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What Are the Key Factors to Ensure a Successful Lab Relocation?

A collection of insight from five industry experts

by Vaishna Rajakumar
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Relocating a lab is a complex, time-sensitive responsibility with lots of moving parts. What can lab managers do to maximize the efficiency of the relocations they are facing?

Hear from five industry experts about the best practices and key actions to take when relocating your lab to ensure success.

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Brenda Jackson, ASC complex manager, North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCAGR)
Brenda recently participated in a lab move, bringing the NCAGR multi-building campus with five disjointed structures into one centralized location.

Portrait photo of Brenda Jackson
Credit: Brenda Jackson

"Engage your labs with a detailed relocation schedule as it develops. When you move, having resources on site to address the inevitable problems that come up—IT resources, your general contractor or mechanical expert, electrical plumbing resources—this was all really helpful because they could address those things quickly and promptly.And hire a first-class mover. We had an absolute first-class mover, and when it came to the physical relocation, they were phenomenal. That certainly made everything much, much smoother for us."

Carlos A. Perez-Rubio, principal and laboratory subject matter expert at HERA Laboratory Planners:

Portrait picture of Carlos Perez Rubio
Credit: Carlos Perez Rubio

"First, prepare! Assess existing equipment in the existing facility, including age, condition, applicability, etc. Document existing items and locate them on the plans of the new facility. ‘Clean house’ by purging old equipment, samples, supplies, and anything else that should not move. Create a plan for move-in day and take note of potential disruptions in testing—plan for downtime, make sure instruments can be tested and certified as soon as possible, and work with other agencies to minimize disruptions.                               

Second, make sure the new building is up and running and ready to take in the new instruments/equipment.

Third, hire a moving company that understands the nature of your work and can handle sensitive equipment."

George Rohlfing, president of Labmovers.com:

Portrait picture of George Rohlfing
Credit: George Rohlfing
  • “Start working with a lab relocation company six to 12 months in advance of your ‘go live’ date. That begins with an on-site survey at origin.
  • If moving chemicals or infectious samples, research local, state, and federal regulations.
  • For cold transport of samples, develop a strategy (e.g. plug in service or dry ice shippers) with a contingency plan for specimen redundancy.
  • Properly insure your move and coordinate closely with the facilities managers at current and new locations.”

John Martin, managing director, Full Spectrum Lab Services: 

Portrait photo of John Martin
Credit: John Martin

“Lab relocations can be a complex process, requiring careful planning and execution to ensure the safe transfer of equipment, samples, and sensitive materials. The key to success centers around communication, planning, and coordination. It is advisable to establish a strategic team of key lab stakeholders, management, and relocation specialists who will develop a plan while considering appropriate safety precautions, timelines, and minimal disruption to operations.”

Eric Ciotti, lead, product management – Core Instrument Services, Agilent CrossLab Services Division, Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Portrait picture of Eric Ciotti
Credit: Eric Ciotti

“Successful lab relocation projects center on meticulous early planning and preparation to mitigate issues and unexpected expenses. Equally crucial is the development of robust communication and risk assessment plans. Collaborate with a service provider possessing deep scientific expertise, industry knowledge, and a consultative approach that engages all levels of lab staff—One that has a proven track record in executing complex lab relocations while minimizing disruptions to operations and ensuring business continuity and the seamless continuation of scientific work.”