Keep an open mind when it comes to projects

by Dan Malovany
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When a company decides to expand, it needs to keep an open mind regarding greenfield and brownfield options.

When a company decides to expand, it needs to keep an open mind regarding greenfield and brownfield options, said Jim Kline, president of the EnSol Group and contributing editor for Baking & Snack. Mr. Kline noted that companies need to define what their needs are and stick to them over any preconceptions about brownfield or greenfield. When it comes to brownfield facilities, there are several factors to consider.

Mr. Kline explained that research should be done on any existing potential properties. He used an example of a company having to spend a lot more than expected on ground and floor construction in an existing facility after discovering the building was once used as a chrome plating factory — presenting an enormous contamination issue.

Those hidden costs can be avoided most of the time with the right due diligence. Then, the costs associated with renovating, retrofitting or modernizing the building have to be considered.

Mr. Kline said that 40% to 70% of the cost in a brownfield project is associated with the roof and floor of buildings. Many times, roofs have to be heightened to fit modern equipment while floors have to be redone to upgrade drain and pipe systems to meet Food Safety Modernization Act requirements. Ultimately, Mr. Kline said, companies have a better idea of what a project is going to cost if they know how their operation needs to fit and work in that space.

“The building should fit around the process, not the other way around,” he advised. 

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