Production Management

3 Classes of Building Construction

A well-planned and property constructed plant building is a primary requirement for the successful operations of a manufacturing firm. The building should be designed only after the complete production plan, plant layout and equipment sequence has been chalked out, so that the building exactly fits the production needs of the plant.

A small manufacturing firm may buy or rent on existing building. But a large size firm can seldom find a suitable building that will properly meet the extensive space requirement. As such, it has to design and construct a new building according to its needs and requirements.

At this point of time, several aspects of factory building construction require serious consideration. Among these are the following

1. Classes of building construction.

2. Use of single-story versus multistory buildings.

3. Use of general-or special-purpose buildings.

4. Construction cost and construction contracts.


There are three recognized classes of industrial building construction first, second, and third. A third-class building is a frame structure, the structural parts of which are flammable. Such buildings are light-duty structures, usually only one or two stories tall. They do not have a high load-bearing capacity. Operating costs tend to be high, generally speaking. In addition, the large amount and high cost of maintenance are a lifelong disadvantage.

Offsetting advantages include quick and easy erection at a relatively low cost; relatively easy, inexpensive alteration or expansion; alternatively low demolition cost compared with higher class buildings.

The second-class building is a heavier-duty structure than a third-class building and is partly fireproof. The external walls, main partitions, stair-wells and elevator shafts, entrances and exits, all are fireproof. Such second-class factory structures are sometimes called “mill-type” buildings. Their exteriors are usually brick, and they generally have five or six stories, at most. The structural strength of such buildings is greater than that for third-class buildings but less than that for first-class buildings.

Building alteration costs will be between those for third-class and first class buildings. Maintenance and razing costs will be average, neither very low not very high. Floors, walls, columns, and roof generally will be flammable, along with the remaining interior construction. In particular, interior doors and trim are generally flammable. Most such buildings will be equipped with fire-fighting equipment and, possibly, with self-closing fire doors, interdepartmental or portable fire walls, and an automatic sprinkler system.

In multistory buildings, fire escapes will also be provided. Such buildings are usually rather noisy, and they are satisfactory only for light-or medium-type operations. Heavy-duty operations will require a first-class building, tailored to fit the process to be carried on.

The first-elms structure is the other generally recognized class of industrial building construction. All its main structural members, inside and out, are nonflammable. Probably only the inside doors and interior trim are flammable in a first-class building. Even the floors are generally concrete, overlaid, perhaps, with hardwood or rubber blocks or with metal strips. Aluminum or steel window frames will customarily be used. The exterior walls will be framed encased in concrete; possibly overlaid with aluminum siding or stainless steel.

A first-class building requires relatively few supporting columns, considering the total space included inside the walls. Moreover, vibration and noise transmission are minimized by this type of construction, while maintenance and repairs costs will be the lowest for any of the three classes of construction. Alteration, building expansion, and demolition costs, on the other hand, will be the greatest of the three types of construction.

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