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7 Things To Consider When Expanding Your Food Facility

Collage of images from food facility refurbishments projects

As your business grows, you will want to start thinking about building an extension to your food facility to make sure that your production can meet demand. Whether you are installing a new factory or adding to an existing one, there are several important factors to consider before you start the design and planning installation.

1. Construction Regulations

According to the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015, construction work is defined as ‘engineering construction work’, a term that is often misunderstood. Many different activities fall under this heading, including adding an extension to your food processing factory and changing the internal layout, as well as building a new facility.

CDM regulations are the responsibility of the designer, contractor and facility owner, but the owner has overall responsibility and needs to ensure that the construction of the food processing facility is set up so that the project controls the risks related to the health and safety of those who are involved.

Further guidance is available in this PDF.

2. Fire Risk

One of the elements that is often overlooked when planning a new extension is fire safety, not only of those working in the building but also its contents. A business impact analysis should be carried out before any design work starts, which will form part of your health and safety planning and forms part of the CDM regulations.

It is recommended that areas of the building which could be high risk are designed and installed using firewalls, which can contain a fire for a certain period of time (ranging from 60 minutes to four hours) and production facilities should be sub-divided from any warehouse by a two-hour firewall.

3. Maintaining Production

Expanding a food facility whilst production is still ongoing is something that needs to be carefully managed to guarantee product integrity.

Food facilities are designed to be hygienic, so maintaining these standards requires good communication between the project managers involved in construction and the team in charge of hygiene control. The installation plan should include a risk assessment to avoid contamination including separate entrances for those working on production and construction and any areas where installation is happening to be properly sealed off.

There should also be daily inspections to ensure that hygiene standards are being maintained.

4. Installation Standard

Working with an experienced team who understand the conditions required for food production is the best way to ensure that your installation meets all the necessary standards. The International Association of Cold Storage Construction promotes these standards of practice and members are committed to excellence in the cold storage industry.

Any installation should be completed by a qualified installation team using food-safe panels, with appropriate U-value and fire rating, following the manufacturer guidelines.

5. Doors & Windows

The ancillaries to your new food production facility should be given as much consideration as the walls. They also need to meet industry standards, avoiding any potential contamination as well as being easy to clean. Doors and windows should also be fit-for-purpose in terms of accessibility.

For example, cold rooms and freezers require insulated doors and if regular access is needed, a rapid rise door can help keep temperature changes to a minimum.

6. Adaptability

When planning the design of your new food facility extension, it’s important to not think of your current requirements, but also how things may change in the future. With careful consideration, future needs can be incorporated into the design.

For example, fully suspended ceilings to ensure that partition walls can be moved without causing unnecessary cost and disruption. Avoiding the use of permanent fixtures such as services and pipework which could impact future plans. Specifying high-value items such as doors, M&E equipment with future use in mind.

7. A Facility That Works For You

You will definitely understand the needs of your business better than anyone else, but when it comes to ensuring that the facility helps you achieve these successfully, it’s important to work with experts who have the technical and product knowledge to offer cost-effective solutions for your food business. This ensures that design decisions in the early stages prevent issues such as excess condensation through dead air, physical damage to the walls/ceilings by handling equipment or even insurance cover when you start to use the project.

Stancold has been doing this for over 75 years and all of our food facilities are custom designed and fitted. If you have any questions or just want to understand more about what you need to consider when building your new food facility, don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a call. You can also send us an email and we’ll get back to you.

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