Successful Tactics for Managing Equipment Move Challenges

Maintaining business continuity is a major focus for any organization when undergoing a construction or renovation project, especially when these projects occur while employees need access to the workspace. When conducting these projects in R&D and Manufacturing/Production facilities, there are several concerns to take into account in order to maintain business continuity. While working in this market sector, our team developed systems to manage not only construction of numerous production facilities but also the coordination of the equipment as it was moved and installed inside each production facility; all with the focus of business continuity for our client.

This project is unique in the fact that each production area is housed inside one large production facility, with no partitions between the different discipline spaces. To properly lay out the spaces, Watchdog procured an engineer with process equipment design experience and worked with that engineer to develop an inventory log of each piece of equipment to be relocated or purchased for the new construction project. Using this our project managers then worked with the client procurement agent to develop an RFP for the purchase of new equipment.  

As construction began, a phased turnover of each manufacturing space was required to maintain business continuity. In order to do this successfully, proper tracking must be in place prior. Watchdog helped create an Equipment Move Coordination Matrix to track:

  1. Each piece of equipment
  2. Date that the infrastructure (Mechanical Electrical Plumbing Fire Protection) is required to be installed, i.e., Electric, Air, Water, Gas
  3. Date equipment will be moved including down time for the business
  4. Time allowance for Safety Validations of each piece of equipment
  5. Date when the business needs equipment operational

In addition to creating this matrix, we developed a Space Move-In Checklist. This allows our team, along with the end user, Facilities Representatives, and Environmental Health and Safety Representatives to walk each production space before turnover to the client, ensuring that the space is satisfactory. When creating this list, it is important to ensure that the Life Safety elements are in place, construction barriers are installed (if required), GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) requirements are met, and no construction crews are interacting with the client team in the active production spaces. Upon final sign off of this list, the client is free to occupy the space, however this process may be subject to the approval of the Township and/or Authority having Jurisdiction. In this case, the Township provided the project with a “TCO” or Temporary Certificate of Occupancy.

What is a TCO? A Temporary Certificate of Occupancy is a conditional occupancy permit issued by project Code Officials or AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) for a period of time that allows the user to occupy the space while there are still construction tasks remaining completion. Elements of life safety (i.e., Fire Protection, Emergency Lighting, Fire Alarm) must be active to receive a TCO. Be sure to check with your Building Inspector or AHJ if TCO’s are offered before planning them into a construction schedule.

Andrew Laux is a detail-oriented project manager with demonstrated success in building client relationships through effective project management. Andrew has managed projects across multiple industry sectors including corporate interior office space, industrial and manufacturing real estate, healthcare construction and renovations, and Capital Improvement projects.

Watchdog Real Estate Project Management
Watchdog Real Estate Project Management is a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Management as well as additional blog posts can be found at www.watchdogpm.com
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