigned laboratory spaces are ‘naturally’ perfect for the installation of new analytical equipment at the outset. It typically takes considerable work to engineer most locations so that the tools function as they should and live up to expectations. The magnitude of the challenge and its true cost and lead time often come as a huge surprise to failure analysis engineers tasked with wearing multiple ‘hats’ while navigating the capital approval process. Being caught off guard in this manner often results in considerable time delay, as well as over-budget or sub-par outcomes. In this paper we offer suggestions on how to revamp the typical capital cycle process for specifying, buying, and installing future laboratory tools. We furthermore aim to produce an abbreviated reference guide for tool owners on facility requirements needed to ensure optimal analytical system performance.