One of the most specialized forms of building is industrial construction. In terms of the whole building market this part is relatively small but the projects range from small factories to mega-petroleum plant builds. In fact most of the architects, engineers and contractors are highly specialized for their niche in the market.
All industrial contractors are not created equally. The experience a company has in building medical facilities may not equally translate into a furniture plant. This is because many of the design features are different as day and night. So before the bidding process begins it is up to the design team to see if the project is within the parameters of the company.
Smaller companies may require the services of several independent firms to achieve a design like, for instance, warehouse construction. However, putting together a design with other companies that have worked together may be just as efficient as having them all on site. They would not have the overhead of carrying dozens of expensive trade professionals either.
When normal companies hire the designer the in-house architect is usually the project manager and tenders the work out to subcontractors. Beginning a new project from scratch will include the functions of the building: show space, warehouse space, checkout area, washrooms, employee washrooms and change rooms, office space, shipping and receiving and parking. The architect's team for the industrial contracting company will meet with the client's people to solidify the requirements for all the functions of the company. These people will include architects, interior designers and surveyors along with a staff of civil, mechanical, electrical, structural and fire protection engineers. All these trades are needed to construct a building or complex to accommodate the needs of the company and the requirements of the government.
For large industrial or commercial projects contractors and design teams may already be in existence as paid employees. This “in house” collection of specialties allows the project to get off the ground quicker because the personalities and trade specialties know each other and have worked together on previous projects. With these companies the client may offer a “design build” whereby the contracting company is given a set of parameters by the client and is expected to construct a facility based on them. This includes even finding the building site.
Sometimes a big project requires a consortium of contractors who will work in conjunction to build each phase of the project. So as Phase 1 is being built the team has already begun the tendering process for Phase 2.
Whatever the building project almost every professional has to be up on the latest building techniques and know how the life of the building project will proceed. This means that the mechanical engineer must be familiar with electrical innovations and structural techniques because his or success depends upon the placement and attention-to-detail of the other trades.
In other cases the client will be actively involved in the building project. There may be an in-house design group whose job is to solidify the requirements that the company needs in a new facility. A large retail chain will have its own design people and this process will be already streamlined. They may only need input for the weather patterns and terrain before a set of plans is available for bidding.
The other perk with this program is that the client can direct the speed and fluidity of the project. So if there are design changes that need to be made there are fewer steps in the process and the plans can be tweaked without a great deal of extra meetings and collaborations. If another contractor needs to be brought in there does not have to be a lengthy selection process because the client already knows who needs to be hired, or let go.
Ion all large projects there is a government body which oversees the project first-hand. This will begin during the planning stages when the agency will go over the plans to make sure they coincide with municipal, state and federal regulations. The subjects would include traffic patterns, sewer and water considerations and fire and safety regulations that would not be needed on a small project or domestic house build.
From the time the surveyor submits the plot plan the Authority Having Jurisdiction, or AHJ, is responsible for all government regulations. This means notifying the utility companies, traffic departments and fire inspectors. If the building is a high-rise then an official with the Federal Aviation Administration would have to be called in to specify hazard light requirements. As well, a large project means redirecting traffic and allowing for heavy equipment like cranes and large vehicles on streets where they are usually prohibited.