Cannabis Construction


There are many design and construction details that must be considered to achieve a successful cannabis facility design and development. Grow operations, production processes, space ratios, as well as permitting and zoning requirements are all elements that should be explored in the earliest stages to ensure that a cannabis facility is designed and constructed in the most functional and cost-effective manner. Partnering with an experienced contractor that is actively engaged throughout the project will ensure that the very best design and construction decisions are made, resulting in a superior finished product and the very best customer experience.


Want to learn more about how to design and build your cannabis facility?

ARCO’s design/build delivery method provides customers with go to contract pricing based on in-house preliminary design at no cost. Contact us today for more information: [email protected]

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With experience building cannabis cultivation, process, distribution and retail facilities nationwide, ARCO is expertly capable of providing the best, value-driven solutions for our customers’ cannabis design and construction needs. Whether it’s a new, state-of-the-art grow facility or the conversion of an existing space into a medical marijuana dispensary, our team of design and construction experts have the knowledge and experience to bring our cannabis clients’ ideal facility to life, regardless of complexity or scale.


There are three main types of cannabis facilities including grow and cultivation facilities, vertically integrated facilities, and dispensaries. Grow and cultivation facilities are climate-controlled and support year-round crop growth and cultivation. Vertically integrated facilities combine cultivation, extraction, post-processing, consumables manufacturing, and quality assurance testing labs. Dispensaries serve as cannabis retail locations, often including office and processing spaces.

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Understanding grow operations and production processes is essential to designing an efficient and functional cannabis facility. Improper ratios of space, irrational flow, and a flawed system design can adversely impact overall productivity and efficiency. Design factors such as the number of plants per square foot, height of plants at harvest, and irrigation methods should all be considered. Additionally, grow room conditioning plays a major role in the mechanical design of a facility. Whether or not a space has CO2 supplementation or natural ventilation, the type of lighting on the canopy, and the number of grow room tiers can all affect the functionality, design, and budget of a cannabis facility. Collaboration between the design team, contractor, and equipment vendors in a project’s early stages is key to avoiding potentially costly and time-consuming design change orders throughout construction.

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Because regulations vary by city and state, the zoning and permitting process associated with cannabis construction can potentially be long and complicated. However, an experienced contractor with knowledge of the permit process in a variety of national markets can expedite identifying the critical path to eliminate unforeseen delays and begin construction as soon as possible.


Creating a stable, controlled environment that can produce repeatable results is one of the most important elements of cannabis construction. Cultivation and vertically integrated facilities have to be precisely controlled for humidity, lighting, airflow, and temperature to prevent mold or mildew growth or pest infestation.


Facility systems such as lighting, electrical service, HVAC, and fire protection are also important elements to consider regarding cannabis construction. In addition to evaluating options and standards associated with these systems, it is also critical to understand code requirements to avoid design change orders and occupancy delays. For example, in addition to the proper lighting type for efficiency and effectiveness, proper design and layout must be considered to avoid plants getting too much or not enough light. Additionally, because of the chemicals often used during extraction, obtaining fire protection permits can take longer than usual.


Implementing automation equipment into a cannabis facility can be highly beneficial when it comes to overall efficiency and navigating complicated operations. Fully automated irrigation systems to optimize water usage, lighting to regulate intensity, and climate controls such as temperature, air velocity, and humidity can all decrease energy costs. Automated processes can also help minimize potential damage from manual interactions with plants. Collaboration between the design team, contractor, and equipment vendors in a project’s early stages is key to avoiding potentially costly and time-consuming design change orders throughout construction.


ARCO’s extensive preconstruction services address the crucial elements of cannabis construction in the earliest stages of a project, allowing for decisions to be made with full knowledge of their impact on cost, schedule, and scope. Our unique design-build process removes the risk of overspending on design and construction by providing clients with a firm price proposal and yields an average overall delivery speed 33% faster than that of traditional plan-and-spec construction.

From new cannabis cultivation and distribution facilities to renovations and hydroponic greenhouses, ARCO has the experience and expertise to help growers and developers build a facility that is right for their business.