Level Letter: Organic, sustainable, and fire-retardant walls from an unexpected source + Level updates

Welcome to the Level Engineering newsletter, where you will witness the growth and evolution of the architecture and engineering industry. At Level, we believe collaboration is a tool to improve our quality, benefit our clients, change our industry, and protect our planet. Read on for inspiration from current events and to stay up-to-date with exciting company news. 

Organic, sustainable, and fire-retardant walls?

At the time of writing this, 91 large wildfires are burning 640,200 acres in 15 U.S. states. Tragic reports of fires keep coming, leaving us wondering what we can do to protect our infrastructure from destruction. 

Be encouraged, architects and engineers, because where there’s a problem, there’s an opportunity for a solution. RMIT University recently released a study entitled Fireproofing flammable composites using mycelium: Investigating the effect of deacetylation on the thermal stability and fire reaction properties of mycelium. The study reveals exciting evidence that through chemical manipulation, a species of mycelium (Basidiomycota fungi) exhibits fire-retardant properties. 

​​The study signifies a promising future for organic and sustainable fire-retardant cladding for buildings. Researchers are already testing “fungal mats reinforced by engineering fibers to delay ignition, reduce the flaming intensity, and improve fire safety ranking.” 

As engineers and architects, we can’t control nature, but we can work with it to design more sustainable and resilient structures. 

  • Read more about fire-retardant fungi here
  • Keep up to date with fires in the U.S. here

Internal Project Spotlight

In Tampa, Florida, Grant Escobar is working on an interesting project. Partnering with the Clearwater Cascade Community (55+ community) to assess the on-going erosion they are experiencing on the Cross Bayou Canal that is impacting their property and livelihood.

Level Engineering has been consulting with the board of directors to develop the necessary steps to design and build an erosion control structure. We have performed an initial inspection and report, presented potential solutions in front of the entire community during a town hall, and are currently working on the contract to move into the engineering and design phase of the project needed for permitting approval.

We plan on utilizing our Hydrau-tech partners to assist in the analysis and modeling of the waterway as well as the design of the proposed solution. We are excited to continue helping this community to protect their homes and preserve the waterway system that is home to many marine life including manatees.

New Team Member Feature

Let’s warmly welcome one of Level’s newest Professional Engineers, Roberto Guzman. Roberto joined the collaborative in August in the Miami office. With three master’s degrees and 21 years of worldwide industry experience, Roberto brings a diverse and robust skillset.


Technical Capabilities:

Construction Engineering; Architectural Engineering; Civil Works; Structural Engineering in Multistory Buildings, Commercial Buildings, Office Buildings, Industrial Facilities, Site Development, Earthworks, Highways and Bridges.

Thanks for reading this edition of the Level Letter: An A&E roundup. What’s happening on the front lines of the A&E world. Projects worth sharing, team highlights, job opportunities, articles, podcasts, and other resources.

Picture of Scott Zurn, P.E.

Scott Zurn, P.E.

Founder and CEO of Level Engineering & Level Design Partners. With more than 4 decades of experience, Scott Zurn has contributed to all aspects of the building industry, serving both public and private sectors. He’s achieved tremendous success in commercial and residential markets, held leadership roles such as building official, city engineer, and director for local governments, and accomplished hundreds of millions of dollars in successful commercial building and civil infrastructure as a designer, project manager, and leader. As the Founder of the Level brand, Scott is dedicated to ensuring the entrepreneurial success of design professionals, as well as creating positive environmental impacts through design work. Read Scott’s full bio here.

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