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Extraction & Infusion Facility Planning, Design and Licensing

Extraction & Infusion Facility Planning, Design and Licensing

Extraction Facility Planning, Design and Licensing

We provide turnkey design & engineering for marijuana concentrate production (extraction), marijuana infused products (edibles), and laboratories.  The design package includes industrial hygiene and safety envelope development, architectural design, and engineering.  This is the foundation for your permit application.

Facility Pre Planning & Licensing Support

One of the first steps necessary is for the certified industrial hygienist (CIH) to help design the “safety envelope” for the operation. A good “safety envelope” is key for acceptance of the facility by the local municipality’s planners. The safety envelope report (IH Assessment of Operations, Hazards, Controls, and Recommendations) will provide guidance to the owner, architect, engineer, city planner’s office, fire department, and others connected with the planning and construction of the Cannabis Concentrate Production (CCP) facility. The CIH will ask questions concerning the expected equipment and operations, and may offer suggestions to determine the best equipment. He will then evaluate the equipment and operations to determine the specific hazards present and suggested engineering and administrative controls. The engineering controls usually take the form of ventilation for butane or solvent-type operations and process isolation. Examples of engineering controls would be isolation ventilation, where walk-in or fume hoods would be selected.

Appropriate Ventilation Controls to be Considered for CCP Designs Include:

  1. Butane, propane, mixed-gas extractor use
  2. Heptane, IPA, Ethanol, Extraction or Winterization Process
  3. Carbon dioxide extraction
  4. Vacuum oven exhaust
  5. Dust control during marijuana trimming & size reduction
  6. Flammable gas & liquid storage

Other Controls May Include:

  1. Outside gas storage
  2. Flammable storage cabinets
  3. Secondary containment for waste or processed liquids
  4. Outside hazardous material storage

Administrative Controls designed to reduce worker exposure to hazards and create more efficient work flow may include:

  1. Personal protective equipment
  2. Standard operating procedures
  3. Emergency action plans
  4. Selection of ergonomic equipment
  5. Hazard communication programs
  6. Hygiene-sanitation programs

Architectural Plans    

Once the CIH has done his safety envelope work, he will work with the architect to help design a safe and efficient layout for the operation. From a sanitation perspective, Colorado and many other states treat CCPs and Marijuana (Cannabis) Infused Facility (MIPs) similarly. These facilities must meet commercial kitchen/lab standards for clean ability. Therefore, walls, floors and ceilings must be cleanable. Furnishings must be smooth and non-porous. They must be cleanable with bleach or other disinfecting solutions. The room must include a wear-washing sink and a hand sink, and it should include or have ready access to restrooms.

A typical CCP size will be between 700 to 1,200 square feet, depending on the number and type of operations and the expected throughput.

Typical CCP Include:

  1. Butane or carbon-dioxide extractor
  2. Fume hood or walk-in hood
  3. Eyewash station
  4. 2 to 4 NSF stainless steel worktables
  5. A purging area with vacuum ovens
  6. NSF 3-basin stainless steel sinks
  7. 2 to 4 NSF stainless steel shelves
  8. Secondary containment for solvents
  9. Flammable liquid storage cabinet
  10. Bins or garbage containers for organic waste
  11. Lighting sufficient to supply 20 to 50-foot candles of illumination
  12. Epoxy or seamless vinyl flooring
  13. Smooth, painted walls that may have Marlite wainscoting
  14. Vinyl coated suspended ceiling tiles

Engineering

Since the CCP is a commercial operation, even remodels will require engineering. Typically projects will have the need for a:

  • Mechanical and plumbing engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Structural engineer

Typically, the engineers will begin their portion of the project after the CIH and architect have completed a 35% sketch of the facility. The engineers will need design flow rates for ventilation equipment, in addition to a list of equipment that allows them to find specification sheets, sizes and power requirements for the equipment. It is usually more efficient for the mechanical/plumbing engineer to do his initial drawings before the structural engineer begins to address roof loads for HVAC systems. Lastly, when all the systems have been initially designed and drawings have been made, the electrical engineer will evaluate the power requirements and draw up his plans for satisfying the power plans and distribution needed for the facility.

At this point, the architect and engineer must stay in contact to push the design effort. It is a good idea to go visit the city planning office when the project is between 35% and 75% completion stage. In this manor, officials can be given a heads up, and if changes are necessary, they can be economically accommodated. Once the plans are complete and the design phase has reached 100%, the architect and engineers plans will be assembled, either electronically or on paper, depending on the municipality, together with equipment cut sheets and a hazardous material inventory, and submitted by the architect or engineer to the municipality’s planning office.

Build

Hopefully a competent general contractor (GC) has been identified to move the project from the design stage to the construction stage. For smaller jobs, the GC will have a number of preferred subcontractors that he prefers to get jobs done. With work costing more than 20 to 50 thousand dollars, or more, the jobs will most likely be bid out. The GC usually is remunerated based on a percentage of the cost or project with progress payments made for completed work.

Although the architect and engineers basic deliverables have been completed, they should visit the jobsite occasionally to confirm work is being done to specifications. The GC should give the professionals notice prior to task completions and scheduled inspections.

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