By Evan Williams, Cambridge Companies
September 1, 2021
Retrofitting vs New Construction
A Decision Makers Guide: Retrofit an existing building or new construction for your solid waste facility
Once you have determined you need a new facility, one of the critical decisions to make is whether to build a new facility from the ground up or to modify an existing building to suit your needs. While this may seem like a straightforward process, many considerations will factor into your decision. To make sure your decision is well-informed, you should take a detailed approach to best evaluate your options.
The first step in this process is to have a firm set of project parameters that the project should address, often referred to as the project program.
The local GM or Business Development staff can prepare this, and it is good to include a design project manager or trained staff who are familiar with space planning and facility planning. Furthermore, detail the programming document to address building and site requirements for a new or retrofit building. Items in a programming document for a transfer station include:
- The yearly thru-put
- Expected hours of operations
- A mix of vehicles expected
- Type of loading operation (lift and load, push put, compactor)
- Type of hauling (live loading, drop, and haul),
- Vehicles used for tipping at the facility (route trucks, walking floors)
- Whether the facility needs to be fully enclosed with negative pressure or an uncovered tipping apron is acceptable
- Building height needs, etc.
These are not all the typical considerations needed for a transfer, but they should all be answered as much as possible, as they will all factor in the evaluation of whether an existing building can be suitable or whether a new building will be needed.