Are you thinking about relocating your lab? If so, there is a lot you need to know before you start packing up your microscopes. We provided an overview of the biggest challenges you’ll face during your lab relocation and some pro tips from experts in the world of lab relocation.
Lab Relocation Challenges
Some of the biggest challenges labs face while moving include:
- Understanding your new laboratory.
A key component of lab relocation is to develop a holistic understanding and view of your new lab in order to be able to fully visualize the future location of your equipment, as well as the electrical and plumbing infrastructure of the new space. Consider where access to gas lines, vents, and emergency exits will go.
- Maintaining ongoing research.
Securely relocating ongoing research is a primary factor in any lab relocation. To ensure you are maintaining the integrity of your work during the moving process, take the time to develop a plan with your movers to efficiently relocate any sensitive materials.
- Ongoing reassessment.
No one wants to hit a major roadblock in the middle of their move. Continuously assessing your inventory, obtaining necessary permits, and communicating all changes and expectations to both the lab and moving staff is an essential factor of any successful lab relocation.
- Managing a large staff
To navigate lab relocation with a large staff, start by deciding who exactly is necessary to the move. Of course, all lab team members are involved in the relocation process, but you will need to choose specific staff members to act as leaders during the moving process to communicate all move updates and information to the rest of the staff. Create a lab relocation committee or team with members from all aspects of the lab who can offer their own specific expertise and take ownership.
- Obtaining permits for materials
Depending on the goings-on of your laboratory you may be moving hazardous materials during the relocation process. Before certain hazardous materials or live specimens can be transported you will need to consult your local authorities and obtain the necessary information and permits.
Lab Move Pro Tips
Now that you are prepared to overcome any challenge that may face you during your lab relocation, here are some expert tips and tricks to help you during the process:
On hiring a professional lab moving service:
“Many laboratories contain very sensitive equipment that can be very fragile and quite expensive. Many types of equipment require very difficult calibration procedures. It is simply a matter of common sense that you should spend the extra money to have a qualified company move this equipment without damaging it. This minor investment in protecting your equipment can save countless staff hours in the long run.” - Stephen J. Mooney, PMP, MS, Vice Presidents, Healthcare Building Solutions, Inc.
On how to dictate jobs during the relocation:
“Once it has been decided what equipment needs to be moved when, the coordination of all the people involved in the move begins. Who will perform a final calibration, system suitability or Preventative Maintenance on the instrument to show it was in good operating condition before moving?” Dennis Maddox, Principal Consultant at Technical Solutions Practice says. He explains how equipment must be cleaned and prepped and to check if equipment is rented because the company may require a specific moving vendor to handle their product. ““Metrology, Facilities, Validation, lab analysts, and Quality Assurance will all have a role in getting the equipment ready to be moved. The physical moving of the equipment can involve Facilities, an outside firm, the vendor or mostly likely a combination of the three.”
On navigating “down time” during the move:
“Figuring out where stuff is best suited in the new space takes some time. Downtime can be anywhere from three months to a year before you’re back to being fully functional. Depending on the stage of the PI and/or the size of the lab, working on unfinished papers and grants are good things to do during that period.” - Glenn Rowe, PhD, of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
One thing is clear: the key to a successful lab relocation is to communicate with your team and trust skilled experts to support a safe move. When you utilize an experienced lab relocation service you can focus on your research while they do all the heavy lifting.