After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Factory Building 2. Objectives in Designing Factory Building 3. Factors 4. Types 5. Shape.

Meaning of Factory Building:

Factory building is an important reckoning factor in plant layout. Building of adequate dimensions and suitable design has to be constructed or acquired for installation of the plant intended to carry out the planned manufacturing process.

Plant safety and workability of the production equipment and to provide congenial working conditions for the personnel drafted on different assignments of operation and supervision. In the words of Spriegel, “The factory building is the primary tool to carry on production and into which all other production tools and mechanisms must fit.”

Like all other tools, the factory building must be adapted to the operations to be performed if these operations are to be most effectively carried on.


Factory Building therefore, should provide proper shelter for laying out the plant and allied equipment and adequate space for storage and materials handling and employee-movements in the course of job-performance.

Objectives in Designing Factory Building:

The basic objectives governing the building design for factory building are:

(a) To house the business activities and manufacturing operations in the well laid-out premises and ensure their efficient and economical working of the plant;

(b) Protection of the plant, equipment etc. against hazards of theft, fire and perverse climate;


(c) Conservation of land area through multi-storey buildings;

(d) Supporting overhead equipment like cranes, water tanks, mono-rails, beltlines, pulleys, etc.; and

(e) Providing amenities or service facilities to the employees.

Factors for Ideal Factory Building:

Following are the main factors governing the ideal building designs for industrial activities:


(i) Purpose:

The shape of the building is to be adjusted according to the nature of plant operations. Usually rectangular shapes are preferred to facilitate material handling and to ensure fuller use of space area.

(ii) Product and Technique:

The product and the technique of its manufacture would determine the floor load requirements. The building of the required floor area capable of accommodating the entire flow of operations should be devised. Elaborately designed products require larger space fit for bearing the load of work.

(iii) Materials Handling:

Materials handling devices are to be installed and used in factors. Buildings should be so designed as to fix up the materials handling arrangements needed to reinforce the primary lines of manufacturing operations.

(iv) Geographical Peculiarities:


Terrain of the land, climate of the region and other geographical peculiarities would also influence the plant layout.

(v) Cost:

Cost of the land and costs of construction would obviously influence the size and shape of the building.

Type of Factory Building:

Factory buildings are categorical as single-storey and multi-storey structures. The layout criteria, value of land, cost of construction would determine the choice between single and multi-storey buildings. The manufacturing of liquid type of articles would require multi-storey buildings since due to pressure there would be proper flow of liquids in process.

1. Single-Storey Building:

Advantages of Single-Storey Buildings:


Following are the advantages of single-storey building:

(1) They can be erected at relatively lower cost per square foot of usable area.

(2) Construction work would be faster.

(3) They involve larger floor-bearing capacity. Heavy equipment can be installed or fixed on sound foundation without risk of vibrations.


(4) More usable area will be available because of absence of staircases, elevators, sidewalls and columns associated with multi-storey buildings.

(5) Better natural lighting and ventilation because of fewer obstructions would ensure improved performance.

(6) Supervision would be effective in minimising back-tracking delays, wastages etc.

Single-storey buildings are suitable for plants which require heavy equipment and turnout bulky products.


Disadvantages of Single-storey Buildings:

Single-storey buildings suffer from following limitations:

(a) Higher cost of land;

(b) Higher transportation costs within the spread out building; and

(c) Increased cost of locating utility service.

2. Multi-Storey Building:

Advantages of Multi-storey Buildings:


(a) Less are of land is required for vertical extension of building into different storeys.

(b) Upper floors would be relatively cleaner, since they are far removed from floor-surface. There would be less of dust and dirt in upper floors.

(c) Upper floors are not intensely affected by noise.

(d) They make it easy for gravity flow of material from upper to lower floors thus reducing handling costs.

Multi-storey buildings are suitable for industries located in areas of heavy land values and using light weight materials, e.g., textiles, food products, chemicals etc. and plants that require feeding through gravity flow.

Shape of the Factory Building:

The shape depends on layout plan, plant, site and the perspective of future expansion. The factory buildings however should have firm foundations, capable of withstanding the weight of plant and equipment installed. Bedrock, hardpan or gravel would give sound foundation.

1. Ceiling:


The roof or ceiling can be classified as monitor, flat and sawtooth types. If the roof is flat, there will not be natural lighting and ventilation. If the roof is of monitor type, ventilation and lighting would be inexpensive. The sawtooth roofing with windows facing north would also cause uniform distribution of light.

2. Floor:

Floor covering should be pleasant, sound-deadening, light-reflecting and easy to be cleaned. Maintenance costs and wear and tear would also be minimum. Floor surface should be strong enough to bear load of movements of men and materials.

3. Fire Protection:

Factory Building should have fire-proof structure so as to minimise the losses occurring from the outbreak of fire. Walls having resistance to heat transmission columns, beams having ability to carry loads under fire and incombustible floors with higher load carrying capacity would be built into the design of industrial structures to soften the severity of the impact of fire. “Protected steel, reinforced concrete and sturdy masonry structures are said to constitute the fire-proof buildings.” Buildings should also be provided with fire-fighting emergency kit.

4. Ventilation:

Factory Buildings should have proper arrangements for ventilation to ensure exit of flames, smokes, hot gases, etc. and to admit free flow of fresh air. Absence of adequate ventilation leads to exertion, fatigue, suffocation, and affects the health of the personnel.

If necessary and if resources permit, air conditioning equipment should be fitted so as to create a comfortable climate within the work places and thus enthuse the workers.

5. Lighting:

Lighting is a crucial factor in building design. It improves the accuracy in workmanship, illuminates the area for facilitating the operations and reduces eye fatigue. Accidents are minimised, quality becomes superior and total production increases with suitable provision for lighting.


Lighting should be of proper intensity and well-distributed over the floor space; it should not cause direct glare on the operations. Factory Buildings should be constructed in such a way that daylight will automatically flow into the work centres. But artificial lighting too is inevitable to supplement nature lighting. Electric neon lights are fitted to facilitate the operators under clear sight.

6. Service Facilities:

Factory Building should have sufficient provision for amenities or service facilities to employees.

Arrangements for drinking water, toilet, first-aid should be made in the premises; similarly canteen, rest-rooms, libraries, creches, lunch-rooms, parking facilities, lockers etc. should be devised for the benefit to the workers which would boost their morale.