Climate expertise needed to future-proof industrial buildings

Increased online shopping, cheaper robotics, post-pandemic, war, climate crisis - right now many companies have to adapt their operations and facilities to changing conditions. So says Anders Lundin, architect and head of the Industry competence area at FOJAB.

Architects are problem solvers, dealing with complex relationships is part of everyday life. For those who design and develop industrial buildings, this is clear. There is a strong focus on space efficiency, logistics and safety - but increasingly also on creating attractive and climate-friendly working and outdoor environments.

The aim is to have rational and robust buildings that can last for a long time and change as the business requires.

Sorting out old sins
Along the way, you may need to untangle old knots.

- Industrial buildings have often been rebuilt and added to as new needs have arisen and without any strategy other than what is best in the moment. In the end, they have become so entrenched that it is difficult to move on. The business cannot develop further without taking a holistic approach to the property," says Anders Lundin.

This is where the architect comes in with his expertise and skill, sorting out old sins and seeing new development opportunities.

- We analyze the business and the potential and limitations of the property. We ensure current needs, but also future ones. We draw up a plan for gradual expansion, which the company can hold in its hand when new needs arise. And, of course, we also look at the operation and maintenance of existing buildings, such as re-roofing, and suggest how this can be done without disrupting production.

- Security has emerged as an important issue in the last year following revelations of industrial espionage and we are working proactively with shell protection, locks and protection zones.

The office as an attraction
FOJAB can assist in all stages such as the basis for new detailed plans, project planning for rebuilding, extension or new construction, landscape and interior design. The latter - office interiors - is something that is increasingly being talked about in the industry as well, says Anders.

- Every company wants to attract and retain the right skills, and it has been recognized that the office can be a magnet for the workforce. This is where we turn to FOJAB's interior designers, who work extensively on creating high-functioning and attractive offices.

The outdoor environment has also long been overlooked in an industrial context. Anders is trying to change that.

- Everywhere has been paved by mistake. We want to minimize the amount of hard surfaces so that the business can function, but keep as much as possible green for the sake of stormwater and biodiversity.

Perfect for greenery
Rooftops are an obvious place for solar cells, says Anders. And now the regulations are finally starting to catch up, making it profitable to produce more electricity than your own consumption. Previously, it has been difficult to sell the surplus electricity.

The large, often windowless facades are perfect for climbing greenery that absorbs solar heat in summer and insulates in winter. Plus, the greenery creates better air and looks nice.

The contribution of architects' climate expertise is often welcome.

- Many companies today have climate requirements not only for production but also for buildings. Here we can help to reduce the climate footprint with climate-friendly materials and smarter energy consumption, for example how to reuse waste heat from production.

Major changes affecting
It is not only the climate crisis that is causing major changes that may need to be met with renovations, extensions and new buildings. Several other factors in the outside world have caused many companies to review their operations right now. Increased online shopping creates a greater need for warehouses and transshipment centers. Deteriorating supply chains during the pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding the war in Ukraine are causing industries to move their production home. In particular, US companies have left China. This is made possible by cheaper and more accessible automation and robotics.

Anders can see three categories of businesses that use FOJAB. Firstly, public companies that work with large infrastructure investments for water, electricity and sewage. Production companies that must relate to new consumption patterns and geopolitical conditions in the world. And real estate development: adapting existing buildings to new tenants. Here it is mainly small industry that needs new premises for various reasons.

- We are a holistic partner that ensures operation, maintenance and future development opportunities.