Home Technology Collaborating, creating and innovating with Guardtech’s revamped design team

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

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New design manager David Scholes reveals what the future holds for Suffolk firm’s freshly bolstered department.

“Our function as a design department is to support clients in understanding their complete current and future process needs and, in response, develop facilities that they require to operate and grow their businesses,” says David Scholes, the Guardtech Group’s new design manager.

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

It takes a combination of utilising the best available tools and applying years of relevant experience to yield the benefits of successful cleanroom design. The Guardtech Group design team, led by Scholes, is marrying this knowledge with investment in technology across all five of its divisions to enhance all its manufactured products and constructed environments.

“Upfront consideration in the design phase really yields huge efficiencies and clarity of information during the installation phase,” he continues. “We have a major project under way in Yorkshire at the moment – 400sqm of Grade C, D and CNC cleanrooms – where we’ve utilised Building Information Modelling (BIM) for clash detection and manufacture. This helps us to ensure a more efficient construction and mitigate risk within the digital model.”

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

“The role allowed for blue sky thinking and innovation,” he says, “utilising BIM and providing assurance on civil and infrastructure design on projects like Crossrail and HS2.

“We provided design solutions that supported Kier’s deliverables and, being in-house designers, offered a dynamic solution from tender, winning bids, visualisation, and supporting the 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 incorporating laser scanning into our workflows, delivering substantial risk reduction with accuracy of measuring both structures, utilities and topography, creating greater control and reducing re-design at the early stages but also supporting the design decisions.”

Scholes is now taking that same approach in leading the Haverhill-based firm’s design package – lifting the company’s cleanroom design & build capabilities to another level. It was the group’s approach to design & construction, and focus on continuous improvement, that attracted Scholes to the role initially.

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

“We’re currently developing a bespoke Isopod Rapid Cleanroom in 3D for a client in Oxfordshire, which is proving incredibly useful, as the process enables us to create a full manufacturing drawing, facilitate some really effective collaboration with the client and share the model with them as we develop the idea, helping to speed up what can sometimes be a lengthy and complex approval process.”

Whether it’s a full turnkey project from scratch, a modular build, off-site pod construction, portable solutions or quick-assembly cleanrooms, Guardtech’s design department have the knowledge, skills and expertise to deliver the goods for clients in a diverse range of industries.

The Group’s large-scale construction arm, Cleanroom Solutions, are making good progress on that 400sqm suite of cleanrooms in Yorkshire mentioned previously, while Guardtech Cleanrooms continues to work concurrently on a string of modular builds at sites all over the country – from Cambridgeshire to Derbyshire, Huddersfield to Stoke.

The team is delivering a string of high-spec CleanCube Mobile Cleanrooms, its double award-winning portable solution, for two clients conducting research & development in cell & gene therapy while its Isopod Rapid Cleanrooms and Isoblok Pre-Fabricated Cleanrooms are also offering more alternatives for a range of different clients – 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 consists of specialist 2D (AutoCAD) and 3D (SolidWorks & Revit) Engineers – masters at transforming concepts into fully working designs.

Led by the Guardtech Group directors, who have more than 100 years’ combined experience in the sector, its standard cleanroom design offering includes Functional Design Specifications (FDS) & URS compilations, 2D floorplans, elevations & detail, HVAC P&ID, ductwork schematics, lighting layouts, lighting & airflow calculations, pressure cascade diagrams, 3D models & animations/walk-throughs and DQ/IQ/OQ documentation.

Scholes and his team are always looking at new ways to enhance the services Guardtech offer, building on the strong foundations the company has set over the past 20 years in cleanroom design & build as well as leaning on Scholes’ own diverse wealth of experience.

“I’ve predominantly worked in design across many platforms for the last 30 years, gaining experience which has proved invaluable with quality control, innovation delivery and design/value engineering. Having the ability to redefine details is one of the strong areas I can support our clients with.

“At Guardtech, we’re seeing big improvements on design, developing, and implementing Building Information Modelling to safeguard installation with early clash detections and material ordering for long-lead items.

“My role is evolving into the digital development of design, mitigating clashes, with improved collaboration through the Common Data Environment (CDE).

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

It isn’t just a fresh way of thinking about cleanroom design, and the service Guardtech provide, that Scholes is bringing to Guardtech – his affinity for discipline is set to become a driving force for the design team in the years to come.

He spent 22 years operating as a royal engineer in the British Army, taking part in conflict zones around the world as well as honing his design skills in various roles throughout his service.

“The Army has an impressive ethos,” he says. “They train all the design trades to the highest standards – in addition to this, as a royal engineer, they also provided a wider understanding in construction, working worldwide in designing permanent and temporary structures, highways, blast fortifications, accommodation, utilities, surveying, highways and beyond.

“The work ethic ingrained from the services holds strong today – honesty, integrity, loyalty, along with a can-do attitude and a sense of humour. It wasn’t until I retired from the Army that I realised how that interfaced with such a diverse client base. In return, this of course provided me with a fantastic skill set, helping me interact with clients on all levels.”

Mr Scholes is backed up by a newly formed design department that offers the perfect blend of youth, experience, skills, and expertise.

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

Pearce, who has been with Guardtech since June 2021, is continuing 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 Guardtech Group non-executive director Jan Pyrgies at Cleanroom Solutions.

Scholes is pleased with how the team have all settled into a productive, efficient, and enjoyable mode of working together.

“They’re a good bunch,” he says. “We’re beginning to form a really strong team, pooling all our different skills, and helping us achieve the best possible solutions for our clients through effective collaboration – both between us and with the clients themselves.

“I love the way we go the extra mile to make sure our clients get value for money, while retaining the highest quality possible.”

A big ska, reggae and northern soul fan, when he’s not designing high-performance controlled environments, Scholes can be found attending gigs at least once a month.

He is also a keen photographer, having taken pictures professionally and semi-professionally, and his extracurricular past-times don’t stop there.

“I continue to shoot event photography,” he adds, “having also played rugby all my life – until my body decided it now hurts! So, I’ve been into cycling for a good 11 years now. I like to get a training ride in 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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