• Feasibility Studies
  • Fire Protection Engineering
  • Front to Back Analysis
  • Ink System Design
  • Masterplanning
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Newsroom Design
  • Operational Cost Studies
  • Phase I Environmental Studies
  • Plumbing Engineering
  • Production Equipment Procurement
  • Production Equipment Selection and Layout



ARCHITECTURE consists of the services defined by the A.I.A. These services include construction documents or working drawings, soliciting and reviewing bids from contractors, and Construction Administration (CA). CA includes observing the construction of a project to ensure that the facility is being built in accordance with the drawings. CA also involves checking and approving shop drawings, answering contractors’ questions or RFIs, reviewing and approving requests for payment from the client, and a final punch list.

Architecture also involves the coordination of other disciplines in a construction project such as Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, Fire Protection, and Electrical Engineering. Dario Designs also provides material samples of the major building products. Typical material samples include the building skin, glass, floor materials and finishes, ceilings, bathroom partitions and tiles, doors, wall materials, paint colors, etc.

A full code analysis and assistance with site plan reviews, applications for variances, and building permits is a part of our standard Architectural Services. When we use the term “A&E”, it refers to all of the Architectural and Engineering services listed above. Finally, we also include the coordination of installing major equipment such as plate processors, presses, ink systems, vacuum systems, roll handling systems, inserters, buffer systems, packaging and distribution systems.


ENVIRONMENTAL & SAFETY AUDITS consists of Dario Designs and our associates reviewing a client’s operations and touring the facilities. We conduct interviews to understand the environmental and safety procedures.

A confidential report is then provided with a list of the violations and some recommended solutions to more complicated matters. Our lists usually include simple things such as illegal extension cords and ladders in poor condition, as well as more serious issues such as the lack of proper egress and dangerous operating procedures.

We have never found fewer than 100 violations as a result of our audits. Most of them are simple custodial fixes. Others can prevent major fines, injuries, or even death. A benefit of this service beyond the obvious improvement of safety is that the regulatory agencies look very favorably upon a client that is trying to regulate itself, rather than being regulated by the authorities. It illustrates the intent of trying to be as safe as possible. Finally, we will point out areas of non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


ESTIMATING includes Dario Designs providing cost estimates for production equipment and the construction of the facility. These estimates are provided by Dario Designs based on our historical records and experience. We also solicit and manage estimates from local contractors that are more familiar with the local construction methods and materials. The estimates get more accurate as the scope gets better defined. The various stages where estimating may be provided include the end of the masterplan, schematic design, and design development, as well as the end of 30%, 60%, and 90% completion of the construction documents.

The later estimates are normally broken down to a detail appropriate to allow for value engineering. Value engineering is based on estimates and usually involves adding or deleting areas, materials, or finishes based on the construction cost. It can also result in changing the quality of the building or the production equipment systems such as waste handling, roll handling, emergency generators, or the building mechanical systems.


EXISTING CONDITIONS DOCUMENTATION includes the physical field measuring of an existing facility. These computer-generated documents are a valuable tool for all future projects. Because these documents are computerized, they are easily updated to reflect the day-to-day changes in the facility and can be used for all future planning and facility modifications.

Other uses for these documents include:
  • Illustrating furniture plans and departmental layouts.
  • Developing fire, safety, and evacuation plans.
  • Pricing documents for future facility modifications such as new carpeting, raised floors, ceilings, wiring, or painting.
  • Illustrating locations and types of electrical, voice, data, and fiber optics services.
  • Illustrate heating and cooling zones for mechanical systems.
  • Developing security and facility access plans.
  • Creating plans for insurance companies with current fire protection systems and precautions.
  • Demonstrating ADA compliance.


FEASIBILITY STUDIES are used to determine which of several potential solutions will best meet the needs set forth in the program. Typical scenarios compared in a feasibility study include utilizing the existing facility, renovating the existing facility, adding onto the existing facility, retrofitting a newly acquired building, or constructing a new facility.

Other feasibility studies will compare the advantages and disadvantages of staying downtown, building a complete new facility off site, or building just a part of the project and running a split operation.

Feasibility studies will result in schematic floor plans illustrating the various solutions and a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each. Budget estimates and milestone schedules are also produced for each scenario. If a new site and building are selected, then an additional feasibility study may be conducted to determine which site best meets the needs of the program.


MASTERPLANNING is conducted after the client has determined (often through a feasibility study) which solution best meets the needs defined in the program. A masterplan is a graphic illustration of the site plan and floor plans showing current as well as future growth areas. It also includes an order of magnitude cost estimate and a milestone schedule. The schedule should include the time to provide the architecture and engineering services, construction services, and equipment installation and training. Some schedules will also outline the timing of the client’s capital outlay.


PROGRAMMING is the most important part of a project. This is where your needs and goals are defined. All of the subsequent results will be based on how well these decisions have been made. A corporate philosophy and clear definition of quality levels should be understood. On a scale of 1 to 10, determine if the facility or additions will be a warehouse (level 2), a Taj Mahal (level 10), or something in between, as is usually the case. Marketing and business goals need to be defined for the immediate (1-2 years); short term (5 years); and long term (10 years.)


REVENUE ENHANCEMENT CONSULTING is a service that is fairly unique to Dario Designs. It starts with acquiring a clear definition of the program and project goals. We then attain a thorough understanding of the client’s business, operational procedures, thresholds, metrics, expense bases, and profit bases. With knowledge of the client’s project and business goals, we marry the design of the site, building, building systems, materials, aesthetics, and other aspects of the project back to the business. This service has been proven to save or generate millions of dollars for our clients.


SCHEMATIC DESIGN is used to verify and clarify the technical assumptions laid out in the masterplan. The schematic design carries the project to the level of detail required to identify any critical issues not covered in the masterplan.

Some of the Schematic Design tasks performed include:
  • Code and regulatory agency investigations.
  • Existing facility documentation if renovating, adding on, or purchasing an existing facility. This would also include evaluating the existing mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and structural systems.
  • Schematic floorplans.
  • Schematic elevations.
  • Schematic building sections.
  • Schematic site plans.
  • Budget estimates.
  • Schedules for architecture; engineering; construction; phasing if renovating; and equipment selection, acquisition, installation and training.


SITE SEARCHES are conducted with a masterplan in hand. The masterplan illustrates the facility required by the client’s current goals. It illustrates the size and location of the areas which have been planned for growth. With the future plans defined, one can be assured that the sites being considered will meet the needs of the client as far into the future as desired.

Some things to be considered during a site search include:
  • Geographic relationship to distribution area.
  • Geographic relationship to employee base.
  • Access to highways and surface streets for distribution.
  • Access to rail, barge, and highways for receiving materials.
  • Availability, reliability, and redundancy of electrical power.
  • Unobstructed view of southwest sky for satellite transmissions.
  • Availability of services such as gas, oil, water, sewer, and fiber optics.
  • Soils and subsurface conditions.
  • Environmental situations and regulations.
  • Proximity to publisher’s or CEO’s house.
  • Regulatory agency issues.
  • Nearby employee amenities.