Tips and Tools Guide for Industrial Facility Construction
In light of supply chain disruptions in semiconductors and the growth in internet-connected products, U.S. investment in microchip fabrication is likely to rise over the next few years. The transition to electric vehicles could also contribute to growth in U.S.-based manufacturing.
We created this construction roadmap to help you think through every phase of industrial facility construction. Each section includes a top-line description of that phase, tips to help you plan, and the equipment used. A little planning goes a long way toward ensuring you have what you need when you need it, so you can keep the project on schedule and within budget.
Interested in learning more about how Sunbelt Rentals can help you plan your next industrial facility build? Contact us to talk to one of our equipment experts.
Phase 1: Site Survey and Engineering
During the site survey and engineering, civil engineers and surveyors select a coordinate system and then stake out reference points and markers to guide the construction of everything that will be on the industrial facility site. The work starts with existing conditions, including the terrain, structures, and above- and below-ground infrastructure. If your structure includes multiple floors, you may also need horizontal control.
Equipment for Site Survey and Engineering Includes:
Dozers and attachments
Utility terrain vehicles
Phase 2: Excavation, Grading, Erosion Control, and On-Site Mobilization
During excavation, grading, and erosion control, the excavation contractor and grading contractor work together with oversight from the general contractor to remove, add, shape, and compact soil and prepare it for the foundation. That could require a perfectly level base or one with a set slope. Once complete, the general contractor brings in the construction office trailer and on-site power and gets ready for pipe and utility line installation.
Solar-powered light towers: Easily light your site without the hassle of fuel or maintenance, and feel good about having no emissions, smell, or noise. You decide whether the towers turn on and off automatically at dusk and dawn or at a time of your choosing. Not enough sun in your location? Use a hybrid option that’s sometimes powered by diesel.
Fuel tanks: Fuel your own equipment instead of using a service with portable, double-walled fuel tanks. Available in several sizes with an environmentally friendly design and rugged, steel construction, these tanks give you extended runtimes for diesel-driven equipment.
Equipment for Excavation, Grading, Erosion Control, and On-Site Mobilization Includes:
Padfoot ride-on rollers
Smooth drum rollers
Phase 3: Utility Installation
Utilities include power, gas, and water lines; underground cables; and sewage pipelines. First, the site utility contractor determines the exact location, depth, and layout of any existing infrastructure. Then they keep the worksite safe while overseeing electrical and plumbing contractors, who install additional underground utilities. The grading contractor ensures surfaces are level in preparation for pouring the foundation.
Trench box: Once you dig a trench to 4 feet or beyond, shield it with a trench box. At 20 feet or beyond, get input on excavation protective systems from a registered professional engineer. If the work area is highly trafficked, install safety rails. Inspect trenches daily before workers enter.
Positive shoring: If the work area includes other buildings or structures, include positive shoring, such as sheet piling and slide rails, to secure dirt and prevent movement.
Dewatering: Consider site conditions, especially if water is present. Dewatering or wellhead pumps can help draw water away from the excavation.
OSHA compliance: Consider turnkey services from Sunbelt Rentals for OSHA-compliant engineered solutions customized for your project.
Equipment Used During Utility Installation Includes:
Air monitoring systems
Rough terrain forklifts
Tampers for light compaction
Phase 4: Foundation and Slab
Every structure depends on the foundation or slab that supports it. The type of building, the variety of soil, the depth to bedrock, and the environmental risks such as wind or earthquakes are all critical factors in foundation design. Ultimately, a combination of concrete and steel below keeps the structure above stable.
Nighttime work: To avoid excessive heat or concrete trucks stuck in traffic, many concrete pours happen at night. Plan for light towers to make sure your site is well lit when it’s time to pour. Consider a solar light tower for environmental benefits and cost savings.
Equipment Used During Foundation and Slab Pouring Includes:
Green concrete saws
Power concrete buggies
Phase 5: Structural Skeleton
Whether you’re building a steel, concrete, or wood structure, this phase of construction could involve many different activities. Steel contractors and ironworkers install posts, columns, beams, and base flooring. Concrete contractors use metal forms to hold concrete walls reinforced with rebar in place while they cure. Framing and roofing contractors ensure wall, ceiling, and roof assemblies meet fire ratings specified in the architectural plans.
Concrete structures: Keep the equipment you used in Phase 4 if you’re building a concrete structure.
Equipment Used During Framing and Roofing Includes:
Rough terrain scissor lifts
Shooting boom forklifts
Straight mast forklifts
Phase 6: Power, Plumbing, HVAC, and Fire Protection
Contractors install the building’s electrical and mechanical systems during this phase of construction. Electricians install wiring, panels, and appliances. Plumbers install piping for fixtures and appliances. The HVAC contractor installs air-conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems, which also require extensive wiring and piping. Fire protection systems are also installed during this phase. The building inspector reviews all of these systems to ensure they comply with the building code.
Pipe inspections: Use a pipe/conduit camera to inspect pipe and conduit for damage during the project.
Green options: In harsh environments or sites that are remote or restricted, the All-Electric 19' Scissor Lift offers a cleaner, greener, and more productive option. The electric drive and lifetime lithium-ion battery provide twice the drive speed, longer operating time, and faster charging. Plus, you can monitor, troubleshoot, and calibrate it remotely. Because it’s electric, there are no fuel spills and there is significantly less noise.
Equipment Used During Power, Plumbing, HVAC, and Fire Safety Installation Includes:
Electric demo hammers
Hand-powered and die crimpers
Hydrostatic test pumps
Phase 7: Exterior Skin and Roofing
A team of contractors installs exterior cladding, which can include glass, metal, stucco, brick, and stone, before the exterior is painted. The roofing contractor installs the final layer of roofing material, such as modified bitumen or rubber, and roof accessories, such as solar panels, skylights, and green roof vegetation planters.
Boom lift weight capacity: ANSI A92 requires platform load sense to monitor total weight. Lifts will not let operators move or place loads that exceed the rated platform capacity. So, when you’re selecting a boom lift or mobile elevating work platform, consider the total weight of everything you’ll put in the basket. Although you might previously have used a machine rated for 500 pounds, you may now need greater capacity.
Equipment Used During Exterior Skin and Roof Installation Includes:
Brick and block saws
Carry deck cranes
Cold and hot pressure washers
Phase 8: Interior Build-Out
With the building’s shell completed, interior finishing contractors paint, as well as install insulation, drywall, trim, flooring, and ceiling panels. Meanwhile, electricians and plumbers complete the wiring, plumbing, lighting, and bathroom fixtures. Interior build-out also includes controls and thermostats for the HVAC equipment and mechanicals for the elevators.
Air quality: Maintain healthy air inside the structure while interior finishing crews work with an air scrubber that filters dust and contaminants.
Equipment Used During Interior Build-Out Includes:
Air tools and air compressors
Cooling, heating, and dehumidification
Electric boom lifts
Electric scissor lifts
Rolling and stationary scaffolding
Phase 9: Commissioning and Landscaping
During building commissioning, the general contractor ensures that all building systems perform according to the design intent and the building is delivered according to requirements laid out during the design phase. Commissioning often includes fine-tuning systems to ensure better energy efficiency and lower operations and maintenance costs.
Landscaping contributes to aesthetics, increases value and environmental health, and helps control erosion. Landscaping can also save on costs to heat and cool a building. Installation may include paving, masonry, irrigation, planting, water features, shade structures, retaining walls, and seasonal displays.
Equipment Used During Commissioning and Landscaping Includes:
Hydrostatic test pumps
Mini track loaders
Skid steer attachments
Phase 10: Paving, Signage, and Facilities Maintenance
A construction project typically wraps up with the paving of driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, as well as slabs for equipment. Crews add signage to serve both aesthetic and functional needs inside and outside. And finally, the owner must arrange for facilities maintenance over the long term.
Tap for tools: The Sunbelt Rentals app, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, makes it easy to research, reserve, and rent the equipment you need from the palm of your hand.
Equipment Used During Paving, Signage Installation, and Facilities Maintenance Includes:
Skid steer attachments
Contact us to learn how Sunbelt Rentals can help you plan your next industrial facility build.