DeLuca-Hoffman Associates, Inc. is a civil and environmental engineering firm based in South Portland, Maine. Their services include site development and utilities design and planning, as well as traditional civil engineering design.
Architects and developers frequently engage DeLuca-Hoffman to prepare site plans and permit applications for municipal and private clients. Their numerous projects throughout New England include schools, retail developments, supermarkets and hospitals. In business since 1986, the company currently has twenty-eight employees.
According to Robert Woodman, Project Engineer, DeLuca-Hoffman purchased Design Master Electrical three years ago, specifically to make use of its photometric analysis features to design outdoor site lighting.
“Our company primarily does site design: parking, drives, grading, drainage, utilities and lighting,” explains Mr. Woodman. “Prior to purchasing Design Master we had been outsourcing the photometric design work. Local lighting reps provide photometric designs at no cost, with the expectation that if we specify the fixtures they rep, when the project is built the contractor will buy from them.”
“The problem was delays and difficulties with changes. We’d come up with a basic site design, send the rep the CAD file, and get something back in a week or two. But meanwhile, our concept often had evolved, or local lighting regulations necessitated changes,” Mr. Woodman continues. “The lighting design couldn’t move forward along with the rest of the site design.”
“Photometric analysis many times is a focal point in discussions with planning and zoning boards because of potential lighting impacts to abutting properties. So it’s important to get it right and delays are problematic. When you’ve got a big permit app due out in four days, and you just moved the parking area… you can’t go back to a lighting rep and expect immediate turnaround.
“So I started looking into whether we could do the lighting design ourselves. I came upon Design Master Electrical while researching photometric analysis software online. What attracted us immediately is that it runs in AutoCAD, which is the design software that we and many other firms in our line of work use. So there’s no file export/import required.
“Now our lighting plans look great and fit right into our plan sets. And it’s easy to do things like change pole heights, switch fixture types and generate footcandle contours – we can update lighting plans almost instantaneously. We can also add specific notes, which you wouldn’t get on a plan from a lighting rep.”
Design Master Electrical also make it easier to compare fixture types and evaluate capital and operating costs. “A big trend in site lighting today is the move from high-pressure sodium or metal halide lighting to LED,” says Mr. Woodman. “We use Design Master to provide comparative designs for traditional and LED scenarios. Clients can then weigh capital costs for installation versus how energy savings with LEDs would reduce operating costs over time.”
“Several of our major clients are also interested in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and credits. Design Master makes it easy to tweak a design to bring it in line with ‘sustainable sites’ criteria for light trespass, for example,” adds Mr. Woodman.
“We use Design Master Electrical for photometric analysis on ten to fifteen projects per year, across all five of our engineering teams, so it benefits our entire company and many of our clients. It’s well worth the annual cost of the software license.
“All the principals here are very satisfied with the Design Master software, and we all feel it was a good decision to start doing lighting design ourselves. We can provide our clients with higher quality, more informative plans while responding quickly to changes so all phases of the project stay on track.”
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