Stanford University

Lab Shutdown

Laboratory shutdown (also referred to as “deactivation” or “decommissioning”) is the process whereby all hazardous materials, wastes, and contamination are removed from a lab space that is being vacated. Many activities associated with lab moves require a long lead time, and planning is critical to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

To ensure that all hazardous materials impacted by laboratory renovation are handled and disposed of safely, and in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations, the following responsibilities must be met.


  • Move all equipment, glassware, supplies and any chemical, radioactive, or biohazardous materials still in use to their new designated location.
  • Tag all hazardous waste and request a pick-up.
  • Request a terminal radiation survey (if applicable) from EH&S. EH&S will remove or deface all radiation warning signs and labels following successful completion of the survey.
  • Disinfect all surfaces, glassware, equipment, etc. associated with biohazardous materials. Coordinate disinfection of biosafety cabinets with approved vendor. Remove or deface biohazard warning signs and labels following disinfections.
  • Ensure all equipment, benchtops, shelving, storage cabinets, fume hoods, and other accessible surfaces are free of visible chemical residue. Clean surfaces/equipment as necessary and manage cleaning materials as hazardous waste (if applicable).

Project/construction managers

  • Request a hazardous materials building survey from EH&S prior to construction activity.
  • Notify contractors of all hazardous materials or conditions present in their work area.
  • Keep departments, researchers, and EH&S appraised of the construction schedule.


  • Perform a survey to identify hazardous building materials (e.g. asbestos, PCB light ballasts, mercury pull stations, etc.).
  • Submit a Closure Permit Application to the City or County and coordinate agency inspections.
  • Inspect and evaluate accessible and non-accessible surfaces such as fumehood duct interiors for potential contamination.
  • Coordinate abatement contractors and provide oversight of abatement operations.

General contractors

  • Ensure all decommissioning work, closure, and abatement (to be done by others) has been completed prior to the start of construction.
  • Comply with the EH&S Hazardous Materials Procedures, as well as all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
  • If any hidden hazardous conditions or materials are discovered, stop work and report them to the Project Manager immediately.

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