so that the infrastructure can be verified before
move day. This is a good way to ensure that last
minute changes can be made before the actual
equipment arrives. It is also good to have an
electrician on site on move day to assist with
any unanticipated plug configurations or power
needs. Forrest Manning from Personal Movers
also recommends purging old or unnecessary
chemicals and equipment.
A mover with lab-specific experience can
offer valuable insights on safely packing and
handling equipment. For sensitive equipment
like microscopes, it is best to have a vendor
technician prepare and pack the equipment
for transportation and unpack, assemble and
calibrate the equipment when it is in the new
facility. Incubators are easier to handle with
the jackets drained. It is especially important
to consider this option if they might be in the
moving truck overnight in the winter and subject to freezing temperatures. Lab moves in an
academic setting usually occur during the summer months, presenting less than ideal ambient
temperatures for freezers and refrigerators.
Samples are frequently kept inside freezers
for short moves; but for longer trips, they are
removed and packed in coolers with refrigerated ice packs or dry ice. Generator trucks
are also available if samples must be kept in
freezers for longer moves. Forrest notes that the
materials in freezers are often irreplaceable: No
level of insurance can replace a scientist’s life’s
work. Lab moves are most often single-day and
local in the Northeast, but most movers have
climate-controlled warehouses if arrangements
need to be made for storage. It is worthwhile
to confirm that appropriate provisions for
power and generator backup are provided in
such facilities. It is also important to note that
chemicals can only be transported by approved
handlers, so a third party may be necessary
depending on the qualifications of the mover.
Moving a lab is more like driving a boat
than a car: What looks like a straight line
trajectory will realistically require a series of
course adjustments as unanticipated factors
arise. A methodical process that breaks out
equipment by type and risk, thoroughly documents the building utilities required for each
piece, engages the right experts to evaluate the
logistics of the full moving process and has
enough float to allow for changes as they arise
is the key to a successful move day.
Erik Karl Lustgarten, AIA, LEED AP is a
Principal and research laboratory design consultant at Steffian Bradley Architects. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
Michael Rossini from TMP Engineers, Julian
Astbury from Arup, and Forrest Manning from
Personal Movers contributed to this article.
of the future as well.
ON THE MOVE
After equipment has been decontaminated
and disconnected from house systems, it needs
to be identified and prepared for the move.
Many movers use a tag system to identify the
owner and the final location on each piece.
Some even attach individual place cards at each
equipment location indicating the required
utilities and a picture of the plug and receptacle
the equipment without costly
PLANNING FOR CHANGE
Because lab equipment is
constantly improving, it’s highly
probable that the equipment
considered during planning will
be obsolete by the time the lab is
built. The best way to avoid problems on move day is to expect
changes to happen and plan for
a reasonable level of flexibility.
Electrical system-related changes can often be minimized by
locating strategically placed spare
receptacles for generator power,
using an adaptable wire way like
the Starline Bus, or including
spare electrical pathways in the
design. Other systems like air, nitrogen, vacuum or carbon dioxide can be located on a grid
of access nodes in consistent locations on each
floor or distributed in a looped configuration
on each floor so access to building systems are
a short distance from locations where they are
most likely needed. The actual arrangement of
equipment and workflow is largely a user-driven
factor, but it should be tempered with the knowledge that the infrastructure will outlast current
needs and must support the scientific equipment
Where does all this stuff go…and how do we get it there?
Planning for successful lab equipment moves
continued from page 10
Fig. 3: Sometimes the only way to get the equipment in is to build a new
opening and bring it in by crane. (Image: G. Greene Construction)
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