Planning a Design-Build Project In Uncertain Times

Seeing things through. You can count on ESI in good times and in bad to find a solution to all your food facility challenges! Today, we focus on the initial project planning phase, DESIGN.

When designing a facility, ESI breaks down the areas by zone, ambient and refrigerated, in order to correctly size the project and proper cold storage elements.

Zones of Control:

1. The design should include a complete separation of production areas that have raw and/or ready-to-eat products.

2. This includes separate welfare areas for employees who handle either type of product. Including locker rooms, cafeterias, and additional support areas.

3. Separation is a key defense against the spread of COVID-19, but additional separation beyond what is required for food safety will be a tough hurdle. The additional separation in employee space still must keep them safe and allow them to do their jobs.

4. Additional separation could impact operating procedures, resulting in more walls, doors, automated processes, interlocked spaces, and screenings for companies to get the job done.

Temperature & Moisture Control:

1. Early in the design process the function of every room should be defined clearly so room temperatures can be determined for each room intended use.

2. After temperatures are identified, specifying the proper mechanical systems in the facility will be critical to eliminating food safety and harborage issues.

3. Generally, COVID-19 can survive for shorter periods at high temperatures and higher humidity than in cooler or dryer environments. While there is not enough data to show if or what the temperature cutoff for inactivation is, this could result in modified operating processes. As more information is available, how temperatures impact COVID makes selecting/designing the proper mechanical systems even more critical.


1. Identify construction materials early in the design process based on their potential durability to your wash-down process. Identify what cleaning agents will be used along with temperature variations to ensure selected materials will meet requirements.

2. Understanding how cleaning and maintenance of the building, as well as the equipment, should be clearly detailed in the design process to ensure the proper amount of space needed around potential constraints is included in each room.

3. COVID-19 can spread from person to person in close contact. Which means it’s possible that a person can get it by touching a surface or object that contaminated and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. This might create the need for additional cleaning processes or preventative measures be put in place. Solutions like additional sanitation throughout the day, more touch-less equipment and/or making proper face protection available may be a new norm for operating procedures and will be determined by facility owner/operators.


We’re so confident that you’ll find our fresh approach to be the solution you’re looking for that we’ll waive ALL professional engineering service costs, expenses and fees for an initial feasibility meeting! To see how we've helped our clients click here.

Contact us today!

  • Check all that apply.
  • Select one.


ESI Group is with you every step of the way.    Throughout the project journey you will have a dedicated sales excecutive to assist you with unmatched service.  With our extensive experience we can provide you with design ideas, value engineering alternatives, budget and schedule managment.  Our team is ready to serve you whether you’re planning for an addition, expansion or greenfield facility.  Don’t know which way to go we have tools to guide you to the right decision.

ESI's VP Automated Warehousing





Mark Livesay – Pennsylvania

VP Automated Warehousing

M: 717.940.4288

ESI Regional Manager





Andy Nelson – Nebraska

Regional Manager

M: 402.850.1327





Ben Walters – Wisconsin

Regional Sales Manager

M: 920.979.8290

ESI's Regional Manager





Maxine Ellis – California

Regional Manager

M: 925.400.8509





Bobby DeGregorio – South Carolina

Regional Sales Manager

M: 843.450.7112

Need a solution? See how we can help.

Contact Us Today