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Case Study

Laboratory relocation for DNA Electronics

Expertise and meticulous planning for a laboratory relocation

DNA Electronics (DNAe) is a pioneering molecular diagnostics company developing solutions that enable rapid near-patient real-time diagnostics. In order to operate in a more modern facility and be very close to the linked research facilities at Imperial College, London, DNAe wished to move their London premises to Scale Space, Wood Lane, London W12.

With expertise in specialist laboratory relocations, Crown Workspace was engaged to fulfil the contract and manage the move.

A two-phase plan managed by Crown Workspace

The initial project brief covered the relocation of laboratories and offices for 100 personnel from Imperial College’s UGLI Campus to Scale Space, however, with the impact of COVID-19, the new building refurbishment was delayed, causing the client requirement to change.

Crown’s management team collaborated closely with DNAe to create a bespoke two-phase plan for this specialist relocation project.

Crown provided a management team of two personnel to plan and oversee the implementation of this specialist relocation project, ensuring that the move was logistically viable, well communicated and resourced effectively.

During this meticulous planning phase, Crown prepared a comprehensive laboratory relocation plan, carried out risk and contingency planning, liaised with OEMs, compiled a full inventory of hazardous materials and managed all ADR/DGSA requirements.

As the project was to be carried out during a Covid-19 lockdown, all staff were fully equipped with 5-part PPE and necessary briefings to ensure compliance with Covid-19 RAMS.

Over 20 vendors were engaged over the period of the project, from obtaining the quotations to arranging the works. Crown’s team supported many of the vendors with packing and relocation support, reducing the client’s costs considerably.

Prior to each move, the Move Manager met with the relevant groups to confirm details of the OEM timetable and ensured staff were provided with crates, packaging and labels to effectuate a smooth transition.

As this challenging relocation project included many specialist laboratory items, Crown increased staff training and committed to significant investment in an additional specialist fleet to enable in-house delivery, thereby ensuring the consistency of staff and resources.

The 2-phase laboratory relocation plan:

Phase 1 May 2020

  • Pack & move 90% of laboratory equipment, lab contents, hazardous materials, office equipment and office contents to storage at IHub, Imperial College.
  • Move essential lab equipment, furniture and live freezers to a temporary facility in West London.
  • Carry out sustainable clearance of all remaining furniture from UGLI Campus to donation, resale and recycling.
  • Move 10 live freezers to Crown store to be plugged in a kept secure until the availability of new building.

Phase 2 November 2020

  • Move all laboratory equipment, lab contents, hazardous materials, office equipment and office contents from IHub to Scale Space over a 2 week period.
  • Relocation of essential laboratory equipment, furniture and live freezers from temporary location to Scale Space
  • Move 10 live freezers from Crown store to Scale Space
  • Sustainable clearance of vacated premises

Hazardous chemicals and sub-zero temperatures

Specialist library relocation

The DNAe Project Team provided an equipment list of items that required special consideration when moving.  This was expanded by Crown into an extensive database to identify the precise location for collection along with specific handling requirements for each individual item, some of which were extremely sensitive, hazardous, oversized or heavy.

Crown ensured that full regulation compliance was adhered to for all relevant aspects of these relocations, providing extra employee training where necessary and investing in a specialist fleet to transfer sensitive items.

Find out more about our Specialist Library Relocation services here

Tailor-made rig packaging

Crown worked closely with DNAe’s Logistics Team to provide circa 80 bespoke plywood cases for specialist rigs of various sizes and these rigs were relocated in an efficient and risk-free manner whilst also minimising downtime.

The machines were successfully moved twice.

Chemical relocation

The entire project involved relocating up to 11 classification types of chemicals.  During the week leading up to the move, Crown’s ADR teams carried out an inventory of chemicals, ensuring they were separated into their correct hazardous classifications. The team carried out specialist packing, operating in line with all handling and transportation regulations to ensure that items were packed and labelled in full compliance with legislation, double-checking each inventory against the initial plan.

Following live tracked transportation, all chemicals were immediately unpacked and placed in their appropriate hazardous storage units.

Fridge and freezer relocations

An integral part of this project was the live relocation of the laboratory fridges and freezers which were critically required to be kept at their specific sub-zero temperatures.

Each unit was packed out securely with bubble wrap to ensure there was no internal movement.

The freezers were loaded onto the generator vehicle individually and once the temperature was maintained, the next freezer was loaded and powered up.

All freezers were protected with Plastazote foam and secured to the vehicle with specially designed ratchet straps.

IT Relocations

A key part of this major project involved the planning, delivery and management of IT relocations. Crown’s IT team worked alongside the DNAe Project Team to ensure that the plans and resources were in place and co-ordinated fully with the move plan. The relocation covered the decommissioning of server equipment and 100 docking stations, PCs and associated monitors.

The IT specialists also installed all servers into the new server room and installed all IT equipment onto new workspaces.

A sustainable clearance for financial and carbon savings

Crown worked with resale and equipment partners to ensure a fair rebate for a large quantity of unwanted office furniture and the more specialist surplus laboratory equipment.

The remaining items were allocated to our charity network, The Giving Back Project, via the Renew Centre for reconditioning. Any final items were recycled according to the waste hierarchy.

Crown’s sustainable clearance service made a huge carbon footprint saving as well as a significant financial impact on clearance costs.


Crown’s experience of large-scale project management and expertise in specialist laboratory relocation meant the client’s challenges were successfully negotiated and a smooth and efficient two-phase relocation was completed within timeframe and budget and caused minimal disruption to the DNAe team’s pioneering work in healthcare innovation.

The sustainable clearance element of the relocation allowed financial rebates for the client and allowed DNAe to benefit from environmental reporting, outlining materials reused, recycled or donated to the Giving Back Project’s charity partners.

The services we provided included:

  • Crown Workspace Project Management to plan & manage the project in liaison with the client PM Team.
  • Cost management, ensuring approvals as required
  • Supplier management (OEMs) including full resource and activity schedules and costs
  • Provision of secure crates, packing materials for safe transportation of filing, IT and laboratory equipment, lab contents and consumables.
  • Site preparation, signage and COVID-19 RAMS compliance
  • Supplier co-ordination (OEMs) for specialist laboratory equipment and transportation
  • Audit, packing, relocation and unpacking (IT/telecoms, workspace, furniture, filing laboratory and heavy/bulky items)
  • Relocation of goods classified under UN hazard classes 1-9 chemicals and hazardous substances (including packing and unpacking).
  • Decommission, relocation and installation of desktop IT and equipment
  • Relocation of server equipment (including de-rack and re-rack of equipment)
  • Live transfer of fridges and freezers and samples using an in-house specialist fleet
  • Post-move help desk and day 1 support teams

Find out more about our Specialist Laboratory Relocation services here