During my career as a Laboratory/Facilities Manager, my first experience of a whirlwind Lab Move came when the company I was working at was acquired and given six months’ notice to vacate the building. In a way, the “move out” had a silver lining – not only did I learn to take precautions to avoid “move out” delays, I also learned how to break down a lab move procedure with maximum efficiency and minimal disruption. As a result, I became prepared for the logistics and processes involved with all manner of lab moves and relocations.
What I’ve learned through these experiences is that whether you are moving to an established lab or a new company, you must pay attention to two critical areas to make the lab move go smoothly: 1) the organization of the lab on both ends of the actual event and b) choosing the mover.
Your lab embodies years of hard work as well as investments made by highly-skilled scientists and technicians putting in collaborative efforts on generating results and data. Any disruption could be disastrous, so any move is, understandably, a potential cause for anxiety. Whether a lab is moving down one floor in the same building, to another side of town or across country, it pays to start by leaving nothing to chance and getting organized.
Choosing a mover also requires thorough evaluation and selection process. Narrowing down the list of movers and the bid process can take months. I highly recommended considering companies that have extensive and documented experience moving labs, ones that give strong consideration to your timeline, limitations and move logistics. Always ask for references. The timeline of your move must also be taken into consideration. For example, summer is usually peak season, so it is advisable to schedule six weeks in advance in summertime as other projects can fill up the moving company’s schedule board. Whenever hazardous materials are involved, you will need a specialized, licensed transporter such ACTenviro.
Finally, you should establish robust communications with the destination facility to ensure that all the requisite spaces and infrastructure requirements are ready for your arrival. This includes being prepared to receive and appropriately store shipments of specimens and equipment sent in advance, as well as being set up on move-in day. Also, make sure you know minute details, such as the specifications for the departure dock at the old lab and the receiving dock at the new destination. Without knowing this, you are taking your chances.
Is your lab moving, upgrading or downsizing? If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, please feel free to contact us.
– Juliana Cayetano, Account Manager