Expert advice from Anthony Winston III, President of Winston Engineering:

Indoor cultivation and extraction cannabis facility design is critical when determining the building you want to occupy. Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP) & Structural Engineering plays a huge role in the success of your facility. Here are 5 key things you should consider when looking for the right property for your grow or extraction facility:

1. Zoning

Before doing ANYTHING, make sure you find a building that is properly zoned for cannabis cultivation or manufacturing. If you are building from the ground-up, make sure your Architect understands the minimum property setbacks from schools, residential buildings etc. The last thing you want to do is invest in a new venture to find out you can’t operate because you didn’t do your homework.

2. Electrical

If you are only able to get a building with 240V single phase, make sure you plan your grow room ahead of time. We recently had a client with a 240V single phase, 200A service and we had to cycle rooms at different times. We had another client that had 240V single phase, 400A service but had to purchase expensive phase converters to turn single phase into 3-phase to power some heavy-duty extraction machines. Workarounds are often expensive to implement. Winston Engineering always finds workarounds, but they could be costly to the client.

If you’re building from the scratch, be sure to engage the local utility to find out if there is available power you can tap into that will meet your needs.


When leasing a building, make sure your landlord understands the potential facility modifications for indoor cultivation or extraction. As you know, indoor cultivation requires a lot of HVAC so make sure your landlord understands the impacts to their roof. If you plan to put units on the ground, make sure you have enough space to place them.

4. Solvent/Waste storage

For extraction facilities, fire engineers may require outside storage tanks for gas,  solvents, or waste. Make sure you have enough space for tank storage, as well as required setbacks from facility to install tanks.

5. Sewage

Make sure you understand the drainage requirements of your proposed facility. If you’re leasing space, be certain it can handle all your drainage needs.

Do you need help, advice, and assistance with an engineering project or buildout?

Winston Engineering provides a variety of professional services to meet cannabis facility engineering needs, including engineering, design, build-out, planning, and project execution. From electrical design engineering, mechanical & plumbing engineering, to reviews of existing plans, Winston Engineering’s team are experts in cannabis facility needs and compliance. For more information, please visit their site at: