Why it’s important to hire the right architect for your industrial project: An interview with Steve Engelhardt
Have you ever wondered if you hired the right architect for your project? SCOPE Principal Steve Engelhardt breaks down what you should be asking when selecting an architect for your industrial project.
Why is it important to work with an architect who specializes in the design of industrial and manufacturing spaces?
An Industrial Architect knows how to ask the right questions of the owner, plant manager, and user groups about their company’s manufacturing process. This includes questions pertaining to storage requirements, shipping, floor circulation of employees and product, analysis of employee interface, and much more.
Give us some specific examples of questions you might ask a plant manager.
If the discussion centers around maximizing floor area as it pertains to equipment placement, I would begin asking questions about the equipment itself, the placement of employees and their access requirements. With this, several code questions come into play such as height and area limitations, room classifications and floor plan, maximum allowable quantities per controllable area, chemical classifications and storage, paths of egress, and flow patterns for people and product. And this only starts the conversation!
Other questions would include serviceability, design flexibility, and anticipating future growth and phased-in expansion. Again, this would only be a beginning to the conversation. The list of questions is extensive. But based on experience, we know what we need to know up front. This is why SCOPE is successful in giving the client what they want on time and on budget.
Do you have any advice for owners and plant managers on how to get started building their new manufacturing facility or expanding current production?
Our advice would be to call and interview multiple architects. Ask about their knowledge of permitting and code compliance since these are critical issues for all industrial projects. They should be able to give you multiple examples of prior experience solving issues that inevitably come up during the design and construction process. Keep in mind that many of the firms who specialize in industrial work, like SCOPE, have NDAs with clients, so not all of our projects can be shown on the website. When you call, ask to speak to their Industrial Market Principal or PM. These are the people who will be hands-on with your project, verses a Business Development or Management leader who is there to sell you the company’s services.
Also keep in mind that architects, who have a background working directly with industrial engineers, will provide you with a more seamless project process because they will be able to design with the engineering systems in mind from day one.