Manufacturers that use flammable materials and are considering new real estate have more factors to consider than other industrial users. Aside from factors we have mentioned in previous blogs, manufacturers who require storage for flammable materials should also take the following into consideration when evaluating industrial properties.
- Proximity to other buildings - is there another building closer than 30 feet to the building? This could require fire proofing the exterior walls. Window and door openings may require upgrades to applicable fire ratings or addition of fire shutters.
- Is the building sprinkled and is there adequate water supply? Hazardous use groups require higher density than standard fire sprinklers or a specialty foam system may be required.
- Are there any zoning restrictions at the site for the use of any of the chemicals your company plans to use?
- Is a multi-tenant building suitable for your operation? There are many large buildings and former industrial spaces that have been divided by developers and leased out to multiple tenants. This may require isolating your space with additional fire walls, and special doors due to code considerations. This could add significantly to fit-out construction costs.
- Does the building you plan to lease or purchase meet the current building code standards for its intended use type? If the building has been modified after original construction with materials which are not code compliant, the non-compliant construction may need to be removed. For example, many industrial buildings have had office areas and mezzanines constructed without permits, often with wood frame construction. These internal wood structures are not allowed in spaces housing flammable materials.
- Are there adequate utilities? Does the building have adequate power, gas, sewer? (or the capability for upgrades?) Does the roof structure have the load capacity for equipment?
Many clients come to us after encountering these challenges on their own. It can be difficult to find a suitable building for processes involving flammable materials. Fortunately, they do exist, and often cost much less than building a new facility from scratch.