Last week, we attended the annual South Florida Bluebook Conference The Bluebook. It provided the opportunity to speak with lots of General Contractors working in the building industry and a few facility managers. Our thanks to each of you.
Even for seasoned consulting engineers, it was an eye-opener: gas equipment specified instead of electrical equipment; 10 same sized transformers specified instead of just 5; an undersized Main Service Conductor specified in a 20 story high rise. Costly mistakes ranging from an estimated $250,000 to millions to fix.
These issues arise from the current electrical design practice of using “rules of thumb”, “guestimating”, makeshift spreadsheets, and software that “designs” from the top-down (estimating the total electrical load at start of the design, instead of knowing the actual load by adding loads from the circuit to the service entrance of the facility (bottom-up)).
To put this in perspective, a typical 2-story office building of 10,000 SF averages over 10,000 electrical calculations, with the possibility of up to 70% of these (or 7,000) being re-calculated for changes. And then, the results of these calculations must be checked for compliance with the National Electrical Code (NEC). As all of you know, the NEC’s Handbook has 1000+ pages with endless lookup tables.
In short, the current electrical engineering practice for the design of power distribution systems in buildings is like herding cats.
No matter how often the calculations are checked, the process streamlined, the number of engineers increased, the process is never quite under control: repetitive, tedious calculations; lengthy and time-consuming processes; overdesign/underdesign issues; costs from unnecessary design time; mistakes; process inefficiencies; NEC compliance issues; and building department concerns.
The solution is automation of the electrical design process. Streamlining the process with technology that automatically calculates, and instantly re-calculates for changes, the entire power distribution system in a building, all in compliance with the NEC. With a tool addressing the calculation and code issues, the electrical professional can finally do the work of designing an optimum power distribution system.
As most of you know, PowerCalc was invented because of these deficiencies in the electrical design process. Our software has been used to design hundreds of projects valued well over $4 billion in construction costs. Projects. Additionally, we continue to be contacted for peer reviews and value engineering projects. You can find out more at powercalc.co.
And there is also the issue for many GCs of trying to estimate costs for design build projects. Today’s electrical design process does not allow for a determination of what electrical equipment is actually required for a construction project until the design phase is complete.
But it is no longer necessary to have a single mark on a drawing to do “quantity takeoffs” of the electrical equipment for estimating what electrical equipment is necessary and its cost to bid. Using PowerCalc, the electrical equipment can easily be determined at an early stage of the project---that’s long before the final design document is generated on AutoCAD and long before the design build project is bid.
With PowerCalc, the design build contractor has fewer cost surprises at the end of the construction project. It also means that the design is done based on numbers from electrical engineering calculations, instead of counting up the electrical equipment on construction documents.
1 Line Diagram: we are finishing up our “coding” and testing. We will be releasing the 1 Line Diagram to our customers and volunteers for testing in the next several weeks. If you are interested, just let us know.
Jacobo M., a subscriber and electrical engineer, has raised an interesting problem for PowerCalc to solve with regard to the 1 Line Diagram and the NEC. We’ll be sharing the results in a future issue.
WOSB Certification: our certification as a Woman Owned Small Business has been renewed with the SBA. We are currently working on a joint venture arrangement.
Santiago Espinoza: Our latest staff addition is a talented videographer. We think you will enjoy his creative viewpoint.