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8 things to consider when building a food factory

We have already discussed what to consider when designing a food factory, Once you have a food factory design, building a manufacturing plant brings a number of further considerations for food and beverage brands and manufacturers.

The importance of safety, costs and future-proofing your site are vital considerations during the construction of a food factory.

Our team of food factory construction experts regularly work with leading brands and manufacturers to deliver major capital expenditure projects.

In this blog, Carl Harrison, head of construction at IFP , explains his key considerations when building a food factory.

Freeze your design

One of the most important considerations for a construction project is to finalise your food factory design to obtain a clear understanding of equipment requirements as early as possible.

Any last-minute changes to the design could lead to significantly increased costs and delays starting work on the project.

Ground suitability

Each site will have its own challenges and a number of factors impact its suitability for your food factory construction project.

Whereas a greenfield project typically lacks constraints and enables food factory designers to start from scratch, a brownfield site can bring more challenges.

Depending on the site’s previous use, greenfield and brownfield sites may have issues such as contamination from fuels or other chemicals, and existing structures could be required to be demolished or modified before construction can begin.

Each of these issues brings the risk of further delays and increased costs to the construction project.

Environmental issues

As well as understanding the viability of the site, it’s vital to determine whether there are any further environmental, wildlife or archaeological issues.

Any potential challenges are typically flagged during the planning stage, with surveys such as ecology reports required to successfully apply for planning permission.

Any identification of a protected species or areas of archaeological significance during construction will need to be thoroughly investigated and mitigated.

Access to site

As we discussed in our earlier blog, providing safe access to the site for workers, goods and traffic is an important consideration in the food factory design.

It’s also critical not to overlook the suitability for existing roads and facilities to transport construction staff and equipment on site.

The existing road network around the site, for example, may not be suitable for the heavy plant machinery and piling rigs which are essential for construction. Parking for construction staff can also provide challenges, particularly on existing brownfield sites.


A consistent supply of key utilities such as water, electricity and gas, is essential to an efficient food factory.

Building an understanding of the location of existing services, as well as any requirements for wayleave agreements to maintain them, is central to the design and construction of a food factory.

Drainage capacity

As well as existing utilities, understanding the current drainage on-site is central to keeping a food factory construction project on track.

This not only covers effluent drainage discharge capacity, but also the type of drainage pipe visible elsewhere across the site. This ensures that the existing facilities are suitable for any potential chemical discharge or wash down of chemicals.

Future proofing

Forward thinking food manufacturers and brands will already have detailed plans for growing their business, but it’s vital to build future-proofing into the construction of food factories.

An effective food factory design should already incorporate space to grow, but alternative construction methods can enable greater flexibility and adaptability within the site.

With sustainability an increasingly important factor, ensure your factory complies with the latest construction standards, in order to respond to potential legislative changes in the future. Achieving BREEAM certification, for example, is already helping food factories meet the highest environmental standards.

Potential for renewable energy

Sustainability in food and beverage factories is driving a huge number of changes around both design and construction. This is no longer a ‘box-ticking’ exercise; sustainability has now become a central factor to strong food manufacturing and supply chains.

The increased focus on planet health, alongside record increases in energy prices, means that implementing renewable energy sources during food factory design and construction is now vital to future-proof the whole supply chain.

When considering renewable energy sources in your construction project, it’s important to understand your energy requirements and the mix that will be required. Feasibility studies will assess the practical aspects of renewable energy sources, whether it’s from wind turbines, solar panels, or biomass or anaerobic digestion.


Integrated Food Projects have partnered with Kettleby Foods on a number of high-profile multi-million pound capital projects since 2003/4, helping the business to develop and grow. Throughout that time they have provided cost-effective and efficient solutions on development projects both at our existing ready meals production facility and also in creating a new satellite facility. The projects at our existing facility were managed without impact on our ability to service our own clients, and all projects have been delivered within budget, in a timely fashion and to the requisite standards of safety and quality. Their team work ethos and professional approach ensure successful projects and I would utilise Integrated Food Projects in the future without hesitation.

- Jarrod Thorndyke, Production Director

I have worked with Integrated Food Projects on many capital expenditure projects since 2004, the latest being the development of the new plot of land adjacent to our main site. They successfully employed a project delivery process to ensure the integration of a leased modular building solution with the development of the site infrastructure to improve logistics and Health and Safety. Their staff are always positive and enthusiastic and have fostered a team-work approach ensuring another successful project delivered. I look forward to working with them again in the near future.

- Engineering Manager, Major UK Ready Meals Manufacturer