Francis Crick Institute - a unique specialist relocation project - Crown Workspace UK
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Case Study

Francis Crick Institute – a unique specialist relocation project

Investigating specific requirements of each site


The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical discovery facility dedicated to understanding why disease develops and to find new ways to treat, diagnose and prevent illness. The creation of this state-of-the-art facility with nearly one million sq.ft of floor space in Kings Cross was one of the single biggest construction projects in the UK in recent times.

We provided a management team of seven personnel to plan and oversee the implementation of the project. An outline move programme was provided by the Crick project team. We were then required to investigate the specific requirements of each site in further detail to ensure that the final move plan was logistically viable, well communicated and resourced effectively.

A significant scientific laboratory relocation

Merging the Medical Research Councils National Institute for Medical Research and Cancer Research UK’s London Research Insitute under one roof, the project included the most significant scientific laboratory relocation of its kind in Europe and required the migration of:

  • 1,500 staff
  • 101 lab groups
  • University partner moves
  • 17,500 laboratory equipment items
  • 1,500 crates of chemicals
  • Desktop and server equipment
  • Live cold move including fridges & freezers, liquid nitrogen vessels
  • Specialist areas such as Drosophila (fruit flies), BRG, insectary
  • Containment levels 3 and 4
  • Hazardous and biological materials
  • Bespoke and standard glassware
  • Laboratory consumables
  • Write up area crates

Crown Workspace successfully delivered this unique specialist relocation project from planning through to implementation including:

  • Engaging with over 100 vendors to decommission and recommission specialist equipment ranging from robots and cameras to microscopes, centrifuges and hoods whilst meeting original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements.
  • Arranging the relocation of the 1.5m long and 1.65m diameter NMR magnet into the sub-basement using a large crane air hoist lifting device positioned in the adjacent British Library and involving taking up a section of pavement.
  • Safely and consistently transporting 1,700 industrial fridges and freezers retaining their sub-zero temperatures throughout the move and over 1,500 crates of up to eleven classification types of chemicals.

A dynamic and demanding project

Our key experience in specialist moves, combined with resources, facilities and flexibility meant that the clients could complete the project with full confidence. We were delighted to be awarded the contract for the dynamic and demanding project following a competitive tender process.

The project involved the supply of project management and relocation services for Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Crick Institute to enable the smooth relocation of three research centres and an administration facility at:

  • London Research Institute – 44 LIF
  • Medical Research Council/ National Institute for Medical Research – Mill Hill
  • London Research Institute – Clare Hall (South Mimms)
  • Wellcome Trust – Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, NW1

These sites were all to be migrated over a six month period to The Francis Crick Institute at Kings Cross. The project also involved the relocation of university partners from facilities in University College London, Kings College, GlaxoSmithKline, Addenbrook’s and Cambridge University.

“The highest compliment was the Crown’s team was seen as part of the Crick and could be approached with any questions around the move, and would work collaboratively to resolve any issues. The complexity of some of our moves meant that Crown had to manage multiple suppliers, logistics, scientists and deliver to aggresive timelines – all of which they did impressively.”


David Howard, Head of Migration and Assurance, The Francis Crick Institute

To find out more about our specialist relocation services, and how we can help you with your workspace move, get in touch.

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