Owners of food and beverage facilities often wonder what value an architect or engineer offers to their project. Some owners think they already know exactly what their plant requires, and others rely solely on the contractor to correct every unprecedented issue in the construction phase. These strategies might be viable sometimes, or in the short term. However, in the long run, the knowledge and experience architects and engineers bring to a project can create a final result with greater value.
When immersed in the day-to-day operations of a facility, it can be difficult to balance the immediate needs of a project with long-term possibilities and requirements. A qualified architect or engineer will be able to step back to look at the facility’s needs from a different perspective. Their experience and relative distance means they can offer a holistic solution that will maximize value and minimize cost.
Before construction, an architect or engineer will evaluate several key questions, including:
- Is an addition needed to expand production or is there trapped capacity within the existing space?
- What arrangement allows for safest production flow?
- What layout allows for personnel to safely do their work and minimize potential cross contamination?
- Will the existing structure and finishes work?
- Is fire protection or fire separation required?
- How can air flow and pressurization minimize cross contamination?
- Where will the waste flow?
- What is needed for backflow prevention?
- Can the existing utility systems support process and facility changes?
In the age of information, a quick Google search can provide answers to many simple, black and white problems. However, for complex problems, there is no substitute for in-depth knowledge and experience. When a minor change to a single variable could mean a dramatic and undesirable modification in the end result, it’s best to bring in outside help.
A qualified architect or engineer can provide the invaluable ability to foresee these types of situations, ask the right questions, and find alternate approaches. In the end, an outside perspective can wind up saving the project a lot of time, effort, and money. For vital projects, this wisdom is best not to omit.