University of Glasgow, Joseph Black Building

The University of Glasgow aimed to enhance its position as one of the world’s great, broad-based, research-intensive universities by refurbishing and updating the iconic Joseph Black Building.

Client Requirements
These projects would consist of the relocation of sensitive laboratory equipment to enable the external facade fabric repairs, and the internal fire protection upgrades.

The requirements included the phased relocation of approximately 400 staff, to temporary accommodation, and would consist of the moving of sensitive lab equipment, offices, teaching materials, resources and equipment.

Once the replacement and fabric works were complete, the equipment would need to be moved back to their original locations.

The project also involved the internal relocations, decommissioning and recommissioning of office furniture equipment (PC’s, monitors, small printers), and a variety of scientific equipment.

During the project, Pickfords’ project management team was presented with the continuous challenge of operating in extreme weather conditions. The impact of the pandemic and the resulting lockdown meant that Pickfords had to quickly adapt operational practices for the safety of the operational team and the University’s staff and students.

Communication was a key factor in the planning and success of this project, so Pickfords produced a key contact list very early in the planning process.

Following a planning meeting with the University a move programme was agreed that confirmed what was moving, when, and where to within the Glasgow campus. This also formed the basis of the future planning meetings and underpinned the communication of the project to the staff, students and all other project sponsors.

Pickfords supplied and delivered all resources necessary to protect and move the University’s sensitive equipment.

The project team arranged for the delivery and collection of crates from individual floors, labs or offices as specified by the University.

Following pre-removal planning meetings and full pre-move site walk-rounds, the project team agreed the move principles, methodologies, and co-ordination with the University representatives.

Pickfords provided the University with a flexible resource for this project, to counteract changing scenarios of the project that took place, both due to weather conditions, as well as the operational disruption of COVID 19.

Pickfords packed, relocated, unpacked and placed items including:

  • General office and departmental filing
  • Teaching resources and materials
  • Laboratory equipment (which included specialist lab packing to minimise dust and debris).

Approach to health and safety in a ‘live environment’
The health and safety of the all staff, students, public and the operational team was a high priority for the University’s management team.

Within this environment students continued in the building while the relocations were taking place. To mitigate any risk, Pickfords stopped working while the classes were out during breaks, lunch or as students vacated the building at the end of the day.

Despite last-minute changes affecting the refurbishment works, Pickfords was able to adjust and adapt the relocation programme by establishing effective contingency measures.

The project was completed on time and within budget through diligent project management and regular communication with all stakeholders.

Pickfords’ removal teams provided this service while working within the University’s and its own Covid safety guidelines to ensure the safety of all. This included the safe use of PPE, frequent washing and sanitising of hands, and the daily washing of uniforms.

As a result of this successful relocation project, further phases of this refurbishment project will continue to be managed by Pickfords.

Glasgow University is well on its way in achieving its long term vision to provide its staff and students with an extraordinary upgrade and refurbishment that sensitively respects its history, whilst also creating a world class campus for its current and future generations of students.

Our Company: business services

Being market leaders in the industry, our clients benefit from our breadth and depth of experience and expertise in business moves.

 Pickfords provides a range of integrated services: 

  • Business Moving – Pickfords specialise in business removals; office removals for organisations of all sizes; specialist commercial relocations to both private and public sector
  • Storage Services – Pickfords storage services cover the short and long-term storage of business effects. With a national network of branches across the UK, we can provide local storage or storage at multiple locations 
  • Environmental Disposal – Pickfords offers a recycling and re-use service of business assets and furniture. Pickfords will resell, re-use or re-home items that have reached their end-of-life and will provide certification to evidence waste management and environmental credentials 
  • Corporate Moving and relocation Services – Pickfords has proven experience in managing all aspects of domestic and international relocations 
  • IT Relocation / De-and Re-commissioning – Pickfords offers a professional IT relocation service, which can include full de-and re-commissioning of business servers by trained IT experts 
  • Refurbishment, Fit-out and Maintenance Services – Pickfords, as a principal contractor, specialises in commercial fit-out, refurbishment and maintenance services
  • Furniture Supply – Pickfords offers a wide range of desk furniture suitable for various office environments. Working in conjunction with the client, Pickfords can assist with the specification, procurement and installation of office furniture, providing post-move project support via our national team of furniture fitters.

New Covent Garden Flower Market relocation

Covent Garden’s Flower Market required a removal company to transfer a wide variety of plants, flowers and gardening accessories from Nine Elms to a new location opposite Battersea Power Station.


  • New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the UK
  • The Flower Market offers an extensive range of flowers, plants, foliages and sundries, providing a central supply to 75% of London’s florists


  • Covent Garden’s Flower Market required a removal company to transfer a wide variety of plants, flowers and gardening accessories from Nine Elms to a new location opposite Battersea Power Station
  • Each stall was given a specific date and time to be moved, which had to be met precisely to ensure all moves were completed before the new Market opened
  • Special consideration was required for the largest stall, which needed relocating before the rest of the Market


  • Vinci hired Pickfords Business Solutions on behalf of The Flower Market following a successful bid process and a number of recent collaborations with the leading construction company
  • Pickfords met with the Covent Garden Market Authority, Market stallholders and Vinci every week for six weeks prior to the relocation to plan the moving process to minimise disruption to trading
  • Pickfords created a move plan that included up to 110 crew members and 17 vehicles each day, utilising 500 moving crates in 200 cages within 10-12 hour shifts
  • Plants of unusual size or shape were specially planned for to protect against damage, including the use of specially made Dutch trolleys for certain species
  • Movement of the largest stall began nine days prior and completed before the rest of the Market


  • All stalls were moved with minimal disruption to trading and within their allocated timeframe ahead of the Market reopening

Royal Papworth Hospitalx

The relocation of an entire operational hospital to a new purpose built facility

Royal Papworth Hospital was established in 1916 in the village of Bourn and grew from a hospital specialising in tuberculosis treatments to become the country’s leading heart and lung hospital.
Over its 100 year history, the Royal Papworth Hospital added buildings to its ever expanding campus and eventually outgrew its facility. A new modern hospital was commissioned on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the relocation of the entire hospital was planned for 2019.

Client Requirements
The Trust needed to move the hospital 16 miles down the road, including its operating theatres, Cath labs, servers and IT equipment and critical care wards. The deadline for the project was critical and it was a requirement that the hospital be open to continue planned heart and lung operations. The old hospital was a warren of narrow corridors and wards, which presented access and logistical challenges to Pickfords’ removal teams

The relocation took eighteen months to plan. The project manager created a meticulous plan which took into account the inter-dependencies of departments and included risk assessments and contingencies. Prior to the move, the hospital began reducing patient numbers and moving small groups with staff to the new campus in what was described as a “military grade manoeuvre”. Pickfords Business Solutions deployed seven trucks each day, with each one, making two shuttle journeys between hospitals per day. Over 100,000 cubic feet of items were moved and it took 400 separate working shifts to complete the move over the two week project. 175 hospital beds were transferred, 302 metal cages of equipment and 2,426 bar-coded crates were used.
The equipment in Papworth’s hospital’s Critical Care wards had to be carefully moved and placed into position so the theatre and ward staff could test them to ensure the hospital could be fully operational from the beginning of May.

Following the relocation, Royal Papworth Hospital was fully operational by the planned deadline and the first operations took place on the first day of opening.

Chairman of NHS Royal Papworth Hospital Professor John Wallwork:
“Royal Papworth is our crown jewel, we had to move our culture as well as our wards and equipment. The move was so well worked out, everybody’s worked so hard, the move has gone very smoothly”

The European Banking Authority

International Relocation of office equipment

The European Banking Authority is a regulatory agency. Its activities include conducting stress tests on European banks to increase transparency in the European financial system and identifying weaknesses in banks’ capital structures.

Prior to Brexit, the Authority was based in London, but following the referendum the European Commission was forced to move the EBA’s headquarters to a major European city that operated within the boundaries of the EU.

Paris was chosen as its new Head Office location and after a thorough procurement process, Pickfords was selected to manage and undertake this important project.

Client requirements

EBA required a two phase move, to take place over two consecutive weekends:

  • Phase 1 to take place on a Saturday and concluding on the Sunday, consisting of the moving of conference furniture including 100 meeting tables, 400 stackable chairs, empty cabinets etc. from London to Paris.
  • Phase 2, was to take place the following Saturday, and again concluding on the Sunday. This would require the unplugging, labelling and placing in crates of desktop IT equipment, personal crates, task chairs, pedestals and cupboards of 265 staff from London; and then plugging, placing crates, task chairs, pedestals and cupboards according to the pre-agreed plans in Paris.


  • Due to a public holiday taking place in Paris during the relocation timeframe, driving restrictions were in place. This significantly reduced the time Pickfords had to complete the relocation. Pickfrords arranged for large vehicles and staff with cross country haulage experience which meant that the Project Mangement team completed EBA’s requirement within the reduced timeframe, and also passed on cost savings to EBA as less vehicles were required for the project.
  • Height restrictions at the goods delivery entrance of the new office in Paris meant that artic lorries would not fit. Pickfords provided smaller vehicles onsite so that the goods could be transferred prior to entering the building.
  • Service lift at both sites also had time restrictions which had to be observed.


The services offered to EBA:

  • Two dedicated Move ‘Project’ Managers were on-site each day of the project
  • IT Technicians decommissioned and recommissioned all desktop IT equipment
  • Experienced Fitters carefully dismantled director desks, executive desks, meeting tables and shelving units required to be moved and rebuild once delivered to the new location
  • Provision of Vehicles both long haul and tranship to accommodate the volume of effects to be moved during each phase, plus established contingency measures for back-up vehicles where required
  • The majority of office furniture for the 265 staff would not be making the journey to Paris, so Pickfords ensured that the redundant office effects were either donated to local schools/charities or sold on via our network of resellers. All proceeds for sold items were used to fund the clearance project.


  • Pickfords helped local organisations and schools benefit in a positive way from EBA’s furniture donations.
  • EBA benefitted from cost savings due to allocation of larger vehicles for the move.
  • The move and clearance was completed on time and within budget ensuring the timeframe requested was adhered to.