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Move records between office locations

This advice provides practical guidance on the relocation of records, in all formats, when moving offices.

1. Prepare for the move

In many cases a team will be created to oversee the move. Make sure that records are included as part of the relocation plan.

Consider:

  • the details of the move–who will be affected, when it will be happening and the facilities in the new location
  • who will be doing the work–internal staff or external contractors
  • new location facilities–how much storage space is available at the new location and its suitability for records
  • security precautions–sensitive and high security records will require special handling considerations
  • tracking records–when records are in transit they are more vulnerable to loss, damage or theft.

2. Identify records that need to be moved

Work out what records need to be moved to the new location. This may be all of the records of your agency or just a portion.

Look at all of the affected records and any requirements for their continuing management, including:

  • paper-based records
  • digital records stored on shared drives or within an eDRMS, business system, or database, including emails
  • inactive, closed and/or legacy records
  • records in other formats e.g. plans, photos, microfilm, contacts databases
  • any backups of electronic records or databases
  • any equipment, hardware or business systems needed to manage and/or access your records
  • control records e.g. indexes, registers, and any metadata that ensures the continuity of the record over time and/or documents their administrative history
    Note: Control records and metadata about the records may be stored with the records or separately.
  • any specific storage requirements for the records, including the amount of space needed and environmental controls
  • what records are needed for the continuation of business and which ones aren’t–it’s a good idea to know this so you are aware of which records are needed right up until the move and immediately afterwards.

3. Apply retention and disposal schedules

Identify what records can be legally destroyed and what records can be transferred to Queensland State Archives or to secondary storage–this will significantly reduce the volume of records that need to be moved.

The following posters can be used to remind staff that records can’t be destroyed without the appropriate approvals. The posters can be modified to suit your needs.

4. Moving records

Packing and moving records

When packing physical records, you will need to:

  • securely pack records in appropriate boxes/packaging to minimise or prevent damage in transit
  • include a box or contents list
  • label boxes to identify their delivery location
  • make sure records are not left unattended, particularly for sensitive records.

Your IT team will need to help move/transfer any digital records, business systems and associated hardware. Make sure that all digital records and metadata remain accessible and useable afterwards.

Checking office areas

When relocating offices people generally focus on their own work areas e.g. individual workstations.

You may need to check or get staff to check filing cabinets, desk drawers, cupboards and behind furniture and equipment to ensure that no records have inadvertently been left behind.

Tracking and checking records

You should know where files and records are at all times during a move. If you don’t have a specific lead team in charge of the move, you may need to appoint somebody to monitor the moving process. They could be responsible for checking the loading/unloading of boxes to ensure any damage or loss is identified and followed-up early.

At the new location

Unpack the boxes of records and place them into the storage facilities in the new location as soon as practicable. You may need to prioritise this according to what records are needed immediately and which ones aren’t. Some work areas might also need to be up and running again sooner than others as well so keep that in mind.

Your IT team should help you check digital records and metadata are complete and accessible. All associated hardware and software should also be functioning correctly.

5. Resources