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The importance of project management in a laboratory relocation

11/11/2019 / Project management / posted by Catherine Byrom

The key to ensuring a successful laboratory relocation lies undoubtedly within the project management.

The purpose of project management is to identify the needs and wants of the client (aim), establish how best to ensure those needs are met (planning), then deliver their ‘aim’ on time and on budget, ensuring complete customer satisfaction throughout the entire process to completion (execution).

Successful project management unites clients and teams, creates a vision for success, and encourages that the vision be met. Timing is such a key element and in previous experience the most successful moves are the ones planned far in advance. You can never be too early to plan a lab relocation, as the more time the project manager has, the more time they can dedicate to the ‘planning’ aspect of the relocation.


All clients, and their laboratory relocations, have different criteria. For some it may be time constraints - deadlines, phasing works, building completion/closures. For others it may purely be the value of the research and to ensure that it is maintained precisely and handled sensitively. All these needs are relevant and a good project manager will understand these needs early in the process and know from experience the ways to handle these important requirements to ensure absolute client satisfaction.


The project manager should carefully and thoroughly plan and come up with a strategy of best practice to ensure all requirements of the relocation are met. Foreseeing each step of the move and envisaging any potential issues, time restraining processes, legal documentation requirements, specialist equipment requirement, access requirements, bespoke packaging and project specific needs.

Some key points to consider are:

  • Original Equipment Manufacturers – certain instrumentation will need to be de-commissioned and re-commissioned – planning this well in advance ensures the deadlines are met and the correct people are onsite at the correct times ensuring a smooth operational flow. A good project manager can arrange this on their client’s behalf


  • Acceptance of building prior to relocating – will all the instrumentation fit into the building? What are the access points? Where are the assets located currently? Where are they going to? Parking/building access etc?


  • The organising and liaising with end users. Who is accepting the equipment/meeting on site. This can differ from the person the project manager has been discussing the lab relocation with (client). If this is a different contact, it is important to ensure that they are also aware of the process, to maintain operational flow.


  • Are dangerous goods, chemicals or samples included within the lab relocation? If so, these must be dealt with in a specialist manner. The project manager should arrange all necessary specialist procedures on behalf of the client


In lab relocations, the ‘boots on the ground’, or team members, are as vital in the process as the project manager. For this part of the process to be successful the team has to be trained to the highest standards and thoroughly understand the sensitivity of the equipment and assets that they are handling. The team should be regularly re-trained as new and better practices evolve. In lab relocations, aside from the project manager, the team are at the ‘coal face’ of the operation, and are the key contacts that the end user will meet with. Their ability to execute a non-disruptive, swift, precise, bespoke move is paramount to the success of a relocation.


Don’t leave the planning of your laboratory move to the last minute. Good project management and timing is key to the success of a well-executed relocation ensuring piece of mind for the client and the seamless transition from laboratory to laboratory.

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