The industrial construction market in Poland has accelerated strongly due to the pandemic. The dynamic development of e-commerce and the uncertainty of supplies from Asia, forcing businesses to shorten their supply chains by opening factories on the local markets, have caused the demand for warehouse and production space to reach a record 5.2 million sq. m in 2020. However, the increase in the construction of new production halls can also result from the development of businesses and the growing demand for their products. How should an investor prepare for the construction process? What details could a potential industrial hall contractor be interested in? These questions are answered by an expert from Commercecon, a long-time general contractor for this type of facilities.

Building documentation is a must, as the construction process will not even start without it.

Having decided to build a production plant, the investor should brace for a lengthy and sometimes complicated preparatory procedure. Being aware of this, many investors at this stage choose to involve their prospective general contractor in the formal procedure.

“This is a very good decision. Many investors may get lost in the maze of legal and administrative complexities, and the situation can be aggravated even further by frequent changes in the construction law, of which a business owner may not be aware. This is where companies like Commercecon come in, keeping abreast of the new regulations and ensuring that all documentation is prepared in compliance with them. It is important to realise that obtaining a building permit sometimes involves a huge time commitment, which investors usually cannot afford”, explains Monika Górko, Architect at Commercecon.

However, if an investor decides to handle the formal matters on their own, they must obtain a map for the location or design of the plot and determine whether a zoning plan exists. If it does, it must be verified whether the zoning plan aligns with the investor’s expectations and an extract from the plan must be obtained. If no zoning plan exists, the investor is required to apply for a land development conditions decision. An additional requirement is to obtain technical conditions from suppliers of utilities, such as electricity, water, gas, etc.

How much floor area does the plant require?

The next stage of preparations is to determine the desired area for the planned investment. This is a key piece of information for the general contractor. What other questions could be asked?

“The contractor will surely want to have a brief description of the technological process, which often determines the shape of the building and the division into individual sections such as the production hall, the warehouse for components and finished products, laboratories or offices. Remember that building a manufacturing plant to make specific products requires a technological design”, adds Commercecon’s expert.

At this stage, it is worth making a decision about future expansion of the plant, because it affects the design and construction of the building currently being built. This information will help you design the building and plan its location on the plot in the most optimal way.

Production profile and material storage

The characteristics of the process mentioned earlier are also crucial in determining the type of systems needed. This involves more than just power, lighting, water supply and sewage, ventilation and air conditioning. We are talking about specialised systems required for the production process (compressed air supply, air exhaust, dust extraction or sprinkler systems) and also heating. It is sometimes the case the heat needed to heat a building can be obtained from the technological process. This solution will reduce the operating costs of the building and aligns with the green trend in industrial construction.

The planned machinery or process lines are another key piece of information for the construction of the building and the construction schedule. Their size (any additional loads on the foundation and other structural elements to which they will be attached) and the planned installation date are what matters.

One should also consider the storage of components for production and finished products – how they will be stored and in what type of packaging. This information may influence the fire load of the hall and the selection of a suitable sprinkler system.

Indoor transport and outdoor logistics

Most medium and large production halls require mechanised handling equipment. Usually, various types of carts, fork-lift trucks and other vehicles moving on internal roads are used for this purpose. They may vary in terms of how they are powered. Although information about the type of power supply may seem irrelevant to the investor at this stage, it is key from the general contractor’s perspective. In practice, this requires the contractor to design additional solutions, e.g. umbrella roofs for gas cylinders or charging stations for battery-powered trucks and carts.

Every production plant also requires outdoor transport to be planned to accommodate component deliveries as well as the loading and export of finished products. At the construction planning stage, the need for loading docks (number and type) must be determined, together with an estimate of the traffic volume and the type of vehicles predominantly used for logistics. This will affect the land development around the building and will allow for an optimal connection of the plant to a public road through a junction.

The above list of aspects to be discussed with the general contractor is by no means exhaustive. However, it gives the investor a general view of the decisions they must make at an early planning stage of their investment.

We encourage you to learn more about Commercecon’s comprehensive offer.