Cambridge Companies contributes and participates in design and construction related articles within the waste industry.
View articles, press releases, and advertisements from 2018 below.
Cambridge Designs Long Lasting Facilities for the Waste, Recycling Industry
Waste360│ December 6, 2018
Designing materials recovery facilities (MRFs), hauling facilities, transfer stations and other types of facilities for the waste and recycling industry is no easy feat. But Cambridge Companies, Inc., a company that provides high-quality design, consulting, construction and general contracting services to a wide range of industries, enjoys the challenge and has helped develop safe, effective and efficient facilities for the waste and recycling industry for 30 years.
Cambridge got its start in the industry in Chicago, mainly designing transfer stations before taking on other types of design-build projects like MRFs and hauling facilities. And over the last 30 years, the company has completed approximately 150 solid waste projects within the U.S., with more currently in the works.
The company, which handles new projects as well as remodels and expansions, often has multiple projects going on at once, all in different stages. And for Cambridge, it’s important that those projects are cost effective, efficient, safe and durable because they need to withstand the large equipment and vehicles that operate at the facilities each day, as well as adapt to the ongoing changes that happen within the industry.
Facility Maintenance Schedules
Waste Advantage Magazine│ December 2018
Every facility owner has different requirements to keep in mind from a review and inspection perspective. These actions are important to protecting facilities and helping keep your workforce safe. Many of these items can help to catch maintenance items that are relatively cheap to address, but can become very costly if left un-addressed. In this article we will cover a few of the key items to keep in mind, no matter what kind of facility you own.
The life/safety systems are the most important systems within a building since they help keep employees safe during their time onsite.
- Fire Sprinkler Systems must be inspected every year by a certified professional to verify that they are functioning properly. In dry-pipe systems, the drip legs need to be drained at least monthly.
- Strobe Lights and Exit Signage should be tested each year to ensure that they are working properly as well.
- Emergency Lighting, Night Lights and Such should be checked each year. Bulbs need to be replaced as well as batteries. Some facilities have gas detection for various sources such as methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, natural gas and many other items based on use of the facility. These sensors should be tested to ensure that they are functioning properly.
- Fire Alarm Systems are a key component to most buildings and should be checked annually. This system is typically tied into the local fire department and notifies them of any issues. Each sensor should be checked on an annual basis and any faulty ones should be replaced.
- Elevator Inspections should be done annually. Most states require annual inspection and certifications kept on file within the building itself.
Other life/safety systems to be maintained and inspected on a regular basis are eye wash units, strobes, backup lights, gas detection, etc.
Heating and Cooling Systems
There are several different types of systems on the market and all have their own maintenance and upkeep requirements. I recommend that a local HVAC professional is retained to do semi-annual maintenance on all units, which would include changing filters, checking Freon, checking gas connections, power connections, overall service maintenance and all the items that the manufacturer recommends. Most owners do not have someone onsite that is able to do all of the maintenance required to prolong the useful life of the equipment. As part of the HVAC system, the condensate lines should be checked because if they get clogged it will cause performance issues for the furnace and even cause it to shut down and not function at all.
Important Things to Take into Consideration When Building Your Project Timeline
Waste Advantage Magazine│ October 2018
Project planning is difficult, to say the least. Many factors play into the overall success and completion of a project. There are permitting authorities, internal teams and departments, governmental agencies, sometimes competition (who may cause additional obstacles/challenges), neighbors causing issues and many other factors.
All the Phases
Construction projects typically involve various phases in their lifecycle. Those phases include project need identification, feasibility phase, design phase, permitting and procurement phase, construction phase and occupancy phase. Following are outlines of what is included in each of these phases.
Step 1: Project Need Identification
Identifying a project need is usually an internal process within a company where someone who is involved in the overall management of the company or management of a specific facility identifies a need. During this phase, a rough scope is identified, a rough budget is developed and (depending on the company) a proforma is developed to help determine the overall project metrics, ROI, etc. Once this is completed, the project is either approved or denied or put on hold for a future year. If the project is approved, the Feasibility Phase begins.
Step 2: Feasibility Phase
During this phase, the team identifies a firm (either an architect or a design/build firm) to review the determined project need, develop preliminary designs, preliminary budgets, estimated schedules, and identify the potential permit process and other obstacles as well as any potential issues. Upon completion of the Feasibility Phase, a solid business case will be able to be put together to back-up or modify the one prepared in Step 1. If all obstacles are cleared and the feasibility report provides efficient data, it is time to begin the Design Phase. Historically, I have felt that bringing in a design/build firm at the Feasibility Phase is crucial because they can help to think through construction means and methods as well as put together budgets based on their current sense of the market. The firm brought in to assist should also be knowledgeable of the industry as well as familiar with the operations of the facility you are looking to build or repair.
Determining When You Need Minor or Significant Repairs to Your Facility
Waste Advantage Magazine│ August 2018
When it comes to facility repairs, it seems like they always take a back seat to other business requirements that require funding. The reason being is that companies have a limited amount of working funds to spend and projects that usually take priority are ones that generate new revenue. Projects to fix or repair an existing facility are usually considered a business expense and not capital (from an accounting perspective) and, therefore, may have a negative connotation within the business itself. So how do you determine when it is a major or minor repair on a facility or when do you need outside help?
Common Points of Concern
As a whole, the waste industry is very rough on their buildings. Transfer stations, recycling facilities, container repair shops and solidification facilities all have varying types of wear and tear. Facilities that require material to be tipped onto the floor (whether it be MSW or recyclables) and then moved around with loaders takes a large toll on the structural integrity of your floor. This is especially true if it is not designed correctly to allow for the abuse it is going to take. Container repair shops require a floor designed for dropping containers and moving them around. Solidification facilities require liquid materials to be combined with various mixing agents and excavators working the material to remove it from the pit. All of these facilities must have structural concrete components and metal buildings that are specifically designed for the application in use or you will have major repairs quickly. Another point of concern on these buildings (or an area that I have seen damaged frequently) is overhead garage doors. Whether it is the side framing or the overhead door itself, many overhead door companies are not familiar with the operations of these facilities and do not design them to be avoided by the different skill level of drivers entering the facility. Remember, not everyone entering these facilities owns a CDL; there are several third-party vendors that enter solid waste facilities. These common points of concern should be taken into consideration when designing a facility to allow it to operate without requiring major maintenance every few months. But how do you know when repairs are absolutely required at your facility? Keep reading to find out a few hot buttons for when your facility needs to be assessed or repaired.
Ensuring Your New/Upgraded Facility Meets Necessary Codes/Regulations
Waste Advantage Magazine│ May 2018
Construction projects, whether they are new builds or upgrades, require compliance with federal, state, county and even local regulations. Each one of these entities may require different levels of approval and follow different processes. The earlier you involve the code officials in your process, the more likely you are to have a smooth transition through the stages of your project. These are many of the regulations and codes, different types of permits and the timelines that may be required.
Regulations and Codes
There are a patchwork of different policies, codes, best practices, requirements and laws that govern site development and construction. At the federal level, the ADA governs accessibility to and within a building. Every state has unique building code amendments and land use requirements. At the local level, municipalities and counties inject their own specific requirements. These are often the most variable and include unique zoning and land-use requirements, local utility and connection requirements, bulk design and aesthetic requirements, as well as local customs and opinions/rules. What is essential to remember about code officers as a property owner? Code officials deal with these codes/rules/policies every day; it is their everyday reality and the responsibility of the property owner (or their developer and representatives) to either know all the requirements, or to engage project team members, who will involve the necessary parties to ensure that all of the requirements are being addressed.
The result of these variable code and regulation overlays is that it is rare to design a facility once and use it repeatedly, nor can you expect to eliminate or shorten the permitting process by using a design previously approved in another area. Every project is reviewed individually and has its own unique characteristics. They all must go through the normal process required by the local municipality or governing jurisdiction and must be approved on its own merit.
As an owner, you must engage a team that has knowledge of the local process that can help manage it for you from start to finish. However, they also must understand the operations, goals, budget, schedule requirements and everything else that makes your project unique.
It is best to build a team early in the project development process and schedule a meeting with the local authorities to make the personal introductions. While you are there, find out what their specific process looks like, understand what they are looking for, figure out where they draw the line when it comes to design and site permitting requirements, and where you can “push back” to void any costly impacts including aesthetics, site layout, etc. This initial meeting should be used to ask questions and learn the process. Let the local code officials talk so you can learn. Do not push back at his meeting but hear what they are saying and ask clarifying questions, so you absolutely understand the fine line between a “requirement” and a “recommendation”. Sometimes “recommendations” or “preferences” are used like “requirements” and if you do not clearly understand the difference, it may end up costing additional money.
Looking at an Expansion or New Facility? The Initial Feasibility Phase Can Make or Break You
Waste Advantage Magazine│ April 2018
You have an opportunity to expand your operation … now what? Where do you start? This initial phase, whether it is called feasibility, assessment, scoping, preliminary design or any other name, is an
important piece to the project and cannot be taken lightly. You must get this right and you only have one chance to do that. No one wants to “go back to the well” for more money or miss their projected open/start date, which pushes back revenue projections and decreases ROI. Getting through this phase with the most knowledgeable team possible to help dial in the need, come up with cost-effective and efficient designs, and accurate budgets and timelines will help a project be more successful from start to finish.
The initial phase includes many different pieces that must be gathered early on and accurately. Some of the items accomplished in this phase are:
- Operational review and assessment
- Analysis of needs to determine options for expansion/new facility
- Conceptual drawings
- Conceptual schedule
- Conceptual budget
- Initial permit research
- Initial utility availability
- Existing building review/assessment
- Site environmental assessments
- Site zoning and setbacks
During this phase, as the owner, you must be able to truly analyze operations in terms of where it is today and where it is projected to be so that your project partner(s) can come up with solutions that are relevant to your immediate needs as well as considering future growth. To do this properly, the right team members should be included, allowing the right amount of time and setting aside some capital to prepare the necessary items to be used in the business case.
There are several different stakeholders/participants in this phase that have very important roles and must be included in all discussions to get the best results. Not all parties will apply to all projects. The stakeholders could consist of:
- Local Employees/Team Members
- Local Management (GM or equivalent)
- Regionally Based Management
- Corporate Team
- Designer or Design/Builder
- Financing Partner (if required)
- Local Permitting Agencies
Let’s walk through the various roles of each stakeholder. Please keep in mind that these roles are different for every organization, so I am using general terms for the purposes of this article.
Site Safety Details to Take Into Consideration Before Breaking Ground
Waste Advantage Magazine│ February 2018
Site safety is a major concern at project sites. Prior to beginning any project, the contractor, owner and design team need to fully evaluate the impact of the construction on the actual site itself as well as the surrounding areas. The major topics we will cover in this article include the owner’s safety plan and requirements, the contractor’s safety plan, the municipality and/or traffic board requirements as well as other various factors that play into the design of the overall project safety plan. This needs to be a group effort to build and manage the plan—a single entity cannot complete an effective safety program by itself. Everyone has a different perspective/role and his/her input is invaluable to the design of the overall safety program.
The basic premise and assumptions for this article is that the project is:
- Taking place in a more urban area that has a lot of car traffic but little foot traffic.
- Ground-up construction project with additional operations onsite.
- Employees will be visiting the project daily to go to work at the other buildings.
- Visitors will be onsite periodically.
Owner Safety Requirements
Any design and construction firm must fully read and understand the owner’s safety requirements and incorporate them into the project safety plan.