Task Estimates That Can Trip Up Your Facility Relocation Project

Facility moves involve a series of carefully coordinated steps. In some cases, the plan may call for one group or function to move out of an area while another moves in behind it. Other relocation projects could see whole business units moving their base of operations to an entirely new location. Tricky task estimates can make it challenging to assign durations to facility relocation project activities.

These projects aren’t always high visibility, but they’re typically high risk, even if they involve only small numbers of people and short distances. Because the work of employees and their respective groups is disrupted during the move process, it’s critically important to ensure that everyone’s relocation time is minimized, and their new areas are ready to go quickly.

Knowing how tightly scheduled most facility move projects are, your team should be aware of some activity durations that can be surprisingly tricky to estimate. To be sure your relocation goes off without a hitch, consider if you want to focus some extra attention on estimating these task durations.

The time needed to disassemble, move, and reassemble fragile, large, heavy, or cumbersome equipment and machinery can be extremely difficult to estimate. Individual components may not come off (or reattach) as easily as expected. You may discover it’s impractical to reuse the original hardware when putting everything back together, slowing down your timeline while you source replacement parts. The vendors responsible for these project activities can help you identify other tasks that might not go as planned and assist in forecasting how long the most likely glitches typically take to resolve. If utility connections are part of the move process—power, water, gas, etc.—include those experts in the conversation, too.

The time necessary to transport hazardous materials isn’t always clear at the outset. You may need to schedule activities, such as transportation of materials over public roadways or through areas with restricted access, for certain times of the day or days of the week. If permits are necessary, they might include detailed stipulations regarding limitations on material volumes or weights, or if materials must or cannot travel via a particular route. The full breadth of these requirements and restrictions will be necessary as you develop your task duration estimates.

Renovation and construction activities generally have reliable historical data available to help inform task durations, but estimates may need to shift if modification timing will be influenced by external factors. For example, you might not be allowed to conduct any highly disruptive activities during regular work hours if the location shares a wall with an adjacent business. It can be similarly challenging to plan how long it will take to unload incoming construction materials if there’s a limit on the length of time the delivery truck can impede the roadway.

Extreme weather can significantly affect task durations, especially when planning labor-intensive activities. During hot weather, you may need to schedule more breaks than usual to prevent workers from becoming overheated. You might also need to adjust task durations to avoid the hottest part of the day. Cold weather could require additional time to allow equipment to come up to a safe operating temperature.

Technology infrastructure relocation and setup has become a core component in facility relocations, and this step has the potential to bring your schedule to a halt if something goes wrong. Because most business operations are now heavily dependent on technology to function, the availability of network and/or internet access is often the deciding factor for whether your relocation can happen or not. Given the highly time-sensitive nature of technology infrastructure availability, it’s not often feasible to continue a move when network access isn’t going to be ready in time. 

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