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3 Things To Know Before Building A Cannabis Facility

Cannabis Plants In Grow Facility

Are you considering design of a indoor cultivation or extraction facility for your cannabis business? Now is the time! With hemp legalized nation-wide, most states allowing medical marijuana, and many states also legalizing recreational use, the demand for cannabis products has never been higher.

If you’ve gotten your license and financing, you’re ready to think about the design of your marijuana facility. You know there are very specific requirements for every aspect of your operation. CE+C can help you to plan, design, and construct your cannabis facility the right way the first time, eliminating common pitfalls. We can help you start or expand your production areas and get your operation up quickly and running smoothly.

There are three key things to consider as you embark on this process.

1. Local Laws and Regulations for Cannabis Facility Design

Where you locate your business really matters. Understanding the laws and regulations specific to your location and your facility is as important as it is challenging. As a newly regulated industry, the codes and requirements around the design, building, permitting,and operation of cannabis facilities continue to evolve. We help clients navigate these hurdles with ease.

The first step is identifying the regulations that apply to you. This includes national building and fire codes, which underlie a variety of state and local regulations. These rules impact everything from your site selection to minute details like placement of sprinkler heads in your indoor cultivation facility design. Some of these will be specific to the interpretation of the fire marshal for your jurisdiction. In one California location we know of, there was a large (and heated) debate over how to classify a structure that was open on all sides, but which had a roof. Don’t wait for your business to get in the weeds before you bring in expert help.

2. Know Your Long-Term Cannabis Business Plan and Goals

With the variety of cannabis products on the market, new companies need to consider what type of production they plan for the short and long-term. The engineers at CE+C will recommend cannabis facility designs that support your goals.

Do you want a grow that is a warehouse, or a greenhouse? We can help you provide the optimal grow environment for your plants and choose energy-efficient solutions that will keep a lid on your operating costs. How will you protect the health and safety of your staff if you use CO2-enriched grow techniques? We know a lot of the answers, and what we don’t know, we know how to find out.

Maybe you are considering a pre-fab extraction lab as compared to re-tooling and repurposing an existing building. We can help you with solid cost estimation for purchase, construction, and life-cycle cost analyses for the systems you choose. It’s what we do.

3. Understand the Costs of Construction and Operation

Construction costs can vary widely depending on the scale of your operation, your facility type, and your region. In our experience with design of marijuana and hemp indoor cultivation facilities, we have seen a wide variety in construction costs. For example, in Washington state, interior fitout for a grow space can run from $75-200 per square foot, which stands on top of approximately $200 sf construction costs of a very basic new building. Supply chain issues, labor shortages, and other local and global factors also impact your costs. Because of our years of experience in helping clients construct a variety of industrial facilities, we provide accurate cost-estimation, and can help you choose from an array of great options. We also provide accurate assessments of building and equipment conditions that impact schedule.

Permitting and design of cannabis facilities is what we do every day, and we have proven strategies to reduce costs and avoid scheduling delays. Sometimes, we can suggest multiple equipment options or even pre-ordering when an equipment manufacturer has long lead times. It’s a bit like conducting an orchestra, and sometimes the percussion section seems to be made up of cats. Our engineering maestros have a real talent at bringing things together into a cohesive program with all parts working and finishing together. This is important to you because every day you shave from your construction schedule is one more day of revenue when you’re in production.

If you plan to build a facility, consider how services from an engineer like Cannabis Engineering & Compliance can help.

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