How to relocate a laboratory, part 2.
When planning a laboratory relocation it’s important to find a supplier who understands that no two labs will ever be the same. Each lab has its own way of operating and conducting research and therefore presents specific challenges.
Plan with scientific accuracy
Set a deadline. Depending on your reasons for moving you will have a set time during which to move. It’s a good idea to call a logistics specialist as early as possible [link to previous post] but make sure your schedule is realistic based on the size of your lab and the amount and types of equipment being moved. There will inevitably be a period of time when your lab will be inoperational so factor that into your plan and increase production or bring forward urgent projects to ensure that you’re not caught out. Set a timeline for when machinery will have to be powered down and how long before they will be able to come back online.
As with any type of move do an audit of your site even before you call in a relocation provider so that you form a clear idea of what you have, what you need and what you can dispose of or upgrade. A lab move is a great opportunity to replace or repair faulty or out of date equipment so take stock of everything you have.
When you relocation partner comes on board they will perform one or several site surveys and they will inventory every item that is part of the move. Ask for a copy or keep your own records of equipment binders and review responsibility matrix so that everyone is on the same page.
Review your files and note any chemicals or samples that are nearing expiry or that will need disposing of. There’s no need to incur the cost of moving chemicals that you don’t need or use anymore. The right relocation provider will be able to safely dispose of these for you as part of their service.
Besides giving notice on your lease you will also need to notify suppliers, utility companies and other parties that you’re planning a move so that deliveries are rescheduled for when you’re at your new location.
Select your move champions
Though it’s important to ensure clear communication with all staff about your move, you will need to appoint specific team members to spearhead the project. These people will be the point of contact with your relocation partner and will need to be senior enough to understand the needs of your lab and your overall project goals. This person will be the point of contact between your relocation partner and your staff so they’ll need to have the flexibility to attend regular project meetings as well as good communication skills in order to help coordinate everyone.
Your chosen relocation partner will have to be experienced in handling delicate laboratory instrumentation. This should include supplying staff who are demonstrably trained in handling the instruments and who can identify when it’s ready to move after cleaning. They should supply appropriate equipment for their safe transportation and ensure there is no cross contamination between machinery. They should also be able to liaise with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for the proper dismantling, packing and relocating methods whenever necessary. In fact, some items can only be relocated by the OEMs themselves in order to indemnify the owner and honour the warranty; the appropriate relocation provider will be aware of this and operate accordingly. The inability to correctly handle and recalibrate machinery could result in lost research and costly mistakes for your lab.
Review your access points and routes
Your logistics partner will be able to identify the best route for your equipment to ensure that it travel the shortest route in the safest possible ways. Consider whether all your equipment will fit through the door or in lifts or whether it will have to disassembled or if new access point will need to be created. This could prolong your project or incur unforeseen costs and is part of the reason why the right relocation professional needs to brought on board early on.
To read the first part of this series click here.