Engineering Insights – Industrial, Manufacturing Facility Design MEP Roundtable (Source: Consulting-Specifying Engineer)

Sep 17, 2020

By Amara Rozgus

CSE: Does your firm anticipate more industrial or manufacturing building projects, considering the supply chain issues with non-US facilities?

Jeff Thomas: We anticipate continued, accelerated growth in the manufacturing and distribution spaces for the foreseeable future. The challenges for the A/E industry will be to ensure owners see value in the services A/E firms provide for these facilities. As this market space becomes more commoditized, the design/construction markets will be challenged to meet the required costs demanded by the new owners. I suspect distribution facilities will become very simple and standardized. Manufacturing spaces will continue to be where the value of smart design shines. A/E firms will need to partner with key owners to understand how to help them get the most out of their facilities while providing flexibility to shift production as the market demands without huge recapitalization to make changes.

CSE: How has COVID-19 changed your work in these facility types? Has the coronavirus affected these projects, by either increasing or decreasing some aspect of them?

Jeff Thomas: We have several projects in design and construction and while COVID moved us from working in the office to working from home, these projects are continuing as planned. Owners and operators are grappling with ways to continue working while protecting their workforces. A/E firms are still developing best practices to design spaces that are COVID 19-proof based on CDC and industry guidelines. Large open spaces present unique challenges for maintaining air quality to the degree required to combat something like COVID-19. Similarly, how do you protect workers th