Design-Build a Laundry (Part 3): Basic Minimum Standards

An Exclusive CHICAGO — As we progress through the design-build process, there are some important basics that you must hand off to the planners that are involved in your project. These items involve the establishment of a basic construction-and-design methodology. Without this vital component, good planning and design can be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. The following components—which may be modified to fit certain parameters—are essential:

  • Lighting in Production Areas — Make it 80 candlepower and the non-glare variety.
  • Sprinkler Systems and Fire Alarms — Local codes should apply for this industrial application.
  • Electrical Service — 2,000-amp electrical service will be required.
  • Flooring — A minimum of 6-inch concrete, equating to a 200-pounds-per-square-foot load capacity.
  • Water-System Plumbing — Plan for a minimum 8-inch open-water system.
  • Sewer Lines — While local codes apply, a 10-inch sewer line should be the requirement.
  • Roof Stress — The roof should be designed and built to handle a minimum of 150 pounds per square foot (direct load).
  • Conveyor Roof-Support Requirements — Assuming your conveyors will not be floor-supported (which would take up valuable production floor space), their roof supports should handle 50 pounds per square foot.
  • Ceiling Heights — Calculate for a clear ceiling height of 16 to 18 feet.
  • Construction Column Grids — 20- to 25-foot grids, at minimum, are now required to support most efficient laundry-equipment designs.
  • Gas — Your laundry operation will require an uninterrupted gas supply.
  • Steam — If your operation is to reach optimum flatwork-ironing production capabilities, it will need a minimum of 120-psi, high-quality steam at your ironer location, not where the steam leaves the boiler!
  • Parking — A new laundry facility will also need ample parking. While local policies and ordinances may apply, the general rule is one parking spot for every 2,000 net square feet of building space, one “handicapped” spot for every 8,000 net square feet and one “visitor” spot for every 10,000 net square feet. If your laundry covers 21,000 net square feet, for example, you would need approximately 10 regular parking spaces, three handicapped spaces and two visitor spaces. And, you may want to plan for private parking for the plant manager and assistant manager.
  • Loading-Dock Design — Make certain that you have ample queue space, both inside and outside your laundry facility, to facilitate loading and unloading of vehicles. There are numerous new systems available that can assist with researching and evaluating this component of your operation.

I will conclude my analysis of the design-build process next month when I address actual space design criteria. 


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