We move laboratories, pharmaceutical. relocating biotech, life sciences lab. Moving a working laboratory is a challenging endeavor. It will demand significant investment in logistical planning and preventive preparation. Failing to do so will leave you in a minefield of your own making.

Handled badly, relocating biotech, pharmaceutical, or life sciences lab can have severe ramifications. There are the obvious pitfalls, like damaging delicate equipment that will take days — if not weeks — to repair or replace (and the subsequent budgetary nightmares). But a “bad trip” could also compromise the veracity of ongoing research, resulting in expensive “redoes” of intricate work (and the crippling project delays such a scenario would entail).

If the decision to make a move has been made, it’s probably for a good reason. But don’t let a smart decision turn into a disaster because of poor implementation.

If you are in the greater Philadelphia region—eastern Pennsylvania’s Bucks and Montgomery counties, South and North Jersey, or New Castle County in Delaware—then let Business Move Solutions Inc. (BMSI) help you relocate your lab. We’ve done this many times before and will guide you through a thorough and cost-effective relocation project.

Each step in the process is important, but laying the proper foundation is key. Celebrating a successful move is rooted in proper early planning.

Site Assessment and Preplanning

Relying heavily on your lab managers, build an internal team 6-to-12 months out. It should encompass the entire organization (finance, site management) while emphasizing the expertise of core science staff. This “tip of the spear” team should immediately:

  • Get a detailed handle on the physical realities of both the current and new lab;
  • Build a full inventory of all specialized equipment (including current condition and performance parameters) and all chemicals, live samples, and other materials that have strict temperature requirements;
  • Create an inventory for more mundane material like office furniture and general lab equipment;
  • Research all federal, state, and local permitting issues (both for the new facility and cleanup requirements for the lab being left behind), which will require detailed knowledge spanning a range of federal agencies (EPA, OSHA, DOT, FDA) and local agencies, with a special emphasis on proper documentation at every step;
  • To support full documentation, develop a chain of custody for each significant piece of equipment and lab sample being transported, with a clear line that includes each person who is responsible at each step of the process;
  • Create detailed maps of both facilities, including where sensitive equipment and materials are and how to access the loading areas.

Build an Action Plan and Schedule

Once all the preliminary information is correlated, a clear and concise plan can be developed. Expect this process to take 3 to 6 months, including a thorough final review by major stakeholders in your organization. The goal is to ensure there is a flow of information between management, lab supervisors, scientists, equipment vendors, and outside firms. These efforts should include:

  • A comprehensive schedule, with firm timetables, that covers all items being moved;
  • The identification, then subsequent prioritization, of assets (including their placement at the final destination);
  • Assessment of potential logistical issues and ways to overcome them, including all transportation requirements;
  • A communication plan that ensures that all stakeholders will know, well in advance, when equipment will go offline, how long that will remain the case, when loading docks will need to be used, decommissioning decisions regarding some items, and an understanding of the project for all operational departments.

Integrate Project Management Support

At any point during this preplanning and full planning arc, it will be time to integrate an external project manager to oversee the actual move. They should be brought on to provide expertise and the “boots on the ground” who will handle the physical move. The job skills and knowledge crucial to running a laboratory are not the same as those required to move one. We here at BMSi do have that experience, along with the specialized equipment and know-how, to help you plan — and then execute — the relocation of your lab facility.

We’ll help you figure out what you need to get done and then … get it done.

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