- Finding a contractor for your marijuana facility is one of the most important, yet overlooked, issues when entering the marijuana industry
- No two marijuana grow facilities are the same, so it’s important to be in constant communication with your contractor to make sure everything will be to the necessary specifications
- If you want your marijuana facility to operate the way you need it to, you must be involved in every step of the process
Michigan’s green rush is on and if there is a time to get involved, it’s now. With the recent passing of recreational, Michigan’s marijuana market is about to boom. One of the most overlooked issues when entering the marijuana industry is finding a contractor that will be able to help you build your marijuana facility.
It is important to find a contractor that understands the marijuana industry and has preferably been involved with marijuana facility construction in the past. Marijuana facilities require very unique specifications that not all contractors may be familiar with.
Specifically, marijuana grow facilities need heating and cooling units (HVAC) to regulate the temperature effectively in order to create the perfect grow environment. These special HVAC units may also require for the roof to be reinforced. This is something you should have quoted with your marijuana facility contractor ahead of time to prepare for costs. Furthermore, marijuana facilities need to account for very high heat loads, mold protection, and special electrical requirements.
Something important to keep in mind is the fact that no two marijuana grow facilities function in the exact same way. This makes it crucial for you to be in constant communication with your contractor, so you are able to build the facility exactly how you like it. Variances can occur in:
- Soil vs. hydroponic
- Hand watering vs. automatic watering
- Pots vs. installed tables for growing
- CO2 vs. conventional
- Moveable lighting vs. fixed
These small details can make a big difference in the way you construct your facility. This makes it imperative for you to involve yourself every step of the way.
Phase 1: Design
The design process can take anywhere from four to eight weeks. This depends on the complexity and size of your facility and how busy your architect is (a good architect is typically very busy, so if yours isn’t that is an issue). The design process comes in two parts: architectural drawings and Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing drawings (MEP). The MEP drawings must be completed by a licensed engineer to assure your space functions properly; mainly preventing electrical overload which is a major fire hazard.
Phase 2: Plan Review
Once both the architectural and MEP plans are complete, they need to be submitted to the local building department and fire department for permit review. In many municipalities, you may need to submit these plans to the water department as well because they rarely communicate efficiently. It is important to keep in mind that review times vary immensely depending on the municipality. Some cities are able to issue permits in two weeks, while others may take much longer. Additionally, these departments may come back to you with required revisions to either set of plans, which would force you to go back to the design phase. Many municipalities offer “simple” permits for smaller projects, and while you may think you are saving time, no marijuana facility will be simple in any way.
Phase 3: Marijuana Facility Construction
Once the design is finalized and all permits have been issued, any good marijuana contractor will give you a written schedule outlining major milestones along the journey of construction. These milestones include passing inspections, pouring back floors after plumbing completion, deliveries of major equipment, etc.
When reviewing the schedule with your contractor it is critical to outline any outside vendors that will be involved with the project, most commonly security. If you are able to put your security vendor in contact with your contractor early in the process, they will be able to work together to find the ideal time to install all security systems. Doing this late could seriously hurt the progress of your grow, which is something that should be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, if you are supplying outside equipment like grow lights, make sure you and your contractor are on the same page on when they should be installed.
The Bottom Line
Even if a contractor is well versed in marijuana facility construction, it is imperative that you never assume anything. Ask questions. Over-communicate if you have to. If you want your marijuana facility to operate in the way you need it to, you must be involved in every step of the process and in every decision made. With proper communication between you and your contractor, you will be on your way to growing one of the most profitable plants around.