Holmes Murphy

Project Information

  • Owner

    Knapp Properties

  • Location

    Waukee, IA

  • Architect

    Substance Architecture

  • General Contractor

    The Weitz Company

  • Engineer

    Baker Group

  • Square Footage


  • Baker Group Scope


In Waukee’s budding Kettlestone mixed-use development, Knapp Properties is building a modern, two-story workplace for Holmes Murphy’s headquarters, currently located in West Des Moines. Baker Group is providing the building’s HVAC, sheet metal, plumbing, piping and automation systems.

As building owner, Knapp Properties provided the budget. As future tenant, Holmes Murphy specified its facility needs, which aim to support employee comfort, productivity and job satisfaction. Delivering on both the owner’s and tenant’s needs requires significant collaboration among owner, architect, general contractor and engineer.

“We’ve done a lot of work with Knapp, Weitz and Substance Architecture in the past, so we know we can trust each other. We have each other’s backs, and we’re all committed to giving Holmes Murphy what it wants while ensuring that Knapp’s pro forma financials work,” says Brad Matt, Project Manager.

Design-build approach – and a lot of creative thinking – contain costs.

Knapp Properties chose to use the design-build approach to the building’s mechanical and plumbing systems to control cost and scope.

Using Baker Group’s design and building information modeling (BIM) services, “We provided detailed information and options before actual work began. This allowed Knapp Properties to make value-based decisions early on,” says Matt.

Staying within budget also required disciplined teamwork and problem-solving, says Matt. For instance, “The building’s design called for a lot of glass in the building’s exterior, but we didn’t want to drive a lot of dollars into having radiant heat at the base of the windows. The architect worked very hard with Holmes Murphy to plan the space so people would always sit 6 to 8 feet from the windows. This helped us keep the price down,” he says.

High-value mechanical, plumbing and automation solutions

“Baker Group is part of the team that is designing and building a very cost-efficient building that will help Holmes Murphy improve how they operate and the experience of their employees every day. We’ve maximized the value of a very economical budget,” Matt adds.

For the HVAC system, Knapp chose a variable air volume (VAV) system that uses two 120-ton packaged rooftop units with fan-powered VAV boxes with electric heat. The design also includes electric cabinet unit heaters, electric unit heaters, electric fin tube and exhaust fans, and provides the flexibility to address future remodels. Sheet metal is being designed, fabricated and installed by Baker Group.

The plumbing system includes: storm drain system with roof and overflow drains; 5,000-gallon grease interceptor with grease sanitary routed to kitchen areas; a 50 GPM (gallons per minute) sump pump serving the elevator pit; 85-gallon electric water heater; plumbing rough-in for a café, kitchenette and catering area; and plumbing fixtures for lower-level locker rooms, core restrooms, unisex restrooms, mothers’ rooms and oasis areas.

All mechanical and plumbing systems will be controlled by Baker Group automation systems, which are designed to conserve energy and further contain operating costs.

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