System Design and Construct Process

Our expertise in Greenhouse and Hydroponic System Design will assist to deliver a professional design service for protected cropping systems.

A Design and Construct Process (D&C) can assist the grower/investor to consider all the necessary steps in the development of a modern greenhouse system (Step 1: Concept to Step 6: Production). The protected cropping industry is increasingly technology driven to compel production and quality advantages and the necessary investment levels require serious assessment as to their suitability for a particular location, crop and system design.

The following D&C steps will guide you through a typical process to ensure a project is both technically valid and financially sound. A project 'Stop & Go' is inserted after each major step for the grower or investor to consider if further step assessments are necessary or warranted.

STEP 1: Initial Basic Site Assessment (self‐assessment)

  • Is there a local or export market or marketing plan for the intended produce? Yes/No (crucial to secure a supply agreement early in the process)
  • Is site suitable for greenhouse alignment and profiling? Yes/No
  • Is local, state or national government approval required? Yes/No
  • Has a financial plan been developed for project? Yes/No
  • Is high‐quality water with sufficient quantity available? Yes/No
  • Is high‐quality power with sufficient quantity available? Yes/No
  • Are suitable roads available for construction and produce transport? Yes/No
  • Is sufficient local labour available? Yes/No
  • Is suitable heating fuel available? Yes/No (Natural Gas, LPG, Coal, Biomass, other?) .............................

Stop or Go?

STEP 2: Preliminary Project Assessment Services (price and further details on application)

  • Detailed Climate Assessment Study (calculates required technology and key metrics for ROI study)
  • Initial Financial Feasibility Study (based on climate study & industry norms, inc. ROI and EBIT)
  • Initial Project Concept Design (footprint plan view highlighting basic metrics of greenhouse development resources)
  • Assistance with Marketing Plan and Product Development (guidelines on product marketing options)
  • Visit to Client's Location (for detailed site appraisal and suitability assessment, not included for international locations)

Stop or Go?

STEP 3: Detailed D&C Services (price and further details on application)

  • Detailed Project Design (with detailed production system technical specifications)
  • Detailed Request for Quotations Document (directed to proven national and international technology suppliers)
  • Detailed Project Costings Document (comparative spreadsheet study of all received offers)
  • Finalised Financial Feasibility Study (completed initial ROI document from Step 2)
  • Familiarisation Visits to Australian Greenhouse Site/s (view similar crop/technology if available at own cost)

Stop or Go?

STEP 4: Contract Development

  • Detailed Project D&C Contract
  • Detailed Inclusions, Exclusions and Warranties
  • Detailed GSC Responsibilities
  • Detailed client responsibilities

Stop or Go?

STEP 5: Contract Signing

  • Sign Contract
  • Transfer Agreed Project Funds
  • Detailed Construction Timeline (Gantt Chart)

STEP 6: Project Construction

  • Order Project Technology
  • Deliver Technology To Nearest Port and/or Site
  • Construct Greenhouse Project
  • Commission Greenhouse Project

STEP 7: Optional Professional Services

(price and further details on application)

  • Project Supervision
  • Project Management
  • Staff and Management Training
  • Crop Agronomy
  • OH&S Advice and Training
  • Post Harvest Treatment
  • Climate Management Training
  • Irrigation And Fertigation Training
  • Pest & Disease Management Training
  • Other training

Training packages including any or all above topics are available on request.

This D&C process is designed to ensure a greenhouse development can proceed with confidence and professionalism and cover all the necessary steps required for a technically sound and financially valid project. Each step would involve ongoing client consultation to ensure each stage of the process proceeds with full knowledge and prior agreement by the client.

Graeme Smith Consulting invites your participation in a D&C Process for your greenhouse project and will answer any questions you may have regarding any of the above steps.

Example - Vine Crop Media PlanExample 2 - Vine Crop NFT Channel Plan

System Design 1System Design 2
The D&C process will ensure your system meets all contemporary design specifications for both hydroponic and greenhouse systems. To date Graeme Smith Consulting has been involved in over 40 projects in Australia and overseas. These projects have included a wide range of industry production systems including media based, NFT, DFT, F&D and aquaponics, etc. from simple to very complex technology systems.

Contact us to discuss your design needs for your project.

Industry links

This area contains links to a range of suppliers of goods and services to the protected cropping industry, including:

  • Australian and International supply companies (wholesale and retail)
  • Greenhouse education and training centres
  • National and State industry bodies
  • Australian and International Greenhouse Expos and Conventions

Contact us to request adding your reciprocal link.

Protected Cropping Australia (PCA) is the national protected cropping industry body representing the Australian commercial greenhouse and hydroponic sectors.


Hydroponic Farmers Federation (HFF) is the Victorian body representing the state commercial greenhouse and hydroponic sectors

Roskam Young Plants supplies a wide variety of horticultural products to commercial vegetable and flower growers in Australia.


PHG New Logo 2011 low-res 2

Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses is a monthly online magazine dedicated to commercial hydroponic and greenhouse growers; horticulturists; industry consultants and equipment suppliers; researchers, educators and students; and allied trades.

Powerplants Logo

While the majority of their business is providing greenhouse solutions to hydroponic growers all over the country, Powerplants have also completed large scale multi-million dollar projects for satisfied customers. Established in 1994, Powerplants Australia is a privately owned company that has grown from strength to strength over the past 18 years to become Australia’s premier Greenhouse Technology supplier. With over 30 employees, Powerplants continues to provide the technical needs of growers in all corners of the country.



Predatory Mite Supply and IPM Consultant

Graeme Smith Consulting does not endorse the products or services offered by the companies that are linked and any link may be removed at any time at our discretion.


Public Information Area

This area provides a resource of freely available information regarding the protected cropping industry. You are at liberty to use this information in a responsible way, however I do ask you to acknowledge its source in any publications (

It will be regularly updated with general protected cropping industry information, therefore I invite you back to visit this site from time to time to update your information.

Project management

Project ManagementOur expertise in Project Management will assist to deliver your project safely and on time, on budget and to agreed technical specifications (to date, Graeme Smith Consulting has been involved in over 40 greenhouse and hydroponic projects in Australia and overseas).

Please see attached sample document for an overview of tasks to be managed for a successful protected cropping project.

(n.b. The services offered may include either full responsibility (includes planning, design, delivery, funds management and commissioning) or basic facilitation (includes planning, liaison, commissioning), and such service levels shall be agreed upon prior to any contract signing.)

Services to be offered may include:

In all things, we offer industry expertise and experience for:

Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

  • Develop and Oversee Project OH&S Program (hazard identification and control with continuous improvement to workplace safety)
  • Develop and Oversee OH&S Management Group for Site
  • Develop and Oversee Site Induction Training to staff and workers entering the site (inc. site safety, responsibilities, accreditations, workplace inspections checklists and OH&S awareness).
  • Develop and Oversee Site Safety and Traffic Signage
  • To assist client to develop an effective ‘Emergency Management Plan’ for enterprise
  • Oversee Contractors Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)
  • Develop and Oversee Site Communications Plan (phone, fax, CB radio, video, etc as required)
  • Oversee Worker Safety PPE by endeavoring that at all times safety equipment; (hard hats, hi-vis vests, gloves, safety boots, etc) are worn by all staff whilst on site (n.b. this relies on encouragement, responsibility and suitable signage).
  • Develop and Oversee Emergency First Aid Kits.
  • Develop and Oversee First Aid Program (practitioners, phone tree, management plan, etc.).
  • Develop and Oversee Human Comforts (fresh water, heating, cooling, cover, welfare, facilities, office, toilets, lunch room, etc.).
  • Develop and Oversee Site Visitors Log.
  • Develop and Oversee Site Safety & Incident Report Log.
  • To inspect and maintain copy of Work-Cover documents from all service providers on site.
  • To inspect and maintain copy of Insurance documents from all service providers on site.
  • To inspect and maintain copy of certification for technical trade skills (welding, machine operation, trade skills, confined space, elevated platforms, etc) from all service providers on site.
  • Liaise with client any public risk insurance claims that may arise.
  • Supply management staff to deliver above OH&S tasks.

Machinery and Equipment Hire

  • Develop and Oversee Project Machine & Equipment Management Program
  • Negotiation of equipment hires prices and availability and manage a flow chart to reduce any onsite down time
  • To ascertain the temporary power requirements for the construction stage and facilitate the appropriate equipment to meet those needs. (generators, power leads, power mushrooms, etc)
  • Arrange hire and manage supply of construction machines (scissorlifts, Manitou, generators, welders, tractors, bobcats, graders, excavators, tele-handlers, boom lifts, portable platforms, forklifts, etc)
  • Manage maintenance, repairs, replacements, de-hire, etc.
  • Develop and maintain diesel/petrol fuel cells to service machinery & equipment
  • Facilitate machinery/equipment training and accreditation as and when required
  • Supply management staff to deliver above machinery & equipment tasks

Labour Management

  • Facilitate and manage local labour hire (as and when required) by liaison with greenhouse builders as to how many people, their skills and when needed
  • Provide works foreman role for the following common necessary tasks:
    • a. connection of hydronic heat hoses
    • b. painting of hydronic heat pipe
    • c. placement of hydronic heat pipe supports
    • d. suspension of hydronic grow pipe & gutters
    • e. installation of irrigation emitters
    • f. installation of crop support wires
    • g. installation of crop wire hangers
    • h. assembly of trolleys
    • i. excavation and trenching for CO
    • j. excavation and trenching for irrigation lines
    • k. excavation and trenching for heating lines
    • l. excavation and trenching for storm-water lines
    • m. backfilling for all above excavation works
  • Ensure all labour has appropriate construction induction accreditation
  • Facilitate specialised labour with enhanced trade skills as and when required (e.g. elevated platforms, welding, etc)


  • Conduct regular site meetings (e.g. weekly), to ensure above needs of project are being met and future requirements are planned for.
  • Generate written reports as required.

Contact us to discuss your needs to manage your project.

About us

Graeme Smith Consulting is a company founded by Graeme Smith in 1998 to supply specialised services to the protected cropping industry. Graeme entered the industry as a greenhouse grower in the late 1980s and since this time has delivered services to the wider industry including:

  • System Design
  • Project Management
  • Crop Advisory Services
  • Representation on national Industry Body (AHGA & Protected Cropping Australia)
  • Representation on Victorian State Industry Body (HFF)
  • Chaired Protected Cropping Working Group for HAL & AusVeg
  • Developed Climate & Financial Studies for New and Extension Projects
  • Delivered Industry Training in Protected Cropping

See Graeme Smith's CV for further details.

Graeme Smith Consulting acknowledges that protected cropping is the 'modern face of horticulture' and has the capacity to better meet the future needs of sustainable quality food production in the key areas of tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, egg plant, Asian greens, herbs, lettuce, strawberry, etc.

Additionally, the integration of aquaculture and hydroponics to convert a waste stream into a revenue stream via 'aquaponics' is the next logical step to produce high-value crops on the same footprint with the same water with negligible impact on the natural environment.

Add to this the floriculture production of cut-flowers in protected cropping systems, it delivers a modern sustainable industry going forward that forms part of the horticultural solution for future human needs.

This site is intended to be an industry resource to meet the needs of growers, researchers, hobbyists, trainers, retailers, suppliers, government, etc in the wider area of protected cropping.

(All information is given in good faith however no liability is accepted for content or its application.)

I trust you find this information useful and any enquiries or comments can be directed to:

Graeme Smith (CPAg)
Graeme Smith Consulting
PO Box 789
Woodend Victoria 3442
Phone: +61 (0) 427 339 009