A S Klein Engineering, PLLC was founded in 2013 after a need was identified in the western United States for code consultation services with strong emphases on chemical and fire protection engineering. The practice of fire protection engineering encompasses the design, specification and review of fire protection and suppression systems as well as maintaining a tenable environment for evacuation during a fire. The latter part is often termed life safety.
2014 was an exciting year for our firm, as we completed our first international project. Because of our area’s world-class expertise in high-hazard processes, teaming partner Dade Moeller was contracted to perform health and safety consulting during the design and construction of the largest semiconductor plant in the world, a Samsung campus in Xi’an, China. Our engineering services were utilized to complement the work of their industrial hygienists during the design review and inspection of the campus buildings and production processes. Semiconductor fabrication plants are a unique hazard category within building and fire codes because of ventilation limitations and the high quantities of hazardous gases and chemicals that are stored and used.
2014 was also the year we expanded our service offerings from the private sector into the Hanford cleanup effort. Through a contract with teaming partner Meier Architecture Engineering, we are acting as the Chemical Subject Matter Experts for the integrity assessment of the Hanford Double-Shell Tank Systems. These assessments, required as a milestone in the Tri-Party Agreement, are performed periodically and ensure that the tanks storing Hanford wastes are structurally sound and that their materials of construction are compatible with the chemicals stored inside.
A S Klein Engineering also works closely with Mid-Columbia Engineering to supply fire protection engineering services for their blanket order agreement contracts with the Hanford Primes. Under these contracts, our responsibilities include the design, review, inspection, commissioning and retro-commissioning of fire detection, alarm and suppression systems in both new and existing buildings.
Throughout our expansion, we have continued to provide code consulting and engineering services to the private sector in the area of fire protection as well as energy. Our engineers sit on national code development committees and speak across the nation to architects and code officials on the practical applications of energy code provisions as well as perform local plans examinations and inspections of buildings for compliance with Washington state’s Non-residential Energy Code.
Over the next few years, as the economy continues to thrive, we will be working closer with our teaming partners to secure more Hanford cleanup work and also grow our roots deeper into the private sector — especially locally. I am heavily invested in the economic development of the region and sits on the board of the Benton-Franklin Economic Development Council.
Our ambitious goals for the coming years are not without challenges. One exciting challenge is foreign competition and marketing our expertise across the globe. With the world economy thriving, the unique problem-solving capabilities of firms such as ours and those of other engineering firms that have contributed to the cleanup efforts at Hanford are in strong demand. Leveraging these strengths to help developing parts of the world will be a challenge, but a worthy one.
Furthermore, work at Hanford is always a challenge because of the unique nature of the waste and the first-in-the-world designs that have been developed to provide cleanup solutions. As is the case in many of our projects, there are not always prescriptive answers to the questions on the table, and performance-based solutions must be developed with a comprehensive understanding of all potential hazards.
As we move into 2015 and beyond, our firm has much to look forward to: continuing to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems; helping to ensure buildings are safe and healthy; working to create opportunities with our talented local teaming partners; and providing exciting work opportunities for engineers locally, domestically and abroad.
For more information, go to www.asklein.com.