Factory building should be designed only after a complete production plan, plant layout and equipment sequences are determined so that the building exactly fits the production needs of the plant. It is necessary to keep in mind all factors that may affect the functioning of the plant in the building. Some of the important considerations in planning factory buildings are as follows:
1. Nature of Manufacturing Process
The type of manufacturing process is the main determinant of plant buildings. The floor load, head space, bay size etc., depend on the type of machines and equipment to be used.
2. Plant Layout
The arrangement of machines, service centres and office exercise considerable influence on the design and construction of plant buildings. In fact, labour pattern should be determined first and the building should be just a shell around this design. However, provision for flexibility should be made to meet the future needs.
3. Space Requirements
The size of plant buildings depends upon space requirements for the flow and storage of materials, for location of machines, for service centres and for movement of employees. The height of the ceiling depends upon the type of equipment used. Use of overhead conveyors and tall equipment may require high roofs. But special structures and additional costs may be involved. Pits may be dug, if possible, to accommodate all equipment.
4. Material Handling
Ease in material handling assists in the reduction of manufacturing cycle time, avoids production bottlenecks and reduces material handling cost. Cranes, conveyor belts hoists, etc., are increasingly used for easy handling of materials. A reduction in the number of columns and the maintenance of the ceiling at a desirable height are significant to the use of material handling equipment. It is evident that the requirements of efficient material handling equipment affect the building design. Conversely, the characteristics of the factory building affect a firm’s ability to use this equipment efficiently.
5. Plant Protection
The building should be so designed that there is adequate protection of plant from fire, theft, etc. Sprinkler system, fire escape exits, automatic alarms, outdoor hydrant, safety lights etc., may be used for this purpose.
Lighting and illumination system within the plant exerts a significant influence on employees’ productivity and fatigue. Therefore, lighting standards should be kept in view during plant planning.
7. Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
It is quite common in large plants to provide separate structures for accommodating high pressure boilers. Their size will depend on heating requirements for production. Proper ventilation is necessary to provide adequate fresh air. Some manufacturing processes require considerable ventilation or controlled temperature and humidity. Air conditioning is particularly common in factory and other offices. Increasing costs of energy have led to new trends in heating, lighting and air conditioning. The statutory requirements of the Factories Act should also be met.
8. Service Facilities
Facilities relating to cooling towers, emergency power, compressed air, sewage treatment, etc., should also be considered in plant building. Waste disposal should be such that regulations regarding air and water pollution, etc., are not violated.
The factory building should be designed to ensure free movement of workers in the plant.
10. Aesthetic Considerations
Efforts should be made to make the building a pleasant place to work for the employees. Their comfort should receive top priority as they spend a great deal of their total working hours in the factory. The building should have an elegant appearance as this adds to the pride and prestige of the employees and the management. Any attractive, well designed plant promotes community goodwill. It also has an influence on employees’ morale. Such a plant projects the progressive outlook of the organization. It is heartening to note that some managements have paid special attention to this factor at present requirement.
The architectural style and building materials should be designed to give an attractive exterior to plant buildings. A pleasing appearance, good landscaping and clean surroundings are important to the local community.
12. Future Expansion
Future expansion needs should be considered in planning a factory building. If multi-storied buildings are to be expanded with additional floors, it must be planned in advance so that the original structure has sufficient footing to bear the additional weight.
13. Fire Protection
Need and importance for a fire protection system should be taken into account while planning for a factory building. This has become mandatory at present. Fire protection systems vary from the conventional fire extinguishers to automatic fire detectors and fire protection devices in industries.
14. Environmental Protection
Need to protect environment has to be considered while planning a plant layout. This is being vigorously advocated all over the world now. It has become statutory in India too. This includes ensuring greenbelt all around the factory, horticulture and effluent disposal and water/air treatment plant and wastage disposal schemes, etc.
15. Effluent disposal
Wherever chemical processes are used like electroplating, tanneries, etc., effluent treatment of the discharged water has become mandatory. Hence a factory building has to be planned for an effluent disposal system.
16. Air supply
While designing plan for a factory building, necessary care has to be taken for adequate Air supply. This can be obtained through adequate air compressors.
17. Contractors, consultants and collaborators
It is desirable that the building work is entrusted to well known consultants, experienced in constructing industrial buildings. The design of the factory and its layout also depends on the recommendation of collaborators — Indian and foreign when projects are executed as per technical collaboration from such parties.
This is the most important aspect of a building. Better management planning and effective monitoring by use of modern managerial aids like PERT/Milestones can bring down the cost of construction considerably. Normally, the cost of construction goes up due to delay in execution, changes in drawing, interruption of work during construction, deletions of the original design.
Another source of wasteful expenditure is due to poor planning and procurement of materials, use of inferior quality materials and lack of effective supervision. So a factory building plan has to take into account of all cost factors.