While planning and designing plant building, it is necessary to keep in mind the purpose for which it is being planned. A building is designed and built to protect the property and employees of an organization but this basic fact is often overlooked in planning the requirements for building structures. Plant buildings should be such as will provide for an efficient and economical flow of materials, work-in-progress and finished products.
It should be conducive to proper working conditions for workers. It should provide for adequate protection against fire and easy communication. It should be durable enough and its maintenance should be economical and convenient. It should provide reasonable flexibility for future needs.
A well-planned and properly constructed, plant building provides the following advantages
(i) Less manufacturing cycle time
(ii) Lower storage costs
(iii) Simplified production control procedure
(iv) Low plant maintenance costs
(v) Few work stoppages and interruptions
(vi) Reduction in work-in-progress inventory
(vii) Lower materials handing costs
(viii) Greater plant adaptability and use.
Factory building should be designed only after the complete production plan, plant layout and equipment sequence are determined, so that the building exactly fits the production needs of the plant. It is necessary to keep in mind all the factors which may affect the working of the plant in the building.
Factors to be Considered while Designing a Factory 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 loading, head space, bay size, etc., depend upon the type of machines and equipment to be used.
2. Plant Layout: The arrangement of machines, service centers and offices exercise considerable influence on the design and construction of plant buildings. In fact layout pattern should be determined first and the building should be just a shell around this design. However, flexibility provision 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 center and for movement of employees. Height of the ceiling depends upon the type of equipment used, Overhead conveyors and tall equipment may require high roofs. But special structures and additional cost may be involved. Pits may be dug, if possible, to accommodate tall equipment.
4. 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 hydrants, safety lights, etc., may be used for this purpose.
5. Lighting. Lighting and illumination system within the plant exerts a significant influence on employee productivity and fatigue. Therefore, lighting standards should be kept in view during plant planning.
6. Heating, Ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC). 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 and comfortable industrial atmosphere. 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 Factories Act requirements should also be met.
7. Service facilities. Facilities relating to cooling towers, emergency power, compressed air, sewage treating, etc. should also be considered in plant building. Waste disposal should be such that regulation regarding pollution are not violated.
8. Accessibility. The building should be designed to ensure free movement of workers in the plant
9. Appearance. The architectural style and building materials should be designed to give attractive exterior to plant buildings. A pleasing appearance, good landscaping and cleanliness are important for the local community. Aesthetic considerations should be kept in view.
10. Future expansion. Future expansion needs should be considered in planning factory building. If multistory buildings are to be enlarged by erecting additional floors, this must be planned in advance so that the original structure has sufficient footing to bear additional weight. A false wall may be left in one side of the building for new additions.