Courtney Skunda Hall
The Food + Beverage industry has been booming ever since the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Based on recent industry analysis, the global market is expected to grow from just over $6 trillion in 2022 to almost $9 trillion by 2026 with an annual growth rate of nearly 9%. From the incorporation of new technology to market-driven changes in supply chains, the industry continues to evolve with manufacturers finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with global demand. Whether you are considering building a new facility or upgrading/expanding an existing one, BE&K Building Group’s (BE&K) Food + Beverage design and construction expertise can guide you through the process.
Let’s look at five (5) key considerations Food + Beverage manufacturers should address when contemplating a new project.
1. Project Delivery Method. There are several construction delivery methods to consider when planning a new project. Each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, with some delivery methods providing greater advantages than others. Consider your project’s goals when selecting the method to best suit your needs.
Design-Bid-Build (DBB) has long been the traditional delivery method for most Food + Beverage owner installations, especially when implementing a proprietary process or manufacturing technology requiring the direct involvement of the owner’s corporate engineering department. There are two distinct phases to this approach. All design documents must be 100% complete and no construction can be performed until the entire project is bid and awarded. Under this delivery method, the work is normally procured on a Lump Sum basis. The advantages to this traditional and outdated process are few. Disadvantages include:
- Longer overall design and construction schedule duration.
- Greater risk for market cost escalation due to a delayed project start.
- Slower speed-to-market for your final product.
- Greater risk for potential change orders producing cost overruns.
- Highest degree of owner responsibility due to individual contracts with design and construction partners.
Construction Management (CM) with Design-Assist allows the owner to select the construction manager (CM) based on the CM’s qualifications, proposed team, general conditions, fee, etc. The CM becomes an early member of a collaborative design and construction team. The CM provides early preconstruction and design-assist services for the design team but a single-source point of responsibility for the owner does not exist. As design nears completion, this approach generates a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the project where final project cost savings are often shared between the owner and CM. This delivery method often produces a better value for the owner compared to DBB, especially on larger and more complex projects. Advantages include:
- Early involvement of the CM to provide value analysis/engineering solutions and constructability reviews producing healthy design checks and balances.
- Shorter overall schedule duration compared to DBB due to the CM’s early involvement and a GMP that can often be achieved by not later than 90% design.
- Faster project starts reducing overall project costs.
- Increased speed to market for your final product.
- Reduced potential change orders due to CM involvement earlier in the design process.
- Greater collaboration/communication between the owner, designer, and CM.
Design-Build (DB) is the project delivery method of choice for BE&K. In contrast to DBB and CM, DB produces a single source of contractual responsibility between the owner and design-builder for both design and construction. In pure DB, the design-builder provides the design team and coordinates the development of the project’s schematic, design development, and construction documents with a major commitment to producing overall best value for the owner. Although design and construction phase activities have different emphases, the same reporting structure and key players are in place throughout the project’s lifecycle. This method provides all the advantages provided through the CM method PLUS the following:
- Shortest overall schedule duration possible.
- Enhanced design efforts by expanding the number of design participants involved (often key trade partners are engaged early to provide design-assist services to support the primary design team).
- Allows for a phased release of design and phased permitting to begin construction early on select scope (e.g., civil, utilities, foundations, structural) long before design is fully complete.
2. Virtual Design + Construction Technology. Today’s latest design technologies are reducing project costs through greater efficiencies, especially when it comes to facility retrofits and expansions. Building Information Modeling’s (BIM) 3D technology has progressed to the point where it is now the preferred design method for industrial and commercial projects. Innovative technologies improve collaboration between design and construction teams. Recent advancements and reduction of costs for computer hardware, software, and data storage has also fostered the adoption of BIM.
BIM applications currently employed in existing facility retrofits/expansions and new construction include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ground Penetrating Rader (GPR) and/or Electromagnetic Conductivity (EM) technology is used to locate underground utilities/piping and to define the limits of foundations under existing slabs that could impact the project’s design or construction schedule.
- Laser Scanning (producing Point Clouds) is typically used in existing facilities to confirm the accuracy of “as built” drawings or define “as built” conditions if original drawings do not exist. Existing facility spaces (e.g., walls, equipment, pipe racks, electrical, etc.) are laser scanned to produce data points accurately capturing existing conditions. The data points produce a Point Cloud that is then used to deliver a photorealistic image of the area. The image can be linked using spatial monuments to develop or aid 3D modeling of existing conditions. Laser scanning technology increases design and construction accuracy, enhances prefabrication efforts, and decreases equipment installation times by ensuring tie-in locations are correct prior to field installation. This technology can also be used as a design tool for new construction.
- 3D Modeling is provided by design firms employing several different software, including Revit, Navisworks, and modern versions of AutoCAD. This software is used today to design new equipment, room expansions, building modifications, and new facilities. The 3D model is used to accurately produce all Civil, Structural, Architectural, Mechanical, Process, Electrical, Fire Protection, and Equipment design requirements. Today’s software also identifies clashes (design interferences between disciplines) prior to the issuance of construction documents and field installations. Design and construction teams can easily collaborate from remote locations, including mobile devices, to effectively execute construction through more cost-effective methods reducing owner costs.
- Virtual Reality (VR) is an additional design tool that typically uses a headset to deliver a virtual visual representation of the future installation produced from the 3D model. VR technology enables construction teams to visualize the final installed design from any location. This tool can be used to showcase the complexity of the installation and improve construction sequencing.
3. Schedule. A reliable schedule results from a collaborative effort requiring the full participation of all project team members — the owner, designer, construction manager, trade partners, and vendors. Planning, coordination, and communication reduce schedule risks and keep everyone informed. There are many ways to improve your project schedule, including the design-build delivery method and phased permitting referenced earlier in this blog. But in today’s construction market, one of the biggest factors toward maintaining or improving your project’s schedule involves the early procurement of long-lead materials and equipment. BE&K will often team early with a project’s key trade partners (e.g., mechanical, electrical, etc.) to advance the project’s design and enable the purchase of long-lead equipment. Early teaming with key trade partners also promotes advanced building information modeling, design coordination, and prefabrication efforts to support the project’s overall schedule.
4. Modular Construction. Through significant advancements in design and construction technologies addressed earlier in this blog, modular construction, sometimes referred to as “off-site construction” and “prefabrication,” has become a key design and construction strategy in recent years providing many advantages and benefits to owners. Where modular construction is possible, the disadvantages are few and the advantages are nearly limitless (due to production occurring in a controlled manufacturing environment), including:
- Increased construction safety and quality control.
- Schedule savings produced through offsite construction efforts occurring simultaneously with onsite construction readiness efforts.
- Schedule savings due to the absence of weather delays.
- Optimized labor costs.
- Reduced construction waste.
Several possibilities for modular construction opportunities include:
- Building spaces including laboratories, utility/rooms, offices, and ancillary buildings.
- Equipment skids and associated platforms for major equipment.
- Pipe racks and associated structural support.
5. Sanitary + Safety Principles. It’s imperative to choose the right firm who understands Food + Beverage sanitary design/construction principles and requirements to help guide you through the process. Safeguards must be in place, especially on projects that involve additions/expansions to existing and operational manufacturing facilities. The following provides several sanitary design and construction principles to keep in mind when planning your next project:
- Ensure proper construction sequencing and coordination with facility operations for material and equipment deliveries.
- Provide limited access and safety/sanitary checkpoints to minimize impacts to existing production areas during construction.
- Erect temporary walls to isolate new construction from existing manufacturing.
- If a crane is involved in the project:
- Ensure 100% critical safety communication with facility operations during construction.
- Establish a crane lift plan for safe execution and to minimize facility impacts during critical lifts.
- Consider the use of cranes over existing operating facilities that could impact production, require facility down times, and impact facility/personnel safety.
- Develop cost-effective yet compliant standards for construction during the design phase. Review construction details in coordination with sanitary requirements to eliminate possible future impacts to facility sanitation and food safety.
- Establish construction standards based on facility areas and locations through a sanitation details hierarchy.
- The varying detail requirements between production areas (e.g., wet washdown and sanitation) and non-production areas (e.g., warehousing and welfare areas).
- Material selection variances based on product type and facility area.
- The use of stainless steel, precast, insulated metal panels (IMP), and special coatings (e.g., paint and floors) required based on facility area.
If you are considering expanding/renovating your current Food + Beverage facility or building a new one, there’s much to consider. This blog is just the tip of the iceberg. BE&K is here to help guide you through this process. We are uniquely positioned to assist by offering industry-specific consulting services to help you determine your best next steps. BE&K has put in place more than $1 billion and 5 million sf of Food + Beverage projects throughout the United States, including new construction, expansions, and renovations. We have the experts on hand to help you determine if your space is viable for renovation or to assist in developing new manufacturing and production space.
For more information, please contact Courtney Hall at Courtney.Hall@bekbg.com.