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Laboratory relocation project

Projects that involve moving during ongoing operations pose special challenges.
Projects that involve moving during ongoing operations pose special challenges.

In 2014, Chemgineering was commissioned by Biotest AG to move various laboratories (QC and R&D) and the Plasma Receiving Department into a new building. The particular challenge was posed by the necessity of maintaining the ongoing operations of the relocating departments, and unforeseen difficulties typically arise in a new building.

Biotest AG manufactures anti-coagulants and medications for intensive medicine from human blood plasma donations. In conjunction with an expansion at the Dreieich site,a new building was constructed for the Plasma Receiving department and the corresponding laboratories. The new building is divided into four sections (a-d, see figure 1).  Sections c and d are used by the Plasma Receiving department. Here, the delivered blood plasma is received and stored in section d in a cold storage unit at a temperature of -30°C. Section a houses QC laboratories. In these laboratories, plasma samples from the Plasma Receiving department are tested, among other things. Offices are located on the second floor. The laboratories for biological safety classifications S2 and S3** for a research department are housed on the third floor. More offices, break rooms and other facilities are located in section b.


Sub-project management and coordination of the move
Chemgineering’s assignment included sub-project management and the coordination of the move for all of the departments housed in the new building. The project began with the preparation of the master plan for the relocation. It described the conditions and procedures for the move and specified the procedures, the documentation to be prepared and the assignment of responsibilities.

Some of the laboratories had to maintain ongoing operations during the move so that samples could be processed in a timely manner. Stoppage of work in the laboratories and the Plasma Receiving department would have had a direct influence on production and thus on the company’s finances. The move was thus planned in different phases as follows:


Phase 0

  • Purchase, installation and qualification, if necessary, of new equipment to be purchased
  • Preparation of the required documents (relocation risk analysis, schedule, moving lists, documentation for requests for proposals [RFPs], etc.)
  • Assignment of external work
  • Moving the first part of the equipment while maintaining the functionality of the existing laboratory
  • Moving of the second part of the equipment


Phase 1

  • Moving the first part of the equipment while maintaining the functionality of the existing laboratory


Phase 2 (after establishment of the functionality of the laboratory in the new building)

  • Moving of the second part of the equipment


Phase 0 took place for all relocating departments at the same time. Phases 1 and 2 were planned specifically for each department and divided as required per working/laboratory area for each department.

In preparation for the move and the generation of the RFP documents, lists were made of the equipment to be moved for each department (laboratory equipment, chemicals, reagents, office supplies, PCs, etc.).

The following attributes were noted for each department in a moving list:

-       device designation

-       existing or new device

-       old location

-       new location

-       device data (manufacturer, weight, dimensions)

-       criticality for laboratory operation

-       sensitivity to shocks or temperature

-       potential risks (biomaterials/hazardous materials)

-       person responsible for the device (department contact for the move)

-       requirement for manufacturer support

-       device connections (power, water, sewage, compressed air, etc.)

-       costs of new purchase for the insurance company

-       moving date (phase) 


A schedule for the move of the laboratory equipment was prepared in collaboration with the department contacts. In the general schedule, milestones for the start of the move, preparatory activities and the individual moving phases were described. The equipment was listed separately for each department under the relevant phase.

For each existing device, the activities for the move up to and including routine operation, and for each new device, the activities from purchase to routine operation were defined in the detailed schedule.

In the next step, a performance specification for the RFP for the move was prepared. This performance specification described the procedure for the move as well as the responsibilities for the individual steps of the move. The schedule, the moving lists and drawings of the building were included in the appendix to the performance specification and were likewise part of the RFP documentation.

Thanks to the detailed RPF documentation, it was possible to analyze high-quality offers that could be easily compared, which facilitated a high level of certainty in negotiations with the companies and trustworthy prices.

The moving company selected prepared a relocation handbook, which was presented to the staff of the relocating departments before the move and served as a guideline for the move itself. The relocation handbook included the following information:

-       the contacts and the contact details for the moving company, the relocating departments and the project team

-       the packing materials to be used

-       the workflow of the move for the individual departments

-       the labeling of the goods to be moved

-       the location of the lost-and-found office and the packing material pool.


The new equipment was delivered at the end of the construction phase. The delivery, unloading and moving the equipment into the various rooms, installation and start-up had to be coordinated and supervised. The list of new equipment included smaller laboratory devices such as scales and centrifuges as well as refrigeration, freezer and deep-freeze units (-80°C) and three autoclaves. The challenge in this regard was posed by the coordination of the various suppliers and the coordination with the site management.

During the entire project, Chemgineering worked closely with the project team for the new building. This was indispensable, as delays at the construction site directly influenced the planning of the move. Even after the move began, the activities had to be tightly coordinated with the site management, as there was quite a bit of residual work to be finished in the new building.

The extremely detailed planning and the excellent cooperation among the parties involved facilitated a successful move. The laboratories and the Plasma Receiving department moved into the new building without any work stoppage due to the move and began operations in their new environment.


Detailed planning and close collaboration among the project management, the plant and the moving company are the keys to success. Chemgineering will be happy to support you in organizing and executing your move. Based on our decades of experience in the implementation of such projects, we guarantee that your projects will run smoothly.


Olaf Maassen|Projektingenieur|The Technology Designers


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