Going the Extra Mile in the Design-Build of a Food Facility

ESI Fall 2019 NewsletterHow special efforts in the planning phases of a food facility project can help control costs down the line.

Today’s design-build projects go beyond steel-and-beam projects. With consumers wanting more transparency and more accountability from food and beverage companies, sustainable and environmentally friendly distribution and production facilities are becoming more common and a serious factor in the conception of a greenfield or renovation project.

One way for food facility owners to add to their corporate social responsibility policies is to achieve LEED certification. “There is no denying LEED certification comes with added costs,” says Tom Unterweger, project manager for ESI. “Additional engineering, material handling and reporting all contribute against a project’s budget.”

Not to mention those miscellaneous costs like general conditions, which includes per diems, temporary services, equipment rentals, salaries and travel, says Mike Schwartz vice president of operations for ESI. However, those costs can be controlled through good communication with the project team and keeping tight schedule controls.

If a food and beverage company is considering LEED certification for a food project they should first evaluate their overall commitment to sustainability, suggests Unterweger. The company should not stop there with its evaluation of commitment, but also critically consider the effort required to perform the practices that make sustainability possible beyond dollars and cents.

“In the short term cases, this can change the typical design/build process. In long term cases, it can alter a facilities operations long after construction has finished,” he adds. “In all cases, it results in a change that affects the environment and client in a positive way.”

This long-term approach to the operation of a food and beverage distribution or processing plant changes the role of a design-build company. Design and construction techniques used for food and beverage facilities built today have become complex and highly specialized, says Michael Kopp, senior mechanical design engineer for ESI. Because of this, architects, engineers, subcontractors, system integrators and other specialists must work together on projects.

ESI offers a dedicated commissioning agent throughout the design and construction process. ESI strives to validate that the building design meets the owner’s expectations, that the building is constructed to meet the design documents and that the systems operate to maximize comfort and energy efficiency.

“Commissioning is a value-added resource in which our clients can expect to benefit in areas such as cost, safety, comfort, reliability, energy use, staff acceptance and knowledge of the building systems, adds Kopp.”

Quick Facts:

  • In the US, there are a total of 1,529 industrial manufacturing facilities that are either LEED registered or certified.
  • In the US, there are 1,566 warehouse and distribution facilities that are either LEED registered or certified.
  • The total number of LEED-certified buildings in the US has grown to 34,144 in 2019.
  • The number of US commercial LEED projects certified in the second quarter of 2019 is 504.

Source: Data from the US Green Building Council.

Client Testimonial:

“Finally, we have a facility where we can work professionally and productively and take our business to a new level.  We couldn’t have done this without ESI’s commitment and support.  I cannot tell you how grateful we are that you stood behind us, took up the challenge, and helped us get where we are today.”

– John Szurek, US Foods

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