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Subject: Moving a laboratory

Moving a laboratory

From: Tom Dixon <tom.dixon>
Date: Tuesday, February 6, 2001
Rosemary Fallon <fallonr [at] npg__si__edu> writes

>The conservation lab of the National Portrait Gallery and the
>Smithsonian American Art Museum will be moving across town because
>our building is about to be renovated. Can anyone who has been
>through such a move offer tips on the moving of solvents? Did you
>contract a company with this kind of expertise? Are there movers who
>specialize in moving laboratories?

We had exactly the same situation in November 1999 (our late spring,
early summer).  We hired a licensed chemical disposal company which
was bonded and insured to carry out such work.  I took the
opportunity of the move to get rid of a lot of chemicals and
solvents- stuff we had no idea who bought or what for and the same
company disposed of these for us, reducing the relocation to a very
small amount.

They used the same covered truck loaded with metal garbage cans
filled with vermiculite for both transport to their premises for
disposal as for relocating our items.  They brought the garbage cans
to our storage rooms (we separate chemicals into flammable solvents
in one room and other chemicals in another room), checked each
container and packed it in the vermiculite, and used carts to move
everything from our labs to the loading dock and then onto the
truck.  I recall they made one trip only with flammables and then
combined the others into a second trip.  We were very happy with
their service.

I have been very stern and grumpy with my staff about buying
chemicals and make certain we buy no more than needed for a
particular project and dispose of it at the end of the project.
Everything gets labelled with the date and person who ordered it. As
part of our risk management strategy, we have really cut down on our
holdings of all types of chemicals and the move was a great
opportunity to do this.

We had specialist computer movers deal with all the Gallery
computers and, like you, had a couple of things disassembled by
specialists, and we moved some things like balances, microscopes and
cameras ourselves in cars, but we left virtually everything else to
the contract movers.  It was a lot of work, but it all went quite

Tom Dixon
Chief Conservator
National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:43
                 Distributed: Tuesday, February 6, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-43-003
Received on Tuesday, 6 February, 2001

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