Modernising or Expanding a Hatchery

General tips on planning from Sander Koster of Pas Reform.
calendar icon 15 July 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

When building a new hatchery, we have the freedom to plan exactly what we need, where we need it, right down to laying the groundwork for future expansion. Modernising or expanding an existing hatchery poses more of a challenge.

When installing or modernising incubators or automation equipment, limitations can come from standing structures (walls, columns), piping, ducting, etc., which cannot always be moved or removed as required. A review of existing facilities with the architect or building contractor, including planning permissions where applicable, should be the first step in any decision to rebuild or expand an existing hatchery.

Invariably, choices have to be made. Is it viable to achieve ‘optimal’ routing by demolishing and/or rebuilding walls? Or does a ’compromised’ routing work better, while retaining as many existing walls as possible? What type of materials will be used to rebuild the hatchery? Will modernisation or expansion be in an existing part of the hatchery, or require additional building? And will the project be well-served by extending existing systems and infrastructure – or will it require additional energy, air and water supplies?

The infrastructure of the hatchery should be considered. Involve plumbing and electrical contractors, for example, in reviewing hatchery service installations - and the consequences of modernization or expansion. Piping and ducting are easier to replace than standing structures – but consider that existing services must keep running alongside any new installations during rebuild or construction.

With a good review of the existing hatchery and a thorough understanding of any restrictions, designing the new hatchery lay-out can begin.

Care in scheduling building phases, materials and contractors will help keep budgets and timescales on track, as will clear, responsive communication between all the parties involved. With everyone’s involvement, it is a good idea to document the work that needs to be done, who will do it – and when it should be completed.


  • Review any permits, applications and licences that are required to modernise or expand the hatchery
  • Check that there is sufficient capacity in existing energy supplies for modernised/expanded hatchery systems – or make alternative plans for energy supplies
  • Separate construction area(s) as much as possible from existing hatchery operations
  • Prepare the logistics of the project so that suppliers and contractors spend as little time as possible inside the operating hatchery
  • Consider building in separate phases when very large changes are necessary
  • Keep one master planning document on record, so that everyone, including external contractors, knows exactly what needs to be done and by when.
July 2011
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