The design and construction of a cannabis cultivation facility is a complex process that requires thorough consideration and the input from a diverse team including the owners, operators and professional consultants. And if you choose to retrofit, a variety of items should be considered. The following list, while not exhaustive, serves as a good starting point for the evaluation and layout of your building. Thinking about these items as early as possible in the project schedule will result in a process that is faster and less expensive, and yields a higher-quality and more-efficient operation.

Evaluate the Building to Determine Suitability for Cultivation

Existing buildings come in an infinite variety of types and conditions, each with their own unique set of qualities affecting how well they can be converted into a cultivation facility. Items to review include:

1. Structure Condition: Structural repairs are costly and time-consuming. It’s beneficial to have a structural engineer survey the building to confirm that no deficiencies exist. If rooftop mechanical units are planned, the structure must be evaluated to verify that it has the capacity to support the additional load or if it can be reinforced. If the site allows, it’s often preferred to mount the mechanical equipment on the ground around the perimeter of the building so the roof structure is not impacted.

2. Ceiling Height: A minimum clearance of 10 feet is desired under the roof (depending on the type of lighting used), though having more than 14 feet of clearance is even better. This allows enough room for lighting, ductwork and sprinklers, while still allowing plenty of space between plants and lights.

3. Materials and Contaminants: Older buildings frequently have contaminants such as asbestos, lead paint and mold hiding throughout. These items can be abated or encapsulated to provide a clean envelope (the separator

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