Module 2. Location and site selection for dairy plants

Lesson 8
8.1 Introduction

Once the broad location for the dairy plant is decided, within that limited area of location, a site is to be chosen depending on some factors that maximize the operational flexibility and minimize the operational cost as well as contamination. The site should also be selected keeping in view the future expansion of the plant.

Before any work can be done on the building’s design, a site for the plant must be chosen, which requires careful thinking. If the site is wrongly chosen, it may lead to a costly venture and difficult to correct situations such as:

1. Heavy transportation rates for incoming and outgoing materials from the plant

2. Heavy cost for labour and difficulty in having services like water, electricity and waste disposal

3. Reduced profits due to competition for getting raw materials as well as sale of products.

4. Legal complications if the local community objects to have the plant in the area

5. Restricted future expansion due to site conditions

8.2 Selection Criteria for Dairy Building Site

After selecting the general location for the plant, one needs then to select the actual site on which the building can be constructed. In order to make this decision one needs to consider the following:

(i) Whether a sloping or level site is required?

(ii) Access to the location - are roads suitable and is a rail link required?

(iii) Has the land or site been contaminated and what is the underlying geology?

(iv)Will planning permission be granted?

(v) At what level is the water table and what is drainage like?

(vi)What utilities are available - water, gas, electricity, etc.

(vii) Security, in particular access and boundaries.

Since dairy plant and products and products manufactured in it have direct public reaction, it is therefore important, that, the site should have a good landscape. Advertising value plays a great part in site selection as well as in external plant appearance. To have a good business and sales, it is suggested to have a thorough check up on the topography of the place and the other factors.

Topography of the site means detail description or representation of natural and artificial features on the map of the place where dairy building is to be constructed. The topography will immediately point out to local services available, location of the sewer line, municipal water lines, zoning and planning of area, restrictions, conditions obtaining in the area and nearby surrounding etc. After studying topography of place, necessary corrective measures may be taken to ensure the suitability of the site

Some typical factors for site selection include size of area available, layout and orientation, drainage, freedom from flooding, any utilities already in place, subsoil, excavation and foundation considerations. Further, Gullies, streams etc. have to be bridged. Any abnormal grading or landscaping problems, any pipelines or other utilities to be relocated. approach to main road and highway. Certain commercial services near the site selected, which are to be considered include facilities for major repair shops, electric motor maintenance, product distributors, lubricants, sanitary materials, engineering department supplies, stationary, local trucking, railway, postal service, air conditioning service and professional service.

The site selected for dairy plant should be suitable for space requirements as well as for the needs of future expansion. The cost of site should be considered together with the development cost, including such items as the provision of rail road or dock if waterfront site is selected. The availability of drainage facilities and the costs of sewage disposal should be checked. Level and firm bottom land is desirable for all sites. The character of the underlying strata and their suitability to support structures at low cost should be considered. Soft underlying formations increase costs because expensive piling is required. Although top-rock formation raises the cost of constructing sewage disposal system, pipelines undergoing tanks and deep foundations required for equipment, it reduces cost of building construction. The cost of plant, therefore, is to some extent determined by the site. The shape and size of the land plot on the site may have an important influence on the layout. It must allow for possible future expansion requirements. The plot plan of the site should be developed in such a way that there is no wastage of areas.

It is important, that the nature of ground at the site conforms to certain requirements. The upper layers of the soil must allow easy drainage as is the case with gravel, sand and the like, so that, water quickly disappears from the surface. At the same time, the ground should provide a firm foundation for roadways and surfaced areas. The subsoil should be firm at the depth for the foundations of the building. Sites with loose clay, shifting sand or high water table should be avoided, as the foundation work on such ground will be both expensive and time consuming. Before making a final choice of site, trial holes should be dug where the building is to be erected. At the same time the subsoil water level in the wet season should be checked to make sure that it is at an appropriate depth.

It is also necessary that the site selected should have transportation facilities, so that, raw material can be easily transported to the milk processing plant and disposal of dairy products to local depots, milk booths or milk parlours does not pose any problem. Delivery trucks, insulated milk tankers, and other vehicles directly or indirectly related to dairy factory should have ample parking space at site along with garage facilities for washing and lubrication. There should be wide roads, and traffic pattern has to be planned in such a manner at site so that, incoming vehicles do not block the passage of outgoing vehicles. Site should have convenient approach from main road or highway. If the site selected is near railway station, it will be beneficial to have railway siding touching the dock at dairy plant.

In addition to the dairy company deciding if a site is suitable to meet its requirements, the impact of the factory on the surrounding area needs to be assessed. The normal method of assessing the impact of a factory on the surroundings is to carry out an environmental impact assessment. In addition one may also wish to carry out lifecycle analysis. The assessment should include the following key issues:

(i) Waste disposal

(ii) Potential hazards to local community

(iii) Pollution - gas, liquid and solid

(iv) Noise levels - day and night

(v) Effect of the facility on the use of local raw materials

(vi) Transportation infrastructure

8.3 Planning the Dairy Building on Site

1. Locate the building about 45 m back from highway. This will allow some space surrounding the building even after a highway-widening project.

2. Traffic should be planned to ensure safe movement of all vehicles and pedestrians. Places where pedestrians need to cross roads should be avoided. Truck and automobile driveways should be segregated close to the entrance with clear distinction for visitors. Soiled vehicles that could pose a sanitation risk to the product should be routed in a different way to avoid contamination. Roads should be kept in good condition to avoid damage to products in transit.

3. Provide driving access to all sides of the buildings, if possible. This allows for one-way circulation and will allow fire-fighting vehicles to have access where needed.

4. Rail sidings, parking lots for trucks and automobiles, trash collection areas, and “surplus” equipment dumps can become a source of contamination and a breeding place for vermin. These areas should be kept groomed and drained to prevent contamination to food products by seepage.

5. Locate loading bays at the rear of the building. A gentle slope from the front to the rear will cause the floor of the building to be about 1 m above grade without cutting or filling.

6. Grade the site for natural drainage to ditches. In some areas, grading must be done so that all surface water will be channelled into a storm drain system. Surface water must never be allowed to enter the waste drain system, because water treatment costs are also based on volume.

7. Provide access to the truck building and weigh scale.

8. Locate employee and visitor parking at convenient entry points to the building.

9. Truck parking should be separate from the other parking areas and could be fenced.

10. Raising outside equipment about 20 cm above the pavement will prevent it from being used by rodents as a breeding place.

11. Landscaping and gardens contribute to the company image. Good planning will ensure low initial costs and low maintenance costs. Small recreation areas outside of the plant improve employee morale. Employees should eat in the space provided for them and should not take food outside. Dropped food attracts birds, rodents, and insects, and feeding stray cats or birds on site should be prohibited.

12. Around the base of the buildings, a 1 m grass-free strip covered with gravel or stones is advisable. This controls weeds and is a good area for placing traps and bait.

13. The perimeter should be fenced for security reasons and to prevent children from entering the grounds. This is important if bait-accessible bait boxes are placed outside the plant. Chain-link fences, more than 2 m high, are normally sufficient. The fences will catch pieces of paper, and cleaning them must be part of the overall housekeeping on the site.

14. Orient the building so that its best features and sign face the busiest street.

Last modified: Wednesday, 26 September 2012, 10:10 AM