Category Archives: Design

A New Folding Kennel Option

A Folding Kennel Option

Crates Don’t Work Well.

Folding crates are a pain. You never seem to have the right size for the animal. When you fold them up, where do you store them? Most often, I see crates with a broken plastic floor that causes the animal to lie on the wire bottom-certainly not a good thing.

So, what do you do when you need more kennel space?

This folding, Space Saver kennel came across my desk today. It is full size, and folds flat to the wall in no time. I think this new kennel has great potential for use in a daycare rooms for downtime or to provide additional boarding for that busy holiday weekend when you’re out of space. For an SPCA, these would be great for those times when you need a lot of intake space, but when not needed, they fold-up in short order to free up the room for other activities. Have a look at this link, and be sure to watch the video.

If you are interested, let me know if you need help in laying the space out, and then we can get you some pricing.

Boarding Kennels: The Design Process

Now Available as an E-Book

Boarding Kennels: The Design Process

New E-Book:

New E-Book:

Our latest book is now available as an E-Book. See it here. If you are planning to build a new boarding kennel, you owe it to yourselves to read Boarding Kennels: The Design Process.

It covers land acquisition, building a list of wants and desires. We cover Kennel Enclosures, Drains, Vacuum Systems and so much more.


Design Your Kennel For The Future

no parkingKennel Design; review all the codes before you start your project.

I am an architectural designer, and I specialize in animal care facility design. My work extends all across the USA and in countries around the globe.  Because my work is, well,  everywhere, I find it very interesting how both local building codes and zoning ordinances vary from one project to the next.  Even neighboring cities have different regulations.

One of the services we offer is a Feasibility Study.  In this study, we examine the local regulations to help ensure that the design we are about to prepare meets these local regulations. This will help design your kennel for the future.

I saw post recently where a homeowner posted a giant NO PARKING! sign on his front lawn.  Apparently, patrons of the kennel across the street are parking in this man’s driveway while they are conducting business at the kennel.  The kennel has no off-street parking, and the street is only 18′ wide, leaving little room for parking.  Because the kennel has been there for years, the city says, “…it’s not our problem!”

_DSC6950-31On many projects, we use a circular driveway for customers to drive up, drop off / pick up, and then drive off.  I might suggest that a kennel have an attendant on the drive too during the morning intake hours, and in the evening, offer a service where the customer can call ahead to pick up an animal, and having the pet ready and waiting.  Services like this, reduce the number of parking spaces needed and are especially good in situations, like this, where the kennel is operating in a non-commercial zoning district with no off-street parking.

Parking is a real concern, but for a kennel, there are so many aspects to getting the design right.  So, when planning for your kennel, be sure to research all the local regulations, but also, consider the needs of your neighbors too.  Starting off on the right foot will go a long way in building a business.

If you need help in the design of your new boarding kennel, animal shelter, or veterinary hospital, give me a call.


Shipping Container Kennels

Containers for Kennels

Containers for Kennels

The other day, I saw a few pictures on Pinterest of shipping container kennels. They made me raise an eye brow.

At first glance, one might think that these containers seem like the perfect answer for all your shelter’s troubles.  No more leaky roof, or over-crowding, or broken kennel enclosures, poor drainage, or whatever plagues your kennel.  Just drop in another container and everything is well again, and they’re cheap too!  Now, that really sounds great…

but, not so fast!

A Google search on the words ‘container architecture quickly reveals that using containers in construction is nothing new.  Homes and commercial buildings are made of containers and containers are stacking up on every port around the country.  They were shipped into our country with products and goods, but they cost too much to return them empty.  So the cost of containers are fairly cheap.

With a little planning, containers make a very strong, safe and watertight building.  But, these ‘buildings’ must meet all the building code requirements that any commercial building would need to meet.  Hence, the planning!

The inside needs to have water, both supply and drainage.  It must have heating, cooling, ventilation,  electric, lighting, insulation, and must meet all the requirements for the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, too.

Outside, these ‘permanent’ buildings must meet the requirements for gravity and lateral forces; both a proper foundation to rest on, and the building must be tied to the foundation to resist lateral wind loads.  The doors and pathways around the buildings must also be accessible for wheelchair access and they must meet zoning and setback requirements too.

So, the thought of just dropping a few containers in place, cutting in a few dog doors, and moving in the animals, could be not be farther from the truth.

However, with a little planning,

shipping container kennels may come in handy for short-term housing of animals after a natural disaster, or for emergency quarantine.  Also, it is always a problem finding housing for animals when renovating an existing shelter. This is especially so, when taking an existing shelter building down completely, to build a new one in it’s place.  Perhaps temporally housing of animals in containers may be an answer, but, it’s all a matter of proper planning.

For all your kennel or animal hospital design needs, give me a call–that’s what I do, worldwide, and  I’m here to help.

Quarantine, Whether Ebola or Parvovirus, Think INSIDE The Box!


Ocean Shipping Containers assembled creating a mobile hospital!

sThis latest outbreak of Ebola has me concerned. Now, I am certainly no doctor or scientist. I’m an architectural designer. I design animal shelters, boarding kennels, military and police kennels and veterinary hospitals too. Most of these buildings have quarantine rooms in their designs, and that’s what sparks my concern.

I do have a little bit of medical background. I was a US Navy hospital corpsman, an ER staff corpsman, a battle dressing station triage officer, and an ACLS paramedic. I went through the Navy’s training for handling of and the treatment of patients infected with chemical and biological warfare weapons. Back then, it was my job to run towards the fire, the sick and the injured, or the flooding on a ship to fix problems. Today, I design solutions.

Last week on C-Span, I listened to the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations as they try to find answers. Tim Murphy, Chairman, Pennsylvania, outlined that mistakes have been made thus far here in the USA.  He also said that 1000 people are entering this country each week from “Ebola hot zones.” I certainly understand that we must protect our homeland, and perhaps travel restrictions are warranted, but there is more that needs to be done, and done right now!  It is estimated that more than 4500 people have died as of this writing.

Chairman Murphy noted that the number of Ebola outbreaks in Africa are doubling every three weeks. It seems to me that more effort needs to be directed at stopping ebola at its source. The African hospital workers must have, not only the proper medications and equipment, but they must also have the proper facilities to contain this deadly virus.

Containment is likely the only way to prevent the spread. Last week, I saw a video where a hospital worker was exiting an isolation ward, walking through clear plastic doors, then across the dirt ground where he stepped through a pan of liquid, presumably a disinfectant for his shoes.  This is simply not enough.

How can these hospital conditions be changed, and right now, to expedite the eradication of ebola?

Building new hospitals is simply out of the question. It would take too long and too many would die waiting for a bed. This has been going through my head day and night, and then it came to me, maybe the answer is…

Ocean Shipping Containers!


Advantages of building a single-level hospital from available shipping containers.

  • Containers make for fast manufacturing–the frame is already to go
  • Containers are strong
  • Containers are a cheap buildings
  • Containers are plentiful, there are thousands of used containers stacked at every seaport
  • Containers may be renovated fairly easily to allow for:
    • Windows
    • Skylights
    • Air-tight man-doors
    • Roll-up storage doors
    • HVAC mechanical systems
  • Containers are easy to ship
  • Containers make for easy-setup once delivered on-site
  • Containers may be insulated to suit most any climate, cold or hot
  • Containers are watertight
  • Containers are air-tight
  • Containers have steel interior walls that could be easily cleaned and sanitized.
  • The only drawback, they have a wooden floor, but there are several options.

More than 21,000 shipping containers enter this country on a daily basis. These extremely strong, steel, air-tight boxes can be quickly modified to make most any kind of room needed. Fitted with proper lighting, plumbing and HVAC, (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), they can be renovated quickly to make quarantine wards, offices, treatment rooms, labs, pharmacy, X-ray rooms, break rooms, supply and storerooms or, of course, kennels. They could even be used for housing for emergency personnel or most any other need. When shipped, each could be packed with all the medical supplies, beds/bedding, HVAC equipment, water heaters, generators, and supplies needed for the specific emergency at hand.

The interior walls and ceilings are metal and may be painted for easy cleaning. The floors are wood, and may be finished a welded sheet goods material or an epoxy finished concrete.  Just as in any hospital, the entire inside, then, can be sanitized and the waste water vacuumed from the floor.  If no sewage is available or if it is inappropriate for the specific emergency, the water would be collected into storage tanks awaiting treatment.

Once arrived on site, the units would be anchored and the exterior walls and roof would receive spray polyurethane foam insulation, as thick as needed to maintain proper indoor temperatures. Then the exterior would be finished with a spray elastomeric or other roofing material.  With proper planning, a little engineering, and some site development while in transit, these units could be occupied within days upon delivery.

So, whether parvovirus in animals or ebola in Africa, think INSIDE the box for emergency quarantine!  When you have a need for an overflow kennel, or disaster relief housing, consider shipping containers as an affordable emergency shelter/quarantine kennel, or a full fledged hospital to combat an ebola crisis in West Africa.

Please share this article. Just maybe, it will spark an the right idea, in the right minds.

God’s blessing to those sick and to their health workers.

Fast, Low Income Housing Using Containers

Multi-Level container Hospitals 

Kennel Design Services

Kennel Design Services

Your Drawings Are Ready!

Whether You Need Just a Simple Plan, A Full Building and Site Kennel Design, or Just Consulting Services; We Have You Covered!

I often get questions about the kennel design services that we offer and the costs involved. This post explains what we do.

We design projects for:

  • Boarding Kennels
  • Pet Hotels
  • Animal Daycare
  • Animal Shelters
  • Veterinary Hospitals
  • Police, Military & Homeland Working Dog Kennels
  • And even private Chicken Coops
    We do it all.

Our services are available in two ways:

  • Design Services:

    Depending on your needs, we develop plans for your project based on the information you provide from our Conceptual Kennel Design Purchase Order Form. Each project is unique, and so, each is customized to the clients’ specific needs.  It costs no more to get exactly what you want.  Working from the office here in Pennsylvania, or meeting with clients’ anywhere in the world, our work extends to countries around the globe.

    Working one on one with clients, we develop as much, or as little, as the project demands. From offering design ideas, to preparing complete construction documents, we only provide what you need. This keeps your costs very low; you’ll never pay for unneeded services and building design fees start as low as $800.00 USD.

  • Consulting Services

    Sometimes, a client needs just a little information regarding their existing building, or perhaps needs specific information about a portion of an upcoming project they are planning.  Perhaps an architect is needing information regarding a kennel project for which they have never designed in the past.

    In these cases, we offer consulting services to answer questions guiding them to a successful project.

So what ever the need, we can design a solution.  Call me anytime, I’m usually, here in the studio designing a kennel.


Support Hotels for Pets!

Pets Deserve a Red Roof Holiday Travel Motel-K9 Lodge Too!

I make my living designing animal shelters and boarding kennels and catteries. My projects have been all across the USA and in other countries around the world.

As with most designers, an architect friend of mine got a little behind in his work. So, for the last few weeks, I have been helping him with the design of a new Holiday Inn hotel. That got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if all hotels had a small, attached, clean, secure boarding kennel to keep watch over the four-legged (or feathered) family member, while you were at the beach? Hotels for Pets!!

Perhaps the next time you are booking a room, you might ask what the rates are for the kennel? When they tell you that they don’t have a kennel, then ask, “Why not?!”

Choosing Kennel Enclosures

Kennel Stall ChoicesWhen Choosing Kennel Enclosures; Spend Your Money Wisely!

I’ve been designing animal shelters, boarding kennels and animal hospitals since 2003. In that time, I’ve talked to hundreds of kennel owners and staff. I’ve also seen a lot of broken-down and warn-out kennels too. This post is about understanding what is available for kennel enclosures today.  It is so important to buy the best you can afford, so you won’t have to replace them any time soon.

Along with the kennels themselves, there are a lot of choices for finishes and for accessories as well. The costs will add up quickly. This is likely to be one of the most costly investments a shelter or boarding kennel will make after the cost of the building itself.

Most kennels enclosures would fit into one of these categories:

  • the Great
  • the Not So Bad &
  • the Ugly

There are several reasons why I might put any particular enclosure into any one of these categories, mostly because of finishes, and we will look at each of them shortly. There are, however, a few features that you should have regardless of what enclosure type you choose.

Any kennel stall you choose must:

  • contain animals–no big gaps at the gate.
  • have a rigid frame that can be repaired as needed
  • resist constant lateral impact from dogs pushing on stall walls
  • be water resistant
  • be easily cleaned
  • have finishes that minimize mold growth
  • prevent cross contamination of fluids between kennel stalls
  • be adjustable for the slope of the floor
  • have a field (the panel, or the solid area inside the frame) that is also rigid
  • prevent fence fighting between stalls
  • have a grill above 48-52 inches to allow for better air movement
  • prevent injury
  • have no sharp corners, and have no corners with more than a one half inch radius
  • have sufficient space for both the animal, but also for a human to access and clean the kennel. I recommend that no stall should be narrower than 4′ wide.
  • must have proper hardware and a proper finish for the task intended

What makes a Great, a Not-So-Bad and an Ugly kennel enclosure?

The Great

A great enclosure would have a frame made from aluminum or stainless steel. I prefer mechanical fasteners for the frame, as opposed to a welded connection, so that the frame can be unscrewed and parts replaced as needed, quickly. Welding would be my second choice of connection as a professional welder could cut-out the damage and rebuild the frame. Parts should be available when they become bent or broken. The frame should have square corners, and no sharp edges anywhere. A radius corner is an avenue leading a foot or leg to becoming caught and perhaps broken. I like a bar grill stall front, as opposed to a solid panel, because a handler walking down the isle, can quickly look in and see what’s going on. A solid panel prevents this ‘communication’ between the dog and handler. Some manufactures, like Mason, build-to-order custom enclosure sizes. This ensures a good fit. The enclosure field should be a stainless steel, a FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) or similar finish to prevent water damage and mold growth.

The not so Bad

When using a galvanized, powder coated or painted finish on a steel frame, the finish will likely get scratched off in short order. I know of one case where the lower half of the gates were ‘paint-free’ in thirty days. The same goes for a painted masonry wall. In most of the kennels that I visit for renovation, I see worn-out and rusted kennel stalls or broken and/or moldy masonry partitions. This is a cheaper option than a ‘Great’ enclosure, as outlined above, but with a strong frame, and thick wall tubing, it should last for years, if, the finish is constantly maintained. I would include a glass stall front enclosure here too, as they are a never-ending nose-print cleaning nightmare–but look pretty in pictures. Again, I prefer a mechanical fastener for the frame, but this classification will likely have a welded connection. Other than that, all the other items listed above pertain to this category as well.

The Ugly

Wood materials for a kennel enclosure should not be a consideration. Enough said for wood. A galvanized, powder coated or painted finish may also be included in this category too, as they will likely look ugly in a few months without maintenance. But also, I would add chain-link fencing material to this category. A chain-link gate often warps (see the photo above) or gets bent, and needs constant repair or adjustment. If choosing chain-link, choose a small size fence fabric, designed for swimming pool fences, so that animals cannot reach through with their nose and cause injury to themselves when barking. It is not that this category will not work to contain animals.  They will. It’s just that they will likely not stay as nice-looking for as long as others. In all of the kennels I renovate, I see badly rusted enclosures. Replacing them is extremely costly. The sides should, again, be solid to prevent fence fighting, but, for chain-link,  don’t use thin plastic slats that could break apart. Some manufactures offer options for stacking kennels too, something for which I’m not a fan for a number of reasons. I would include them here as well because they may be more difficult to clean, and perhaps require animals to be lifted into a kennel.

A Closing Word

Most importantly, let your pocketbook be your guide, and spend your money wisely. Once the enclosures have been chosen, then decide on the needed accessories. If I can help you in planning your new kennel, shelter or animal hospital, or in the renovation of your existing facility, or in just choosing materials, well, that’s what I do!  Please call on me, anytime. I’m likely right here in the studio, designing a kennel.