Innovative Shop Design

How to create a maintenance facility for maximum functionality and productivity

Maintenance Design Group uses the Charrette approach when designing a maintenance facility. This type of approach is an intensive, on-site planning and design session that brings people from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore design options.

“It accomplishes in one week what can take months if done by traditional methods,” Leidy says. “The design charrette builds consensus and synergy, while a standard design approach can lead to misunderstanding and disagreement. We’ve proven that this strategy works again and again.”

With the charrette method of design, a typical week might include:

- Day One. Maintenance Design Group presents six or eight site layouts to its client’s work group to review. The sketches are put up on the wall, and everyone discusses what they like and don’t like about each. Once MDG has everyone’s comments, it takes the sketches back to the drawing board for the initial fine tuning.

- Day Two. The design team narrows the six to eight site layouts down to two or three. These new designs incorporate everyone’s comments and begin to show parking layouts, building details and preliminary landscaping features.

- Days Three to Five. Another review session and more refinements occur before Maintenance Design Group combines these last choices down to one final site layout. With the preliminary master plan in hand, the company turns its focus on the inside of the buildings. For the next two days, the company and the planning team review building interior options and discuss equipment needs in the same open forum until a conceptual design is agreed upon.

During the initial design phase, Leidy encourages fleet managers to hold a peer review session and invite other managers to a day-long informal review session asking them to critique the design. During this session, the peers can contribute any ideas that help validate the design for the managers.

“In one project, one peer administrator pointed out there was no place to push the snow,” says Leidy. “We already knew this was a problem because we were working with such a small site. As a result of the discussions from that meeting, we decided to install snow melt into the pavement, which solved our problem.”

Designing a maintenance facility is a complex process. “Asking the right questions and planning carefully in advance means fleet and  managers will experience a smooth design and construction process that results in a safe, efficient and positive work environment that will last the life of the facility,” concludes Leidy.


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