Case #3: Better Estimates for Electrical Costs

By James Khalil, P.E. | Apr 29, 2021 11:00:00 AM

In today’s construction industry, a preferred method for construction is Design Build.

The Design Build process combines the design of the structure with the construction cost in one price submitted to the owner. In order to bid, the Design Build contractor needs to determine what electrical equipment is necessary and its costs prior to the Power Distribution System actually being designed.

In a Design Build project, in contrast to conventional design / bid / construction, the contractor is locked into its bid. Currently, the bid for a Design Build construction project is based on estimates often relying on “rule of thumb” electrical design. The reality is that the actual quantity and price of the electrical equipment is likely not known at the time of bid.

Two dilemmas related to the Design Builder’s estimates of these costs are: (1) if underestimated, the Design Builder pays the difference or (2) if overestimated, the Design Builder’s bid likely is not competitive.

PowerCalc is based on design from the circuit to the grid's entrance to the building for exactingly accurate results. For the Design Build project, however, PowerCalc can be used in a “top-down” manner that is based on estimates similar to our competitors' software calculation models. The difference, however, is that PowerCalc’s estimates are still based on its 7.5 million calculations providing estimates much closer to actual cost.

At PowerCalc’s WIZARD, estimates are input such as the panelboard’s “Main” size. With this single input, the results estimate specifications for related feeder, conduit, ground, overcurrent protection devices, voltage drop, equipment AIC ratings, and fault current calculations. It also generates the basic layout of the power distribution system identifying necessary equipment and automatically generates the 1 Line Diagram. Wizard

PowerCalc’s 1 Line Diagram includes a Feeder Table indicating the number and size of feeders and conductors. Also useful for a Design Build estimate is that any change is easy. Change of an input or output anywhere, and all values on the power distribution system and 1 Line Diagram are instantaneously updated upstream and downstream.1 Line; Product of the Year; Video Demo 1 Line

Although PowerCalc is exactingly accurate when used in a bottom-up-process of first inputting circuit values, its use as an estimating process for design build in a top-down process provides a wealth of information for those estimating Design Build projects. While still estimates, the quantity and sizing of necessary equipment is much closer to the “actual” and final numbers than is available by other means.

The result is reduced losses and increased profits for Design Builders and electrical contractors.

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Join us for a Free Demo of    PowerCalc -  the 1st automatic electrical engineering design software in the cloud for compliance with the NEC and with simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram!
 
When: Friday,  April 9 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
  Sign Up:
A fter sign up, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You can also see our most recent demonstration on video: PowerCalc Demo: July 10, 2020  
 

Our software is a fully integrated design application that saves you time and money. This is PowerCalc...an incredibly powerful tool that's unexpectedly easy to use for compliance with the NEC. 

Read More >

Case #2: South Florida Country Club Saves $2,000,000

By James Khalil, P.E. | Apr 15, 2021 11:00:00 AM
 
In a peer study,   PowerCalc was used to review the installation of a backup generator.
 
The electrical design for the installation specified ten (10) 112.5 kVA transformers. That's a lot of transformers, an oversight easily identified by a seasoned professional. This specification is about three times (3X) the amount of electrical power typically designed for such a facility (10W / SF instead of 3 W / SF).
 
Running the same design through   PowerCalc resulted in a reduction of this specification for transformers instead to ten (10) 30 kVA to 45 kVA transformers. This "downsizing" resulted in over $2,000,000 in savings by not only reducing the size of the transformers, but also the related conductors and conduits.
 
For all involved in construction every day, these types of mistakes are not uncommon. These issues arise from the current electrical design practice of using "rules of thumb", makeshift spreadsheets, and software that "designs" from the   top-down  ( estimating  the total electrical load at the start of design). The accurate design approach is to instead know the  actual  electrical demand load by adding electrical loads from the circuit to the facility's connection to the power grid ( bottom-up). This   bottom-up  approach is   PowerCalc's patented design methodology.
 
In contasting approaches,  guestimating  the size of the electrical load in conjunction with pre-sets for panelboard sizes, transformers, equipment disconnects, feeders, and overcurrent protection devices at the start of the project may lead to an   inaccurate  baseline on which to build the electrical engineering design instead of an   accurate calculation of the   Total Electrical Load  based on the project's   actual  electrical demand.
 
This distinction in approach is important as electrical equipment that is (1)   oversized  results in increased costs for the developer and/or owner for expensive electrical equipment as well as wasted electrical energy and (2)   undersized  results in a potentially increased risk to safety (fires).
 
FYI: the initial design was done by an engineering consulting firm ranked in the top 100 nationally using leading electrical design software with a top-down design approach.
 
 *********************************************************************************************************
Join us for a Free Demo of    PowerCalc -  the 1st automatic electrical engineering design software in the cloud for compliance with the NEC and with simultaneously generated 1 Line Diagram!
 
When: Friday,  April 9 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
  Sign Up:
A fter sign up, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You can also see our most recent demonstration on video: PowerCalc Demo: July 10, 2020  
 

Our software is a fully integrated design application that saves you time and money. This is PowerCalc...an incredibly powerful tool that's unexpectedly easy to use for compliance with the NEC. 

Read More >
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Incredibly powerful...yet unexpectedly easy.