Renovator’s dream—how to get the best result from your brownfield project

Renovator’s dream—how to get the best result from your brownfield project

  • Industry Type: Industrial Manufacturing, Warehousing, Refurbishment, Logistics, Food Processing
  • Author: Andrew Newby
  • Service Area: Advice
  • Date: 26 Jul 2011


When food and beverage companies experience growth or success, they often decide to extend their existing facilities. This can appear initially to be a simple and painless exercise.  However, achieving the optimal commercial and operational outcomes while maintaining existing production levels can be quite a challenging process.

With so  many issues to address and the amount of input needed from various company departments even the  best intentioned  Project Manager can tire and lose his way, to the point where the project begins to flounder or worse, detours down a  slippery and rocky path.

This article provides a simple framework to view this process of change and work through the numerous challenges these brownfield projects can present.

Master planning plays a crucial role when considering the location of a new extension within your existing site. Without a master plan, businesses face the risk of building into a corner limiting the overall usefulness of the site and making it less attractive to future owners or tenants of the property.

When preparing a master plan, it is important to take into consideration the goals and issues of each individual departments in your operation. Senior management goals and considerations will be more commercial based. Production goals will include the maintenance of production flow and efficiency gains. Operational considerations will include staging of the works, OHS levels, serviceability and flexibility of the extended facility.

Once these factors have been highlighted they can be weighed and further considered against the goals and issues facing the company as a whole.

Depending upon the size and type of industry, senior management will need to have a full understanding of the goals, considerations and risks of their production, site operations, engineering and maintenance departments including cleaning requirements.

General Brownfield project considerations for all departments will include:

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A complete factsheet detailing all the brownfield project considerations is available here

By investing the time necessary to gather this information early, company awareness is raised—departments' requirements, changes and most importantly their effects on the business are thoroughly considered.

This can then be translated into a project brief to succinctly detail your requirements to the company responsible for the design and construction work. 

Early internal research and careful planning allows the engagement to run more smoothly throughout the project—process, building design, construction and commissioning.

A good starting point is to list and separate issues into three categories—goals, considerations or risks. Goals should include the desired commercial, production and operational outcomes. Considerations are the aspects to be actively managed or monitored. Risks involve the areas of the project that could have a detrimental effect on the project outcomes.

These categories can then be applied to the relevant company departments as illustrated in the following table.

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About the author
Andrew Newby is the Business Development Director at Wiley and can be contacted on 1300 385 988 or email

Further Information
A complete factsheet detailing all the brownfield project considerations is available here.  

This article was published in Food & Drink Business Magazine.

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