Special Considerations for Moving a Laboratory Facility in Atlanta

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With Atlanta’s booming life-science market and record rates of industry investment, local laboratory facilities are in high demand.

Georgia already ranks in the top 15 states for its large population of life-science graduates, and the local life-science workforce will grow by seven percent over the next decade, according to projections by Georgia Power. The demand for lab space in Atlanta is so high that landlords have started to transform office buildings into laboratory facilities in a rush to expand the sector, reported the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

For the many institutions moving their labs to the Atlanta metro, finding an expert relocation partner is crucial to maintaining the health and integrity of your research. Avoid future obstacles in the moving process by planning for these special considerations and local regulations.

Sensitive Equipment

Laboratories often have fragile or sensitive equipment that requires complex calibration procedures. Start by documenting the specifications of each piece of equipment, including the dimensions, connections, weight and temperature requirements. Check that your new lab space can accommodate the needed conditions for all equipment.

If there’s equipment you no longer need, get rid of it before you move to save time and space. For equipment exposed to hazardous materials, follow the National Institutes of Health’s decontamination procedures before relocation.

Double-check that your refrigerators, storage and incubators are empty before beginning to pack. Some manufacturers may bring in a representative to service, pack and calibrate equipment, so stay in frequent contact with your vendors to ensure you follow all contract stipulations.

Hazardous Materials

The National Research Council Committee defines hazardous materials as substances that are radioactive, poisonous or infectious. To move hazardous materials, you will first need to confirm you are taking steps to protect yourself and the public with local permitting authorities. For example, you may need to submit a Chemical Move Request form to the Division of Environmental Protection if your lab contains chemicals.

Your lab staff will be responsible for documenting materials, removing chemicals from hoods and decontaminating equipment. When cleaning your space and equipment, wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, a lab coat, eye protection and more. Then, pack and enclose biological materials inside secondary containers resistant to punctures or leaks.

Before moving, dispose of all chemical, biological or radioactive waste and empty waste containers. Review the National Institutes for Health’s disposal guide for detailed instructions on how to rid your lab of hazardous waste safely.

Live Animals

If your lab has live animals or specimens, work with your moving company to create a schedule that minimizes transit time, thus reducing the stress your animals experience. Precondition your animals by exposing them to the people, transportation containers, food and water they will encounter on moving day.

On moving day, give your animals access to familiar objects or bedding to bring some predictability to the strange new environments. Determine whether your animals will need food and water during the move depending on their species, size and time spent in transit. On longer trips, build in some time to stop the vans so your animals can feed or drink.

Carefully pack your animals in a container that gives them sufficient space while also preventing them from rolling around in the vans. If your animals have specific temperature requirements, talk to your moving company about starting the day before dawn while it is still cool.

Cold Storage

Some labs have research samples that you will need to keep in cold storage for the duration of the move. Talk to your moving company about the cold-storage capabilities of their vans. Have extension cords, dry ice and backup freezers on hand to prepare for the worst-case scenarios.

Your moving company should pack the van so that your cold-storage substances are the last on and the first off. Once on the road, monitor the freezers frequently throughout the move to ensure they stay at the temperature you need.

With decades of research on the line, you can’t entrust your lab relocation to just anyone. Armstrong ­– Atlanta handles every detail with extreme care and caution, providing full-service expertise to ensure a smooth transition. Get started today by calling 770.368.0368 or requesting a free quote online.