A user of PowerCalc since December, Ken Everett of Home Run Electric in Seattle talked with us about his experience with the software.
A great highlight is that he has submitted over 15 projects to Seattle's Building Department, all approved without comment. Quite a record.
So, watch Ken's interview, and the transcript follows below.
June Adams: I'm June Adams, CEO of PowerCalc. We’re here today with Ken Everett, an active user of PowerCalc. Ken, it's great to be with you here today. Ken, can you tell us about yourself?
Ken Everett: My name's Ken Everett. I live in the greater Seattle area, been here about 7 years now. I moved from northwest Florida. I'm a Project Manager for Home Run Electric.
June Adams: How long have you been in the electrical profession?
Ken Everett: Right around 20 years, now.
June Adams: Great. What kind of projects do you design?
Ken Everett: For the most part, multi-family.
June Adams: What are your biggest challenges in your work?
Ken Everett: Right now, the biggest challenge is manpower. A good design is also a challenge. A design that’s not over-engineered. I see a lot of projects that are over-designed.
June Adams: What do you mean by that?
Ken Everett: I've got a project that I'm going back and forth on right now. We didn’t do the design work, and the design calls for any feeders over 60 feet ... these are 125 AMP feeders…so any feeder over 60 feet, they want to be 4/0 aluminum. This is for a 125 AMP residential feeder… that's overboard.
[Note from PowerCalc: 4/0 aluminum is rated for 180 Amp and as Ken points out, has been incorrectly specified in this 125 Amp residential service project. This is over-sized by about 45%.]
June Adams: Would you say that gets very expensive when people over-design a project?
Ken Everett: Oh, very. Just the cost of the material, the extra labor, a lot of money is being spent on this project...
June Adams: How common is that problem?
Ken Everett: I see over-design... on most projects, honestly.
June Adams: Why do you think that's happening?
Ken Everett: I think more and more, it’s not really electricians doing the design. I think, more and more, it's staff people doing the design, and then it gets overlooked. You know, you need a good solid, safe installation, but you don't need to go overboard and cost the owner/developer a lot of money for no reason. There is absolutely no gain in it.
June Adams: That's a really good observation. How long have you been using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: I really started using it, I think it was in December. I looked at a lot of different software and I really liked the approach, from the bottom up [circuit to power grid], compared to the other softwares that I've seen. It makes the most sense.
June Adams: Has it been easy for you to learn how to use PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: Oh yeah, definitely. It's been real easy. I'm still learning every day, of more things I can do more efficiently with PowerCalc. But, from the get-go it was easy. You're basically making panel schedules. It's really simple.
June Adams: How do you feel about the results you get with PowerCalc? Do you think they're well designed?
Ken Everett: Yes, definitely. The results have been great. I've sent probably... I've sent about fifteen projects off now to the City of Seattle, and I haven't gotten a single correction back on any of them.
June Adams: Have you received comments from the City of Seattle on all fifteen projects, or are some of those projects still under review by the city?
Ken Everett: I've got most of them back. There was no issue with the design at all.
June Adams: And, why are you using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: Well, we were... We have an engineering firm that we use, and they're a good firm, it's the prices kept going on, so we decided to start doing it. We wanted to go in- house to do our project design... a spreadsheet or pencil and paper, it just wasn't good enough, it took me too long to do the design by hand.
June Adams: Is your firm is saving money by using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: Oh yeah, definitely.
June Adams: And has that cut down on your need to hire outside engineers and more designers?
Ken Everett: Yeah, we still hire our outside engineers for our life-safety fire alarm designs. But, as far as the electrical, if it's not required to have an engineer stamp, we're doing the work in-house now.
June Adams: Are you saving time using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: Definitely. Definitely. By the time I can relay the information to the engineer, I could access PowerCalc, and do the design with less time, using PowerCalc.
June Adams: Great. So, about how long does it take you to design the power distribution system using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: A small project, say just six-units of row houses, with PowerCalc takes about 30 minutes.
June Adams: Wow. That's fast. Anything else you'd like to tell us about your work or using PowerCalc?
Ken Everett: I think it's a great tool. It saves time and money. I would recommend it to anyone. If I can use it... anyone can. I'm not tech-savvy at all... It's really simple to use. Very, very efficient.
June Adams: We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. You know, after you've used the one-line diagram, we'll probably come back and talk to you a little bit more about that. Is there anything else you want to add?
Ken Everett: Just that everyone I've dealt with at your company has been great. You, and James, and everyone I've talked to has been great. Good job.
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