4 Manufacturing & Industrial Building Construction Trends

Manufacturing is having its day. While it faces many supply chain and labor shortage issues, U.S. manufacturing production and capacity has generally increased, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. And there are no signs of slowing, according to Deloitte

Reshoring and a resurgence in “Made in America” goods helped to trigger growth in manufacturing and industrial building construction. U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that manufacturing construction spending grew 21.6% since the start of the pandemic

What manufacturing and industrial building design trends are leading the way?

  1. Increased Warehouse Space
  2. Modular Structures
  3. Sustainable Building Design
  4. Flexible Factories

RELATED ARTICLE: Top 5 Manufacturing Challenges & Solutions

1. Increased Warehouse Space

Supply chain disruption remains a pain point for many manufacturers, and may be for years to come. This realization prompted many to stock up on materials while they could. Many who once touted “just-in-time” delivery now prefer to have inventory on hand to mitigate long lead times for materials. 

Not all facilities have the capacity or infrastructure to accommodate an increase in inventory, exposing the need for more warehouse space and material handling equipment. Companies prefer to have their material handling or distribution warehouses close to the point of production. Construction starts for warehousing facilities are expected to continue their growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.

2. Modular Structures

Manufacturing facilities are increasingly doing away with siloed departments and encouraging immersive workforces. Rather than separating production from management, many are streamlining their processes and fostering cohesive work environments by bringing the office to the shop floor.

Maintaining operations during construction is a major concern, however. Modular offices are an ideal way to quickly incorporate office space into an existing footprint with minimal disruption. The units consist of prefabricated panel systems that are constructed offsite and assembled at their final destination. They can come pre-installed with the necessary electrical and HVAC requirements, shortening lead times significantly. Additional benefits of modular office structures include labor cost savings, fewer permit requirements, and flexible configurations.

3. Sustainable Building Design

Increased scrutiny is being placed on sustainability, and that includes construction for manufacturing. Working with a qualified construction manager and general contractor that can build LEED-certified structures (U.S. Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one way to support sustainability initiatives.

Green building design not only emphasizes sustainable building practices like reduced waste and carbon emissions, but helps to ensure that a structure’s ongoing operations have minimal impact on the environment. Examples include 

  • Regionally sourced or upcycled materials
  • High efficiency appliances, mechanicals, LED lighting, and electrical systems
  • HVAC systems that reduce indoor pollutants
  • Plumbing and landscape designs that promote water conservation
  • Smart technology and IoT sensors 
  • And much more

GET THE INFOGRAPHIC: Benefits of Sustainable Commercial Building Design

4. Flexible Factories

While some manufacturers remain focused on their niche, others are expanding their capabilities to produce a wide range of products. This is due, in part, to fast-paced shifts in global markets and the need to quickly pivot to accommodate changing consumer demands. 

Such a model requires machinery that can quickly be retooled to make diverse products, but it also requires flexible work spaces. Modular construction is just part of the picture. Flexible furnishings for office workers also needs to be a consideration. Hybrid workplaces are currently trending for administrative positions, opening up space that could potentially be repurposed for production. The ability to shift work functions to various parts of a facility based on need offers greater flexibility, and including this flexibility into a building’s design can help with long-range planning.

A qualified construction manager can assist with long-range planning by helping to develop a master plan. The process typically begins with a thorough facility assessment. Such an assessment identifies opportunities for improvement, department layout, condition issues, compliance concerns, and more.

Flexible manufacturing construction sometimes occurs in phases, resulting in several smaller projects completed over time. Some construction companies, like the Samuels Group, have a special projects division that focuses on smaller scale or unique manufacturing projects. Such a team helps address concerns like small budgets, tight schedules, and off-hours scheduling requirements. The dedicated Special Projects Division team has a single point-of-contact who works side-by-side with project owners, offering the same expertise and attention to detail provided to large-scale projects. 

Be sure to ask a potential construction manager about their approach and how they’ve helped other organizations achieve their construction goals. It’s just one among many questions that needs to be answered. Download our helpful checklist below outlining additional questions, and reach out to the Samuels Group to begin a conversation about your potential project.

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