Food Processing

food certifications

Recent conference reveals new food safety recommendations

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” – William A. Foster

In the food industry, being SQF certified is important across all parts of production, especially when it comes to construction. SQF stands for “Safe Quality Food,” and is a food management certification scheme created by the SQF Institute. With an average of a one-year implementation process, the rigorous requirements of this certification prove to be a well-recognized way of maintaining the safety of the products and devices that companies in this industry use. Ultimately, the end goal is to make sure that the process of food production is safe from beginning to end.

The benefits that come with this certification are significant. Some of them include:

  • You can better manage the risks associated with food safety, as a team. Implementing this system into your environment will strengthen your entire operation. Ingrid Sweeney, from Industrial Packaging challenges you to ask look at your organization with a new perspective and ask yourself who the one responsible for food safety is. “Well, actually it’s everyone. Each employee needs to understand how they can impact safe practices,” she says. 
  • You can prove your dedication to the industry. The SQF certification is a heavily involved process, and rightfully so. When it comes to being a part of the food production industry, you must be completely transparent in your efforts to provide quality products for consumers.
  • You can become part of a worldwide movement. As stated previously, this certification is well-recognized. Join the international strides towards safe food handling. Ingrid Sweeney says, “Thousands of companies in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and in Asia have received the certification–it’s a big deal.”

SQF and the Construction Industry

In late October, the SQF International Conference revealed a significant relationship between safe food production and construction. It was discovered and presented that in 2017, 50% of the top 10 minor non-conformances and 20% of the top 10 major non-conformances were related to construction. For 2018, the numbers improved only slightly. 30% of the minor non-conformances and (still) 20% of the major non-conformances were construction-related. 

When comparing and contrasting 2017 and 2018, the SQF Institute found that plants still have physical challenges, especially floors, walls, and ceilings posing a risk to the product or process.

One of the major recommendations from the Institute to prevent non-conformances involves HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) team refresher training. Define explicitly by the FDA, this is “a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.” 

Other recommendations included the use of:

  • A preventative maintenance schedule 
  • plant improvement plan system 
  • A system for temporary repairs
  • A review of Critical Control Points (CCPs)

At Galbraith, we are proud to say that we are both SQF and HACCP certified. We understand the significance and responsibility that comes with the intersection of construction/maintenance and the food production industry. Many of the recommendations from the SQF Institute relate directly to our line of work, so we are here to do our part and make sure the standards for food safety never drop below top notch. Our experience fits with William A. Foster’s philosophy: Quality is never an accident.

Construction Process, General Contracting

modular construction process

How modular construction is proving a worthwhile investment

Greener. Faster. Smarter. Modular construction is the new norm. Creating and constructing parts of a building or the entire structure itself on the site can be muddy, cold, wasteful, and inconvenient, to name a few. However, taking this task indoors, in a controlled and spacious environment, provides not only a better experience for the worker but a better product in much less time. Doing so is known as modular construction. The Modular Building Institute created this graphic to show the time that is saved by this form of construction.

modular construction schedule

The Institute also expands on how modular construction can benefit the environment, the building process, and the quality of the result:


  • Increased flexibility and reuse. The buildings can be disassembled and relocated to meet a different need for the company. This reduces the disposal of functioning materials and demands for new ones, as well as replaces the energy needed to construct an entirely new project.
  • Reduced material waste. In a controlled facility, the inventory for construction materials is protected from weather elements and used more efficiently to distribute materials.
  • Better air quality. Once again, being out of all uncontrollable weather elements ensures that the materials will be kept dry and free of trapped moisture.


  • Reduced schedule. Since site and foundation development can occur at the same time as the building construction, projects can be completed between 30-50% quicker.
  • ROI comes sooner. Weather delays many traditional construction projects, getting in the way of a company’s return-on-investment.


  • Safer construction. Building projects in these controlled environments reduce the risks of accidents and liabilities for a company’s workers.
  • Increased structural security. Generally, since modular construction projects have to withstand transportation, they are stronger and more structurally sound than traditional projects.
  • Indistinguishable aesthetics. Even though construction takes place away from the construction site, it will still match the overall design of the project.

Going (and growing) modular

The popularity of modular construction is on the rise. The Modular Building Institute’s Permanent Modular Construction Annual Report revealed that it accounted for 3.18% of the value of new commercial construction in 2016. The goal of the overall industry is to reach 5% of the commercial construction market share by 2022. Additionally, contractors who use modular construction (which amounts to about 35% of contractors in the U.S. who implement these techniques) on more than half of their projects are more effective throughout the building process than those who aren’t.

Triax Technologies says, “Google, Starbucks, Marriott, and even tech companies like Autodesk, are betting big on offsite construction, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the method,” regarding the nation’s overall investment in modular. Galbraith is also joining these efforts.

Our company has a history of pre-fabricating items in our shop or other indoor locations before taking these items to a job site. Some of these items include:

  • concrete forms
  • rebar mats and canes
  • steel assemblies
  • door assemblies
  • ceiling panels

We are currently working on fabricating modular structures indoors for a highly-complex cold storage industrial project. In this case, weather delays, access, and safety were the main drivers in our decision to go modular. These, plus a forward-thinking and innovative customer/owner. It’s always satisfying to work for an owner who is a visionary.

Some progress photos of this project are below. Check back in the future for time-lapse photography and drone footage of this latest project!


General Contracting, Roofing Repair

metal roofing

A quality-built metal roof will save money and last for decades

It’s no secret that the metal roofing industry is booming, and it is expected to continue its booming growth through the foreseeable future. Metal roofs have been the #1 choice for non-residential construction since they first arrived on the scene, and this is no surprise. They last much longer than other roofing materials without needing to be replaced. In fact, it is common that before a metal roof requires work, the building’s trims, gutters, and downspouts will need to be replaced. When it comes to metal roofing, we’ve inspected roofs built over 50 years ago, and they’re still performing like new!

The success of metal roofing, however, goes hand-in-hand with their quality. It is critically important not only to have an expert installation but to employ a company that you know uses the best materials available. Metal roofs made of inferior materials can cause lots of problems, from leaking and rusting to breakage and other damage that requires speedy repair.

Metal roofs are commonly made of:

  • Steel
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Zinc

While each of these materials has unique benefits, they all offer long-lasting durability. In addition, they help to cool the roof and produce energy-saving qualities, protect against fires, and, when installed correctly, don’t corrode, crack or become damaged.

At Galbraith, we not only focus on using the best materials to provide the best possible outcomes, but we also believe that a superior roof needs to be part of an entire system. Your roofing system should include all fasteners, flashings and building components and your installer should ensure that they’ve been designed to work together effectively. While anyone can put on metal roofing, it takes experience and dedication to quality to understand the workings of a properly engineered system and to install it with care. This is difficult to find, and it’s something we pride ourselves on possessing.

We are part of the builder network for NCI, which is currently named #1 as a “major key player” in the industry by the Global Metal Roofing Market, and we’re proud of this position. The report researches the metal roofing market as well as its global outlook and its outlook across major regions, from the angles of manufacturers, types of products offered, end industries and locations.

If you’re in need of a metal roof for your business or facility, reach out at any time to discuss your options. We will help answer questions and work to be sure that you receive a roof that is dependable and lasting.

General Contracting

general contracting in pa

Understand the benefits of a single point of contact in construction

The Design-Build project delivery system is growing in popularity in America. This unique construction process provides a one-stop shop for those entering a new project. It integrates both the design components and construction into one seamless operation with a single point of contact throughout every phase of the project.

Outside of the benefits of a single point of contact working with you, is the collaborative nature of the entire team working on the project. The designer and construction manager work together to ensure the project is on schedule, budget and in scope rather than having multiple companies working as a decentralized team.  Moreover, the benefits to the owner of the construction project are immense.

  • one company is accountable for the entire process
  • faster project delivery
  • costs are known in advance
  • cost savings through value engineering
  • reduced risks due to only dealing with one firm
  • higher project quality
  • reduced owner burden because you are just managing one company

Regardless of the type of project delivery method Galbraith is involved with, our story rings true with every customer: “…highly collaborative process that’s built on trust, teamwork, innovation and creative problem-solving.”

I have to agree with the statement made by Stephanie Anderson, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President at Creative Business Interiors, “When challenges are encountered during construction, brainstorming and creative problem-solving often involve the owner’s team as active participants, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and consider options. Everyone works together to develop innovative, adaptable solutions while avoiding excuses and blame-shifting that might otherwise occur.”

Our operational model at Galbraith is that of a design-build. We deliver the same results of the design-build delivery system, a team-management approach to all of our projects. Whether working directly for an owner or working with an owner’s design team, we work together to provide the best possible scenario for the end user. And because the majority of our projects are highly complex, it is even more critical to possess these traits. This proves that adopting a design-build model as a general contractor can indeed happen successfully.

General Contracting

general construction

Using pencil and paper construction planning in a tech-savvy world

In the midst of today’s modern and tech-savvy world, it’s incredibly refreshing to go “old school” at the start of a building vision. I enjoy going back to my roots, sketching and making shop drawings. I crafted the drawing below with nothing but an old-fashioned pencil, pen, ruler, piece of paper, and, most importantly, a vision. To me, this encompasses what a drawing is. A drawing, quite simply put, is someone’s vision that has been translated onto a piece of paper—preferably by the hands of the visionary.

A builder with creative vision can translate things in his mind before even putting them to paper. He or she can see an idea, further develop it within their mind, then bring it to life with their hands by putting pen or pencil to paper and beginning to draw before they even start to build. To do this, passion and creativity have to be in your blood. That is what translates a vision from the mind to the hands.

Throughout my middle school and high school careers, I also worked—proudly—as a draftsman for my father’s construction company. Because of my experience, my high school drafting class teacher permitted me to leave school in order to walk to my father’s office to work (this was rather unheard of during these days—prior to today’s traditional co-op and work experience opportunities.)

During the summers and over school holidays, I also served as a construction laborer, furthering my experience and knowledge and further pursuing my passion. I walked straight from school to job sites, hoping “the guys” would still be there so that I could learn more. If they weren’t there, I’d walk through the job site anyway, continuing to learn and dream about projects…then I’d walk to my father’s office.

Today, tapping into hand sketches takes me right back to those days of learning. As I get older I sometimes make the argument that these drawings are still faster than waiting for a CAD drawing file to be sent and shared, only to later have technology problems opening a file or having an email get lost in cyberspace. Whether these problems occur or not, it’s undeniable that a pencil-to-paper sketch contains more heart than any CAD-produced mock-up.

The heart in it is what makes it refreshing. A CAD file just can’t be in your blood the way that a hand sketch can. Likewise, a mouse will just never fit the hand the way a pencil does. I take pride in holding on to this “old school” passion, and in using it to put extra heart into the work I do for my clients.

Food Processing

frozen food industry

Don’t worry; things aren’t cooling off that much for frozen desserts.

According to the latest report from Dairy Foods, frozen dessert sales are falling, including the king of frozen desserts – ice cream. The crowded marketplace, competition, changes in consumer preferences and the healthier focus consumers are looking for in their favorite ice cream has made it difficult for some in the refrigerated and frozen food marketplace. However, according to a June 2018 report from the Freedonia Group, Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts: United States,”  U.S. demand for ice cream and frozen desserts is forecast to total 7.6 billion pounds in 2022.

This doesn’t seem like it’s a slowing market segment to me. In fact, I’m seeing an increase in product and shipping with our numerous frozen dessert processors and distributors that I work with, contradicting these reports, at least for my customers.

So what does the future hold for the refrigerated and frozen food industry?

Innovation will be a crucial ingredient to the success of some frozen dessert processors and distributors moving forward.


Innovation for the frozen food market can mean many things from new product introductions, on-demand ordering or new go-to-market strategies. At Galbraith, we pride ourselves in assisting frozen dessert facilities to increase capacity, make their facilities flow more efficiently, plan for growth, and troubleshoot problems.

In many cases, we will work with an owner’s engineer and design team to verify field conditions to stave off conflicts and problems before they arise, as well as offer pre-emptive suggestions on how to resolve an issue. We can do this due to our decades of experience in the cold storage and food processing industry. Owners and their design teams appreciate our collaborative mindset and the fact that we look out for everyone’s best interests. We enjoy brainstorming with a team, learning new methods and materials, as well as providing our input as well.

Moral of this story is that innovation can come in many forms. In this case for some of our frozen food customers, they are looking at innovation as a way to make their processes better and more efficient to combat the changing landscape of the food industry.

General Contracting

building for churches

Simple steps to smart building for churches and religious organizations

When considering the construction of your church or religious organization, it is important to think seriously about all aspects of design and construction. A quality contractor will be tuned into the mission and ideologies of your facility, and will help you work to properly reflect them within your walls.

As you understand well, it is the people who truly make up a religious organization. Your members likely work to better their surrounding community on a daily basis, which is why one of the most important considerations in choosing the right contractor for a project is that contractor’s involvement in and ties to the surrounding community. Securing a contractor who lives in your community, understands the people there and who is genuinely interested in your project’s success can make an incredible difference.

church constructionThe buildings that house religious organizations vary vastly in shape, size and features. They are made of all different sorts of materials. With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start when you begin to plan. After finding a contractor who truly has their finger on the pulse of your specific needs, it is important to keep a few factors in mind.

  1. AVOID DESIGN FADS – Just as clothing styles change over the years, so do elements of architecture and design. There are some amazing and incredible churches across the world, but don’t get hung up on fitting that mold. A church or religious organization should offer a more classic and timeless style, as the building should be able to be used for generations to come. Rather than following trends that come and go, look into designs that make sense for your facility’s long-term plan.
  2. FORESEE THE FUTURE – Plan architectural elements that make sense as your facility changes and grows. Consider the current needs of your members as well as those that may develop in the future. Is your town growing? Does your community focus surround helping to feed those in need? If so, consider building an on-site commercial kitchen. Not only does this help you to attain specific goals, it also makes your building more versatile. Not sure if this is right for your facility? Check out these kitchen tips from Church Executive.
  3. BLUEPRINT FOR GROWTH – Over time, your religious organization will likely (and hopefully) gain new members and experience growth. If you plan the construction of your facility with this growth in mind, you can create a building that is more easily expandable.
  4. FOCUS ON YOUR VISION – Clearly define the vision you have for your building, taking into consideration all needs and purposes your facility must meet and serve. Take a moment to get your vision in writing. This gives you the opportunity to make changes as you need, to share your vision with a professional and to keep your eyes on the bigger picture.
  5. BREAKDOWN YOUR BUDGET – As you plan your vision and you consider the future, don’t forget to plan a budget. Consider all aspects of building costs; not just brick and mortar but also furniture, appliances and fixtures. Work with your contractor to avoid creating unforeseen and unnecessary financial stress when building gets underway.

To a quality contractor, your project should never be considered “just another” job. At Galbraith, we enjoy playing a crucial role in our hometown and surrounding communities, and in planning and building places of worship that will serve our friends, families and fellow residents for years to come by making a lasting impression on the lives of many.

To begin planning—or just to ask a few questions—reach out today. We’d love to hear from you.




General Contracting

fire safe building

How metal construction provides added value when building a fire-resistance structure.


A fire-resistance building can save lives. Constructing a metal building can further help reduce structure flammability and can provide up to a four-hour rating on walls. However, this doesn’t make a building fireproof. High temperatures can still damage metal, especially when it’s unprotected.

Richard Rinka at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) was recently featured in Metal Construction News stated,  “In terms of fire resistance, remember redundancy provides safer construction. Additionally, automatic warning and detection systems are a critical factor in limiting fire spread, and loss of life and property. They should always be a part of any fire-protection plan.”

There are several mistakes that can happen when constructing a fire-resistance building that can be mitigated when using a design/build firm:

  1. Not selecting the proper firestop system for the application.
  2. Not following the requirements of a listed and tested system.
  3. Poor job-site conditions that do not meet the stated range of a tested system
  4. Adhesion issues due to improper cleaning substrate
  5. Incorrect annular space
  6. Not meeting minimum depth of fill material
  7. Improper backing materials
  8. Improper use/installation of mineral wool

Mitigating Risks

One, of many, advantages of utilizing a design/build construction firm is having an experienced team in place from the very beginning who understands the various codes and regulations when it comes to fire resistance and fire suppression. A design/build team works with the client/building owner from the start to determine building use, occupancy type, number of employees, etc and then formulates a comprehensive plan for building design and construction that will best suit the building type, use, location, budget, etc.

However, the team approach should not end after the pre-design (or pre-construction) and design phases. It should continue through the material buy-out, construction, and final completion and occupancy. Which fire resistant material or coating is the most practical? What site conditions allow for which fireproofing method? Which supplier will provide undamaged materials? What has worked in the past with success? All of these answers come from years of experience and expertise by both office and field personnel.

At Galbraith Pre-Design, Inc., we use generations of knowledge and experience to continue to solve the ever-growing number of regulations and life safety codes.

General Contracting

design build tips

5 ways hiring a design-build firm will help you in your next project

An integrated firm has all departments under the same roof. This means that each of these teams are constantly working together, which provides more experience as well as increased communication skills. Working with an integrated design and construction firm will boost overall plant efficiency. Here are five tips that you should consider.

1. Integrate process equipment design and layout with the overall design of the building


The success of a project is determined mostly by looking at the planning stage of the project. This is where the scope and layout of the project are determined. The best way to create that success is to consider putting the design, build, and engineering teams together. This will maximize square footage and provide the most efficient manufacturing job. The goal with your footprint is to maximize product output and deliver the most ROI possible. A smaller footprint means lower construction costs.

2. Get your architect and builder working together early in the project


The reason for this is to manage costs and expectations. A good architect will do an analysis that will lay out your facility in the most cost-effective way possible. The builder is the one that carries the knowledge of costs. Since the builder has this knowledge, having the builder work with the architect will provide the most functional building project for you without having to worry about ridiculous costs.

3. Consider design-build


According to the Design-Build Institute of America, design-build projects tend to be 33.5% faster than design-bid-build projects. Design-build projects have endless benefits, including the following:

  • Better quality
  • Less risk
  • Follow food safety regulations
  • Reasonable scope and budget
  • Faster construction schedule
  • Strong subcontractor relationships

4. Be aware of industry regulations

Being aware of these regulations from the beginning of the project to the end will allow for the project to get done quicker and with fewer problems. The key is to choose a reliable team to work on your project. This is where design-build would be great because, as stated above, they tend to be the best at following these regulations.

5. Design for the future

When designing, it’s important to ask yourself a set of questions that will, in return, set the bar for the remainder of the project. Asking yourself “what happens if my business grows again” and “what will we do if we double our lines in 5-10 years”, will assist you in planning out your future through this project.



Food Processing

hiring a design-build firm

How to hire the right design-build firm – ensuring a successful project.


When it comes to a project, the designing and constructing phases require exceptional communication to be successful. You may think that the communication aspect is out of your control, but that’s not the case. It starts with you. How? Because who you hire matters.

Working with an integrated firm is one of the best ways to ensure that communication is kept adequate. With an integrated firm, every person working on the project is working for the same company. For example, the mechanical and electrical departments are working hand-in-hand with each other, and have in the past as well. Due to this pre-existing relationship, they know how to successfully work together to get the job done and have direct communication with each other. If you choose to work with multiple companies instead, it’s not hard to lose that strong communication. Here are three ways that working with an integrated design-build firm can improve the food safety of your next manufacturing facility.

Design and construction teams are highly coordinated


This coordination goes along with communication. Overlooking even the smallest of problems during a project can result in a huge recall. Since they are continuously working together and can talk through any issues they may have along the way, it’s easier for them to complete a project with fewer issues than others would.

Piping and the food safety risk of condensation


In the food industry, there are many projects that have to do with piping. With piping, many teams need to get involved including mechanical, structural, architectural, electrical, and more. This is where an integrated firm would be beneficial to a project. The construction team and the rest of the staff have regular internal design reviews which would keep everyone involved on the same page. Since these teams are always working together, there is a certain level of comfort there that makes everyone feel that they can speak up, which creates more opportunity for collaboration and success.

Troubleshooting is focused on problem-solving, not finger pointing


If there is a problem during a build, regardless of which department is responsible, the issue can and will be quickly resolved. Integrated firms use a checks and balances approach so that each department is aware of what the other departments are doing. This prevents potential hazards that may go unnoticed if not working with an integrated firm.