Are you going to relocate your lab shortly? If so, you must be ready to handle a complex job.
It does not matter where you relocate your lab. The destination may be to the other side of the street, a location within the city or another country.
The fact remains that lab relocation is a challenging and costly affair. You need to carefully plan and execute the relocation to minimize challenges and costs.
During the relocation, you need to ensure that your lab items remain protected and avoid contamination, leading to damaging your precious lab item.
But, there are ways out, and that is what we discuss here. It will help if you implement the following steps:
Build an Internal Project Team
First, build an internal team to handle your lab relocation project. With a team, you can allocate specific tasks to particular team members. In this way, each team member will be responsible for his work.
In the team, you should include key persons to take the lead in the relocation process. It will also help if you define roles and responsibilities for each team member.
In the initial stages, your internal project teams should work out a plan for fixing their meeting schedules, communication protocols, monitoring activities, and adherence to schedule.
The team should collect vital data, create an effective plan, make good decisions, and keep the project on track.
Have an External Team
In parallel to your internal project team, build an external team with the different professionals you need to execute the process.
Choose service providers wisely, and schedule timelines of each activity to ensure that your project completes on time.
As your lab contains sensitive samples, hazardous chemicals, and delicate equipment, choose a transporting company with good lab relocation experience. Ensure that it has the right equipment and expertise to move lab items safely, and guarantee the safety of your equipment and samples.
In addition to a transporter, you will also need a waste disposal company to handle the waste material that will crop up during the relocation process.
Ensure that you choose the right waste disposal company to handle safely and dispose of wastes and follow applicable regulations.
You will also need finance, IT, engineering, regulatory, legal, and health and safety professionals to provide you with the right equipment and expertise to efficiently and safely relocate your lab.
Define Project Scope
Once you have built your teams, it is time for you to formulate a plan to actuate the entire relocation process.
Ensure that your plan encompasses all aspects of your lab relocation project. It should include meeting schedules, budget allocations, expectations, progress, and report metrics.
Ask for insights from team members. Collective wisdom makes planning more comprehensive. You will get the mental resources to identify important activities and events, activity timelines, and expected outcomes.
It is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of the project scope for planning and implementing the relocation successfully.
You can avoid complications in the final stages of your project by defining and documenting the project scope.
Material and Equipment Inventory Assessment
Before starting the relocation process, you should assess your inventory of hazardous and non-hazardous material in your lab. Do not ignore this, as it is crucial to evaluate the risks involved in transportation.
Do an in-depth inventory assessment to determine the risks and liabilities associated with each item you will move to a different location.
Follow the following while assessing the inventory of your material and equipment:
- List the samples and substances that must be kept in cold storage. Such items might require exact temperature environments. A deviation from the prescribed temperature range can damage them. In such a case, it will be detrimental to transport them in freezers. As such, you should ensure that there are proper cold-storage facilities, such as laboratory refrigerators, available before relocation.
- Your lab can have sensitive equipment that is usually fragile and expensive. And some of your items might need complex calibration procedures. Therefore, list all such equipment and deploy qualified professionals to handle them during the packaging and transporting phases.
- List the hazardous materials in your lab. The Department of Transportation has classified a slew of materials as hazardous substances. The list will help you determine the proper steps to transport your hazardous items, ensuring public safety and adherence to the existing regulations. Knowing the hazardous materials you have in your lab will enable you to consult the relevant authorities to get information about the rules of transporting them and permits.
Dispose of Risk Items
It might so happen that you might have certain items in your lab that pose more risks and calls for more cost in transporting them. It makes sense for you to dispose of such items and restock new items in your new lab. Disposing of such items will ensure safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in the relocation process.
Pack and Label Items
The next thing to do is to label the items to identify them in your new lab. Pack the items after labeling. Deploy qualified, trained, and certified packers and movers to handle hazardous materials during the packaging and relocation phases.
Inspect the New Lab
Before you start the relocation process, inspect the new lab to ensure it meets all your requirements. During the inspection, check the functioning of:
- Temperature and humidity controls
- Electricals, including backup generators and UPS outlets
- Safety systems, like emergency lights, smoke detectors, and safety showers
- Phone and internet connections
- Power points and wiring for IT systems, phone, and fax lines
- Water quality
With the inspections, you can determine whether you can run your operation smoothly in the new lab. Besides, you should clean and disinfect the new lab before starting the relocation.
Lab relocation is a challenging task, but there are ways to counter the inherent challenges. You can effectively deal with the challenges associated with the relocation of your lab by following the sequence of activities outlined in the article.
For a quick, safe and cost-effective relocation, you need to identify the associated risks, formulate an effective strategy, and deploy the best service providers.