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  • Writer's pictureHannah Skidmore, MBA

11 Building Design Experts to Work on Your Upcoming Project

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Every animal care project from animal shelter to veterinary clinic to doggy daycare requires an experienced building design team.

A team to design and engineer the building

Now, you may be asking yourself - what is a building design team? A building design team handles everything from interior design, floor planning, building permit documentation, construction bids, etc. as you build a new animal shelter building or renovate an existing veterinary hospital.

A team of building professionals

In accordance with their specific disciplines, certain building design and engineering professionals are required by law to be licensed. Professionals - such as animal shelter executive directors, veterinary hospital managers, or nonprofit board chairs - know they need to work with an architect or interior designer as their building project is underway. But often folks don’t quite understand the technical nuance, licensing, and expertise associated with building projects. And, that’s where the DLI team comes in to provide all encompassing services for your building project.

One of the distinctions of working with us at DLI is that you receive not only interior planning and engineering services, but most importantly you receive a team of licensed building professional subconsultants, including over eleven types of building experts for your specific project.

The DLI licensed and experienced team is distinctive in the industry as we provide clients services unique to their specific project. Here’s an idea of the building experts our clients have access to during their project. Keep in mind, this list is not exhaustive and each individual project may have unique requirements.

Mechanical Engineer

This team member creates the HVAC zoning, controls, and equipment layout as well as designs the supply, return, fresh air, and exhaust routing for the project. This team member must understand the complexities of animal care facilities and the importance of smaller, independent HVAC zones that can separate species and isolate spaces as needed as well as address odor and disease concerns. DLI clients receive access to a mechanical engineer.

Electrical Engineer

This team member determines things like electrical panel schedules, power and roof layouts, lighting, and lighting level requirements, as well as any other electrical items within the building. This team member must understand the operational requirements of an animal care facility to understand the power needs as well as lighting needs for things like cleaning and calming animals. DLI clients receive access to an electrical engineer.

Plumbing Engineer

This team member is responsible for plumbing fixture layouts, calculations, and details. He or she can also provide water supply drawings and piping riser diagrams, hair trap drainage and sanitary drainage, cleaning systems, medical gas systems, and gas piping. This team member must have animal care specific knowledge to adequately address the abuses that animal waste and hair can have on a plumbing system. DLI clients receive access to a plumbing engineer.

Fire Protection Engineer

This team member is responsible for the fire alarm and potential sprinkler needs of the facility. This team member must be knowledgeable of code requirements and animal care specific requirements and recommendations for fire safety such as NFPA 150. DLI clients receive access to a fire protection engineer.

Noise Control Engineer

This team member works in tandem with the other engineers to reduce both noise transmission and reverberation. This team member must be mindful of things like mechanical duct locations and room adjacencies along with many other design features to adequately address noise within an animal care facility. DLI clients receive access to a noise control engineer.

Interior Designer and Building Planner

This team member determines the programming, or size, of space along with the floor plan for the facility. He or she also determines flooring, interior finishes, and animal caging and equipment. This team member must understand the current products on the market as well as the durability required in an animal care facility. This person must consider animal behavior, operational needs, and facility efficiencies. DLI clients receive access to an interior designer and building planner.

Structural Engineer

This design team member creates the foundation, and framing plans for the building. This person makes sure that the building is structurally sound and safe for occupancy. DLI clients receive access to a structural engineer.

Civil Engineer

This design team member is responsible for aspects of the project that are outside of the building including things like soil mapping, determining setbacks, easements, and wetlands, determining site utilities, and providing sanitary and storm sewer profiles/calculations. Other responsibilities include storm water management, erosion and sediment control plans, site lighting locations, and pavement marking. DLI clients receive access to a civil engineer.


In most of our projects, the architect completes the exterior shell of the building which includes things like exterior architectural features, the slab plan, roof plan, door and glazing schedules, as well as exterior plan details. The architect can also be the interior designer/planner in some cases and often assists the interior designer with reviews of code requirements. DLI clients receive access to an architect

Project Manager

Navigating a new building project or building renovation project can be a lot of work for a client. DLI offers a project manager to navigate the process, research potential vendors, and provide recommendations to our client on next steps. DLI clients receive access to a project manager.

Prime Design Professional

Once the project is in place and the design team is determined, the prime design professional oversees the Building Design Team and manages the collaboration so that the project moves forward in a timely manner - relieving the client from the stress in managing a specialized team without the proper licensing and building experience. DLI clients receive access to a prime design professional.

Discuss My Animal Shelter Renovation or Vet Clinic Building Project

Do you have an upcoming building project this year or next year? If so, we’d love to provide recommendations on the building design team you will need for a successful project. It is never too early to schedule a virtual consultation with the Design Learned team to start discussing the project.

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