For Barry Isett & Associates, its new headquarters on Crackersport Road in Allentown isn’t just an upgraded place to work from, it’s also a facility that will help the engineering firm showcase options clients can use in their own projects.
For example, the property boasts a rain garden, which illustrates how such a feature could help a client manage stormwater on a property.
According to Bob Korp, Isett’s project manager for the headquarters construction, the rain garden helps with water quality as it infiltrates stormwater back into the subsurface. There is then a detention basin deeper into the site, which captures the remaining runoff from the parking lot and building, and emits it slowly into the municipal storm sewer system. The runoff is then sprayed onto the adjoining meadow for more water quality benefits when flow is high after a rain event.
The new building itself also showcases many of the options clients can use in their own projects, from exposed lighting systems and duct work to a variety of lighting and control systems used throughout the building that a client can see in action and decide what is best for their project.
For the past 45 years, the company had been headquartered in two, three-story farmhouse buildings on Route 100. While the amount of space in the new structure – about 21,000 square feet – is about the same, the new building is all on one floor and has an easier-to-navigate, open-concept floorplan, which allows staff to better collaborate, and it also brings its inspection and testing laboratories, which had been in separate locations, under the same roof as the rest of the office space.
“People want more open space. It makes for easy collaboration and open space fosters communication,” Korp said.
The new $6.7-million building was designed to help reflect the same character of the farmhouse headquarters the company had operated out of since 1977. Korp described the design as modern farmhouse.
“We wanted to respect the tradition of the company, but show what we can do,” Korp said.
Construction on the new headquarters, which is about two miles from the old headquarters, started in the Spring of 2021 and wrapped up in the Fall of 2022.
Korp said that because construction began so soon after the COVID-19 shutdown, the company did struggle with the same supply chain issues that many other construction projects faced.
He said one major supply chain issue was the roofing and insulation Isett wanted to use on the building.
“When there were delays in getting the roofing material we wanted, we looked at switching to another product, but then we couldn’t get the clamps we needed for that,” he said. “It was all strange things. Things you wouldn’t normally expect.”
While the firm handled its own engineering work on the project, it did have a little help from its friends right down the road.
MKSD served as the architect on the project and Boyle Construction was the construction manager.
Isett president, Kevin Campell, said for his part, he is very pleased with the outcome of the new building construction.
“It’s a wonderful place to come to work,” he said. “And, that ‘s all part of retention. This will help us attract good people to come and work here and want to stay.”