Industrial Design: An interview with Steve Engelhardt about navigating this specialized field
At SCOPE our team of architectural experts is headed by Registered Architect Steve Engelhardt, who brings more than two decades of broad experience with industrial & manufacturing clients. In this brief Q&A, Steve shares some of his insights into this highly specialized field.
What was the motivation for starting Scope Architectural Consulting?
I had worked for over seven years as the principal architect at a local engineering firm and saw a growing need for architectural expertise in this sector. The vision was to create an architectural firm that responded to the specific needs of industry and manufacturing based on my background in code compliance, equipment layout, workflow, life safety, and sustainable design.
How does your experience in the industrial sector specifically serve the needs of your industrial clients?
My experience as the sole architect in an engineering firm allowed me to develop best-practices in engineering / architectural coordination all with the production process in mind. I became the in-house resource for company engineers regarding code compliance which drives MEP requirements. The result was an integrated design process that saved owners time and money and produced a better plant design.
How does Scope address specific demands that are unique to industrial architecture?
I’ll give an example: We have a client who wanted to house hydrogen peroxide in a chemical storage building. Based on its chemical classification, I knew there was a looming compliance issue. To solve the issue before it delayed our schedule, the chemical concentration was lowered by a very marginal percentage and storage temperatures were lowered. The sum of these changes saved additional construction costs and allowed the project to stay on schedule.
If there are multiple buildings on a single site, then you have to consider the spaces between the buildings, what can be stored inside and outside of the buildings, occupancy classifications, chemical classifications, and the movement of these chemicals. Determining the highest- and best-use building classification based on all of these considerations dictates the building size and fire code requirements such as fire barriers, sprinklers, and means and distance to egress.
What is it about Scope’s experience in industrial architecture that makes a difference for their clients?
Our area of design expertise is a specialized field within the architectural profession. It demands experience, knowledge, and close communication with all our clients. We pride ourselves on all three.