The New RLPS Architects Offices

Lancaster, PA

To be completed Januray 2013


Brice Ohl - Mechanical Option


News Feed

4.30.13 This CPEP was finalized to include all the required pages and information and is ready to view.

4.30.13 Uploaded final versions the presentation in both Powerpoint and PDF formats to the Presentation Page.

4.22.13 Created a Reflection page that includes a reflection of AE481W/AE482, the CPEP websites, and and ABET Assessment.

4.22.13 Modified the Final Report page to include an updated final report and a link directly to the executive summary.

2.1.2013 Updated the Thesis Proposal to incorporate a more detailed schedule.

1.18.2013 Updated various pages to fix small errors. Also, fixed the links on the Building Statistics Page.

1.15.2013 The Buildind Statistics Page was updated to include Building Statistics Part 2 and some modifications to Building Statistics Part 1.

1.11.2013 The Thesis Proposal Page was updated to include the original proposal and the revised proposal.

11.28.2012The Technical Assignments page was repaired and made up to date.

9.20.2012 The Student Biography and Building Statistics uploaded to site.

9.19.2012 The Technical Report 1 uploaded to site.

9.7.2012 Homepage Design Update


Building Statistics Part 1

General Building Data

Building Name: New Office Building for Reese, Lower, Patrick & Scott Architects, LTD.

Location and site: 250 Valleybrook Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601

Building Occupant Name: Reese, Lower, Patrick & Scott Architects, LTD.

Occupancy: Business

Size: 22,568 SF

Number of stories above grade: One story with a mezzanine

Primary Project Team:


RLPS Architects Ltd.

General Contractor

Warfel Construction


RLPS Architects

Mechanical Engineers

Reese Engineering Inc.

Electrical Engineers

Reese engineering Inc.

Structural Engineers

Zug & Associates, Ltd. Structural Engineers

Civil Engineers

Harbor Engineering


Herbert, Rowland, Grubic, Inc.

Landscape Design

RLPS Architects Ltd.

Construction Dates:  Fall 2011 -January 2013

Cost Information: $1,000,000 Electrical, $900,000 Mechanical, $440,000 Plumbing/Fire Protection

Project Delivery Method: Design-Bid Build



Office Exterior (Under Construction)

Example of clerestories being utilized

Example of Exposed roof pitch and finished trusses

Exterior facing north (under construction)

Interior courtyard, featuring Nana Wall glass (Under construction)

First level overall floor plan



As you can imagine when architectural firms design their own offices, they are not only creating a working environment, but a statement on who they are. Reese, Lower, Patrick & Scott have clearly made the statement that they are modern, adaptable, and innovative. Aesthetically from the exterior the new offices are balance of dark stone veneer, light grey stucco, and plenty of glass. Additionally, the sleek looking copper roof is pitched evenly at 45 degrees allowing for second level windows for this one story building. Furthermore, clerestories are utilized in several specific locations and interior courtyard is separated from the office buy large folding glass windows and doors, allowing for great levels of natural light. The interior has a mixture of spaces ranging from large open studios, individual offices, a bistro, and group work spaces of all sizes. The interior design used has a great way of making all of the rooms collectively fit together, yet have a unique feel. Some spaces are exposed to the roof pitch with clearly visible finished wood trusses, while others have level drop ceilings, and still others are unexposed, but show the pitch. Each space was clearly designed for a specific purpose. The studios are large and open to maximize the collaboration, the print area is screened (but not separated from the work areas) to reduce noise, and the bistro is a central piece that allows everyone to come together. Finally, the space are flexible, though made for specific purposes there are plans for studios to be added or existing studios to be converted to a grand hall. Overall, the new offices for RLPS are designed to be not just a workplace, but a place to socialize, a place to learn, and a place to grow.


Major National Codes: International Building Code 2006, ICC/ANSI 117.1-1998, NFPA 13, ASHRAE 62.1 (2004)


Zoning: The new RLPS Offices are being constructed on a formerly vacant duo of lots consisting of 40.1 acres. They are under the jurisdiction of Manheim Township, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The lots are zoned as a business building as a part of the township’s Business B-1 district.


Historical Requirements: Does not apply


Building Enclosure


Building Facades: Stone veneer and exterior gray stucco will be the primary façade. They will be placed on 2x6 lumber. Additionally, a large number of high R-value wooden framed windows are being incorporated so all workspaces can use natural light. The interior courtyard is framed with Nana folding glass doors and glass walls.


Roofing: A cascading roof made of standing seam copper is being used. Pitched at 12/12 in most areas and 6/12 in a few specific areas, a number of different truss groups are used to cover all off the different areas. The roof supported by wooden scissors trusses. While the standard roof construction of seamed copper, roof felt, R-38 nail-able insulation panels, and ply wood is rather consistent throughout the building, some spaces the pitch is visible so the underside of the roof construction is finished wood, while in other spaces a drop ceiling is utilized and the underside painted black and used to conceal mechanical equipment.


Sustainable Features

Sustainability was a large consideration for RLPS when they designed their new office. They designed a great number of features and left themselves with options for future incorporation of sustainable technologies. A major early decision for the owners was to orientate the longer side of the building east-west which had an estimated 30% reduction in energy usage by allowing for the maximum use of day lighting. Additionally, the new offices will incorporate a grey water collection system the uses a below grade cistern to supply the water closets and possibly irrigation. A hybrid ventilation system was considered, which would have used the interior courtyard for natural ventilation during appropriate conditions. This was ultimately not constructed, but is an option for the future. Finally, the new offices are in contention for LEED approval, but a final decision has not been made on if a LEED rating is required. To date mandatory LEED credits have been achieved as well as other points allowing for application for accreditation in the future.


Building Statistics Part 2

Primary Engineering Systems


The New Office Building is being constructed using a Design-Bid-Build Delivery Method with Warfel Construction acting as the general contractor. The current completion date is January 2013. However, it should be noted that construction was originally intended to begin in fall 2008, but was delayed by the owners for several reasons. The early estimated MEP costs are $2,340,000.


The electrical service to the new office building will be provided by Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL). A pad mounted transformer has been installed north of the building, just outside of the primary ground level mechanical space. The transformer will provide 208/120V, 3 Phase, 4 wire power. Service to the transformer will be provided by a new utility pole connected by subgrade concrete encased PVC conduit. The primary connection to the building will be made in the ground level mechanical room, which serves all other spaces. The primary location of the connecting conduit and wires is either above the drop ceiling in the work spaces or the mechanical mezzanine.


The lighting of the new office building varies greatly with each space. The open work spaces primarily use 50 watt 2x2 Recessed Volumetric Luminaires. The smaller work areas and offices use Strip Lights mounted in architectural cove and down lights of varying size and power. The bistro and surrounding areas utilize pendant luminaires with custom finish and high-bay style luminaire. Finally, the owners’ offices vary in there lighting design per the occupant’s request.  In total there are over 30 different luminaires being used in the new office building. Each has a different type and frequency of use.


The primary mechanical system of the new office building features an eight loop ground source system with the well field located north of the building, partially under the parking lot. The refrigerant from the well field enters the building in the ground level mechanical space where it is pumped to the various terminal units by a 15 HP Pump. The terminal units serving each space are a water source heat pump designed by capacity for each space and located in most instances in the mechanical mezzanine. Additionally, these terminal units are supplied by four large ventilation units located in the Area ‘E’ mechanical mezzanine.  Condensate from the terminal units is pumped an collected in the ground level mechanical space.


The new office buildings structure is a one story wood frame construction. The framing members are Parallel Strand Lumber and the trusses are typically 2” x 4” dimensional lumber. The larger spaces are supported by 10” x 12” timber columns that directly transfer the load the foundation below. The exterior wall construction is typically brick façade with 2” x 6” stud walls for support. Wood panel shear walls make up the lateral system. The various wall are typically fastened to the foundation through anchor bolts. The foundation is a 4” slab on grade concrete floor supported by CMU foundation walls on the exterior. Some of the columns are also supported by spread footings on the soil.

Engineering Support Systems

Fire Protection

The fire protection system was designed to NFPA 13 compliance. The automatic fire protection system is has its primary pump and water supply connections on the ground level mechanical space.


The cable and phone lines to the new office building will be provided from local service providers. The cable and communications conduits from the service connection to the building will share the same trench as the electrical service and will be placed in concrete encased PVC.



The Capstone Project Electronic Portfolio (CPEP) is a web‐based project and information center. It contains material produced for a year‐long Senior Thesis class. Its purpose, in addition to providing central storage of individual assignments, is to foster communication and collaboration between student, faculty consultant, course instructors, and industry consultants. This website is dedicated to the research and analysis conducted via guidelines provided by the Department of Architectural Engineering. For an explanation of this capstone design course and its requirements click here.

•This page was last updated on 4.30.2013, by Brice Ohl and is hosted by the AE Department ©2011

Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐inprogress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Brice Ohl. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.