Moving Your Lab

In previous posts we have talked about relocating for a job, but what if it’s not you that is relocating, it’s your lab. Your lab has outgrown the current space and you’re moving into new state of the art, upgraded facilities… yay! But now you have to move EVERYTHING over there. Here are some important things to keep in mind to help the move go smoothly.

Planning the Move

Before the move, consider the time that the equipment will be down and plan accordingly. Don’t unplug anything until its time; I.E don’t let someone come around and unplug something prematurely that is still processing tissue. Label all of your equipment and your boxes with a contact name and the new location just in case something gets misplaced or sent to another area of the hospital. Boxes should also include the contents written on them to make unpacking easier.

Make sure you see the space you’re moving into and ensure that it is big enough for everything that needs to go in it. Think about your current workflow and pre-plan the best placement for your stainer, microtome, etc, so that everything is placed logically on the first try, and you aren’t moving things around after everything has been moved over. Also make sure that there are enough outlets/power/water for where you are putting your equipment. If possible, be a part of the new setup from the beginning, ensuring that there is enough counter space, cabinets, so that you aren’t making do later.

Look at the ventilation in the new space and whether it can handle the formalin and xylene. You will need to get the new space tested for fume/vapor and document the testing for CAP compliance. If you’re not in compliance, contact the maintenance department to have them fix it and then retest.

Moving Equipment

Keep in mind the warranties and service contracts on your equipment. Some companies will not cover damage done to the equipment during the move if done by movers and you will need to get the company you bought the equipment from to move it. If possible, you will want someone on hand during the move to supervise, to limit damage to equipment, and to make sure that stored slides and blocks don’t get out of order. It’s also a good idea to have a spill clean up kit on hand to avoid any mishaps leaving permanent stains in your new space.


One of the most important things to consider after the move is that everything is working properly. Plan to perform an instrument function verification and document it. Have validation slides cut and ready to go before the move. If they were not already involved in the moving process, notify your equipment service engineers of the move so that they are available if something goes wrong with setting the equipment back up. Equipment is expensive and essential to accurate patient diagnosis. Take the time to consult with the specialists to make sure everything is working correctly, even if it means delaying getting back to work. You don’t want to rush and make a critical mistake.

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