by Jennifer Luoni and Lauren Nowicki
The manufacturing sector requires agile, high performance for processes and product production. The design of these facilities necessitates the same dynamic acumen. As a methodology, design build is an ideal solution. At Dacon we have found that 40% of our annual business demand is from manufacturing, due to the flexibility to adapt to changing demand, increases in technology and evolving processes. A brisk evolution, there is never an actual finality of design, rather a continuum of adjustment. As such, it is the sector’s nuances itself which drives design build demand.
A food production client looking to expand within the Andover, Mass. area sought to adapt an existing building. While at the onset there was an understanding of required processes and equipment required to create the new food product, methodology could not be finalized until midpoint of the project. How the food would be packaged post assembly was unknown given the new state-of-the-art technology being installed. As such, a work schedule was created allowing flexibility until critical endpoints. This enabled the client to take decisive action at points when cost and schedule would be impacted, while having open-ended time in the interim to explore technological solutions.
An additional challenge common to the design of food manufacturing facilities is the variation in equipment itself. Not only is machinery sourced with different vendors, but countries as well. Both large and small variations in performance are amendable by design build. Flexibility is built into the process and the unknown is embraced by the collective team, creating active problem solving and progressive solutions rather than a bottleneck to final answers.
Within 14 months, this food production facility was online. The renovation of an existing pre-engineered building, correct building methodology and the addition of 9,000sf achieved time, technology, cost and performance goals. Had the client not selected design build, project planning would have taken 12 months. Design build enabled the client to be comfortable working with unknown factors, propelling the project forward.
The need for streamlined processes and evolving technology within food manufacturing will never cease. Within the last five years, manufacturers have expressed an increased need for design agility within food creation. This same demand is paralleled by design and construction services. Traditional construction methodology struggles within this space due to fixed work scopes and disjointed processes of architect versus general contractor, thereby creating a lack of ownership and an impasse that only design build can circumvent.
Jennifer Luoni is director of operations – architecture, and Lauren Nowicki is chief communications officer at Dacon Corporation.