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10 Crucial Steps To Planning Your Manufacturing Plant's Construction

Constructing a new manufacturing plant or expanding your current facility can be an exciting and sometimes frustrating process. There are plenty of challenges that can arise along the way, so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible. It is helpful to have a fairly good understanding of the different steps required to plan and manage your construction project—steps that lead up to you being handed the keys and the O&M manuals.

By understanding the process and choosing the right industrial contractor to be your building partner, you will be well on your way to a successful construction project that will stay within your budget, finish on time, and meet your expectations.

1. Location & Land Acquisition

If you’re building a new manufacturing plant, the first thing to think about is location and what kind of land acquisition you’ll need to make. You’ll need to be sure you have plenty of space for your needs, including loading docks, employee parking, and any other needs you have based on the type of plant you plan on constructing. Additionally, an analysis of potential barriers such as wetlands, infrastructure, and potential economic incentives should be considered at this time.

2. Permits & Approvals

The next step is to consider what permits and approvals you’ll need before you can begin construction. This can be a difficult and daunting step, so this is the perfect time to involve your building contractor—if not before. Depending upon your situation, you could have several different layers of approvals needed to allow construction. Local zoning codes, protective covenants, stormwater management, site plan approval, state plan approval, and local permitting are common on most projects. If you don't understand the process, this can take a serious amount of time.

3. Financing, Grants, Loans & TIF

Once you know where you’ll be constructing your plant and you have the appropriate permits, it’s time to think about financing. In addition to conventional project financing methods, your project may qualify for local, state, or federal grants, TIF funding, or special project considerations depending on where you plan to build. An experienced construction partner can help educate and navigate.

4. Design & Concept

The design and concept phase is one of the most important, and it’s also one that people are most eager to get to. During this step, which takes place during the preconstruction phase of the project, you and your contractor will begin to visualize what your manufacturing plant or addition will look like and you’ll begin the process of designing the building.

This step can take some time, and the end result may not look exactly like what you had envisioned. Being flexible and working with experts to help you design a manufacturing plant will help youmeet all of your needs and include the features you want.

You should also avoid focusing solely on the aesthetics of your plant and pay special attention to the details. Plan for storage room, employee common areas, and other space needs that you will have that you might not have previously thought about.



Design Gallery


5. Delivery System (GC, CM, DB, etc.)

After your design and concept are ready, the next step is to determine your system of delivery. Will you need a GC (general contractor), and/or a CM (construction manager)? This is the time to think about who you will need to have in place and what experience they will need to have to begin building.

Is your schedule and budget tight? You may want to consider the design-build delivery method, which is a growing trend in the construction industry due to its cost and time-saving benefits. Unlike the traditional design-bid-build method, in which a project owner must manage two separate contracts between the designer and contractor, design-build promotes a collaborative environment where all key project players work under one team and contract to achieve the same goal—the project’s overall success.

We take a deeper dive into the top three benefits of the design-build process here!

6. Timeline

A key component to your new facility’s construction project is the construction project timeline. Creating and utilizing a strong yet flexible construction project timeline before breaking ground can help your team be prepared for all phases in your construction project. The project timeline can help predict and plan financing terms, relocation activities, production forecasts and many other elements that transcend beyond the physical construction of the new plant.

There are many variables that can affect the project timeline. Some are out of your control (weather, for instance), but there are many that you can control (see #10). For the most part, better advance planning on your part will help ensure the project finishes on time and within budget.

Looking for some advice on how you can effectively plan your construction project timeline? Click here!

7. Specialized Equipment Purchases

Depending on the type of manufacturing plant you are building or expanding, you may need to purchase specialized equipment. For example, food manufacturing plants have unique equipment needs, such as freezers and cooling spaces, compared to other types of manufacturing plants. Don't forget to include these items in your overall pro forma analysis, as overhead cranes and intelligent lifting devices may be needed and should be planned for in advance.

8. Planning for a Future Renovation or Expansion

It may seem like a long way away, but thinking about any future renovations or expansions can help you build now. If you build your manufacturing plant in a way that will make it easier to expand later on, your plant becomes scalable. Ensure there is enough property for expansion and layout operations so disruption will be minimized.

Read our blog post for the “5 Key Indicators” it's time to update your commercial facility or manufacturing plant. The age and condition of your commercial building, business needs, and overall employee safety and satisfaction are all things you should consider when making this decision.

9. Building Construction & Grounds

Before you break ground, there are a few more considerations to be made. How will your building be constructed? Will it be concrete or metal? What type of lighting will be used? Do you want your building to be as environmentally friendly as possible? Also consider planning for total occupancy, floor loads, clear span, ceiling heights, power needs, HVAC requirements, and other needs your manufacturing plant will have to become fully functional.

10. Hiring the Right Building Services Partner

Although the process of building or expanding a manufacturing plant can be daunting, you can help it go as smoothly as possible by working with a trusted building services partner. When you’re not sure what the next step should be, a contractor experienced in building the type of facility you need can best guide you. Your commercial building partner will work with you to ensure that everything goes according to plan and will have no problem communicating with you and your staff along the way.

A.C.E. Building Service is your one-stop commercial and industrial builder, offering comprehensive design-build contractor services as a single source for all your facility needs. We are proud to be an industry-leading Butler Builder® for over 50 years, providing our customers with fast, affordable, and versatile pre-engineered metal building solutions. From concept to construction, we are your trusted partner with you every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about building or expanding your manufacturing plant. Call today at 920-682-6105 or schedule a free consultation.

The best questions to ask before you select an industrial contractor eBook | A.C.E. Building Service

Topics: Butler Metal Building, Industrial Construction

Written by Chris Herzog

Chris is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin - Platteville where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management. In addition, he is a LEED accredited professional (LEED-AP). He began his career with A.C.E. in 2005 as an estimator/project manager and later held the responsibilities of business development and marketing before assuming the role of President in 2021. In addition to the overall management and leadership of the company, he continues to build relationships with clients, serves at the board level in several community organizations, and ensures that the company's core values are upheld and at the center of every project.