When business is booming and your facility is working at its maximum production capacity, expanding your space is a sensible next step in ensuring that you can continue to meet client demand. Whether this involves expanding within your existing premises or taking on an additional site, it goes without saying that there is a lot to think about to guarantee that the internal design will meet your operational needs.
With the expertise and installation experience of a specialist fit-out contractor, and perhaps structural guidance from an architect, the parties can work collaboratively to fully optimise the available space. Having an initial plan to present to those involved will provide them with a good level of information to be able to assist with the project at hand. What are some of the key points to consider for our food facility design?
A fundamental area of understanding is how the space is best laid out to meet your operational needs. Consider where processing areas, packaging lines and loading bays should sit within the layout in order for it to make the most logistical sense. Segregating the different areas is easily achieved with a food-safe panel system to ensure that hygiene standards can be maintained.
Where material-handling may be necessary, consider the design flow so that long travel distances are alleviated, therefore maintaining efficiency of machines and their operating costs. Similarly, foot traffic should also be taken into account to reduce potential staff bottlenecks and avoid collisions!
High-Care & Low-Care Areas
Segregation of your high-care and low-care operations is also important to consider. High-care areas require maximum levels of hygiene to minimise product contamination and therefore must be designed to withstand strict cleaning regimes, compared to zones where basic hygiene is adequate (e.g. packaging and loading). Where staff may need to dress in relevant PPE before entering each space, changing rooms or corridors should be incorporated into the design to maintain high safety standards at all times.
If elimination of microbiological hazards is a requirement, especially for speciality production such as nut-free and gluten-free for testing processes, a cleanroom could be considered to provide an environment with more stringent ventilation and air-filtration.
The operational flow of the space then begs the question as to where equipment should be positioned. Consider your conveyors, feeders and mixing systems and whether they need to be contained within their own food-safe areas. Vision panels can be incorporated within panels to allow for easy viewing, as well as openings that can be neatly capped to accommodate overhead systems and electrical works.
When it comes to the build, how will the overarching fit-out take place in relation to equipment installation? An experienced contractor will be able to create a clear schedule of works to meet all necessary arrangements if this is the case and will negotiate with other contractors on site to achieve project efficiency.
It can be easy to overlook some of the less attractive aspects of food facility design when you’re in planning mode. While still considering exactly how every aspect will meet your operational needs, doors are a key factor in the process.
For marshalling areas and loading bays where forklifts are operational, rapid-rise doors allow for quick and easy access, whereas temperature-controlled storage areas require insulated sliding doors to maintain their operational efficiency. Any facility that possesses a fire rating must be integrated with fire-safe doors to comply with safety standards.
A design-and-build contractor will be able to provide reliable expertise on robust yet cost-effective door systems that suit your specification.
Future-Proofing the Facility
As your business continues to grow and diversify in the future, it may not be financially viable to completely re-design and accommodate each new venture. Using insulated panel systems within your facility allows for flexibility when it comes to changing requirements of the space. These systems can be repositioned and extended onto very easily at any time to suit a new specification while maintaining an aesthetically-pleasing finish.
This is also important in keeping up-to-date with food hygiene practices within the premises, where industry regulations may change and require upgrade works to take place to comply.
With over 70 years of design and installation experience, Stancold can work with you every step of the way to complete the bespoke fit-out of your space that suits your business’ operations. Whether we can advise on suitable material thicknesses or create a work schedule according to your production hours, Stancold are on hand to get your facility up and running as soon as possible.
To discuss your project’s requirements with our food & drink specialist, Sam Taylor, please get in touch on 07821 152 663 or send an enquiry here.
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