Collaborating, creating and innovating with Guardtech’s renewed design team

New Design Director David Scholes reveals what the future holds for Suffolk’s newly beefed-up department.

“Our role as a design department is to help customers understand their current and future process needs and, in response, develop the facilities they require to operate and grow their businesses,” says David Scholes, the new design manager for Guardtech Group.

“We help them fully visualize their ideal controlled environment using a number of supporting tools such as AutoCad (2D modeling), SolidWorks (3D modeling) and Revit (BIM modeling) to provide a complete and detailed picture. Throughout Guardtech’s nearly 25-year history, this has been its mission, backed by a highly skilled installation team that can translate that information into high-quality, durable built environments.”

It takes a combination of using the best tools available and applying years of relevant experience to reap the benefits of successful cleanroom design. The Guardtech Group design team, led by Scholes, combines this knowledge with investment in technology across its five divisions to improve all of its manufactured products and built environments.

“Initial consideration in the design phase really leads to great efficiency and clarity of information during the installation phase,” he continues. “We have a large project underway in Yorkshire at the moment – ​​400 square meters of grade C, D and CNC clean rooms, where we have used building information modeling (BIM) for crash detection and fabrication. This helps us ensure more efficient construction and mitigate risk within the digital model.”

Scholes knows a thing or two about innovation. Having spent 10 years working as a Senior CAD/BIM Manager at Kier on projects including Crossrail, Hinkley Point C and HS2, being able to think outside the box was a key aspect of his approach.

“The role enabled blue sky thinking and innovation,” he says, “using BIM and providing safety in civil and infrastructure design on projects like Crossrail and HS2.

“We provided design solutions that supported Kier’s products, and being in-house designers, we provided a dynamic solution from bidding, winning bids, visualization, and supporting design engineers in creating construction drawings, but also adding value to the construction industry with automotive solutions. using software and processes.

“We also looked at the benefits of incorporating laser scanning into our workflows, providing substantial risk reduction with the accuracy of measuring structures, utilities and surveying, creating greater control and reducing early-stage redesign, but also supporting design decisions.”

Scholes is now taking the same approach by leading the Haverhill-based company’s design pack, taking the company’s cleanroom design-build capabilities to another level. It was the group’s approach to design and build, and focus on continuous improvement, that initially attracted Scholes to the position.

“It is my responsibility to develop the strategies to accommodate the growth of the business,” he says, “while of course also generating 2D and 3D designs in collaboration with our clients to ensure they get the installation accuracy they require.

“We are currently developing a bespoke 3D Isopod Rapid Cleanroom for a client in Oxfordshire, which is proving incredibly useful as the process allows us to create a complete shop floor plan, facilitate really effective collaboration with the client and share the model with as we develop the idea, which helps speed up what can sometimes be a long and complex approval process.”

Whether it is a complete turnkey project from the ground up, modular construction, off-site module construction, portable solutions or rapid assembly clean rooms, Guardtech’s design department has the knowledge, skills and experience to deliver products to customers in a wide range of industries.

The Group’s large-scale construction arm, Cleanroom Solutions, is making good progress on that aforementioned 400 square meter cleanroom development in Yorkshire, while Guardtech Cleanrooms continues to work simultaneously on a series of modular builds at sites across the country, from Cambridgeshire to Derbyshire. , Huddersfield to Stoke.

The team is delivering a series of high-spec CleanCube Mobile Cleanrooms, its two-time award-winning portable solution, for two clients conducting research and development in cell and gene therapy, while its Isopod Rapid Cleanrooms and Isoblok Pre-Fabricated Cleanrooms also offer further alternatives. . for a variety of different customers, with their own specific, and often challenging, requirements in fields such as pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, and aerospace, automotive, semiconductor, and microelectronics applications.

Guardtech’s in-house design team is made up of 2D (AutoCAD) and 3D (SolidWorks and Revit) specialist engineers who are experts in transforming concepts into fully functional designs.

Led by the directors of Guardtech Group, who have over 100 years of combined industry experience, their standard cleanroom design offering includes Functional Design Specification (FDS) and URS compilations, 2D floor plans, elevations and details. , HVAC P&ID, duct schematics, lighting designs, lighting and airflow calculations, pressure cascade diagrams, 3D models and animations/walkthroughs, and DQ/IQ/OQ documentation.

Scholes and his team are always looking for new ways to improve the services Guardtech offers, building on the strong foundation the company has laid over the past 20 years in cleanroom design and construction, as well as drawing on the diverse experience of Scholes.

“I have predominantly worked in design on many platforms for the past 30 years, gaining experience that has proven invaluable in quality control, innovation delivery and design/value engineering. Having the ability to refine the details is one of the strong areas in which I can help our clients.

“At Guardtech, we are seeing great improvements in the design, development, and implementation of building information modeling to protect the facility with early conflict detection and material ordering for long-term items.

“My role is evolving towards digital design development, mitigating conflicts, with better collaboration through the Common Data Environment (CDE).

“Working closely with our Cleanroom Solutions client in Yorkshire, we have been able to collaborate with subcontractors to ensure all conflicts have been mitigated and above all add value to the client. This is essential to how we want to move forward with our design offering.”

It’s not just a new way of thinking about cleanroom design and the service that Guardtech provides that Scholes is bringing to Guardtech – his affinity for the discipline will become a driving force for the design team for years to come.

He spent 22 years operating as a Royal Engineer in the British Army, serving in conflict zones around the world and honing his design skills in various roles throughout his service.

“The army has an impressive spirit,” he says. “They train all design trades to the highest standards; In addition to this, as a Royal Engineer, they also provided a broader understanding in construction, working around the world on the design of permanent and temporary structures, roads, fortifications, accommodation, utilities, surveying. , highways and beyond.

“The work ethic ingrained in services remains strong today: honesty, integrity, loyalty, along with a positive attitude and sense of humor. It wasn’t until I retired from the military that I realized how I interacted with such a diverse customer base. In return, this of course provided me with a fantastic skill set that helped me interact with clients at all levels.”

Mr. Scholes is supported by a newly formed design department that offers the perfect mix of youth, experience, skills and knowledge.

Matthew Ware also joined the team earlier this year as Guardtech Group’s new 3D specialist, with additional support provided by talented design engineers Elliott Pearce and Graham Wyatt.

Pearce, who has been with Guardtech since June 2021, continues his development at the company, taking on more and more project management responsibilities in recent months, while Wyatt has more than 35 years of experience designing controlled environments alongside with the non-executive director of Guardtech Group. Jan Pyrgies at Cleanroom Solutions.

Scholes is pleased with how the team has settled into a productive, efficient and enjoyable way of working together.

“They’re a good group,” he says. “We are starting to build a really strong team, combining all of our different skills and helping us achieve the best possible solutions for our clients through effective collaboration, both with each other and with the clients themselves.

“I love the way we go the extra mile to make sure our customers get value for money while maintaining the best quality possible.”

A huge fan of ska, reggae and norteño soul, when not designing high performance controlled environments Scholes can be found attending concerts at least once a month.

He’s also a keen photographer, taking pictures professionally and semi-professionally, and his extracurricular hobbies don’t end there.

“I’m still taking pictures of events,” he adds, “having played rugby all my life, until my body decided it hurts now! So, I’ve been in cycling for a good 11 years. I like to do a training trip every other day, weather permitting of course!

Ominous clouds may well be circling in the current climate, in business and beyond, but with Scholes and his design team leading the Guardtech Group into an exciting new era, blue skies may be ahead over Haverhill for years to come. .

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