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Design West

San Bernardino, CA

February 2011

Joshua Lukacs, Senior Project Manager, Design WestHow Design West Engineering Keeps Its Competitive Edge with Design Master HVAC

Design West Engineering is a full-service Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Energy Consulting Firm. Established in 2000 and based in San Bernadino, it is one of southern California's most prominent MEP firms. Design West offers a diverse range of up-to-date expertise and can deliver well-designed, cost-effective and efficient solutions that meet the constructability, durability and environmental challenges of virtually any project. Experienced in “green design” and Building Information Modeling (BIM), Design West’s recent projects include municipal, medical, commercial and residential structures from schools to civic buildings to theme parks.

Matching Design Software with Client Needs

As a leader in the MEP engineering field, Design West works with both architects and contractors on a wide range of small and large projects. Currently with twenty-four employees, the firm’s work is about evenly divided between their electrical and mechanical/plumbing departments and across large-scale and small-to-midsize projects.

According to Joshua Lukacs, Senior Project Manager, Design West has always been forward-looking with respect to design software and its strategic business benefits. The company has been a “power user” and beta test site for both Design Master HVAC and Revit MEP, with deep expertise in both solutions. Design West has been using Design Master HVAC since 2005 and got started with Revit MEP in 2007. Some staff members work primarily with one program or the other, while others use both.

In keeping with their strong focus on customer service, Design West uses either Design Master HVAC or Revit MEP depending on the needs of the project. Currently, they use Design Master on about 50% of their work overall, while using Revit MEP for the other 50%.

“It’s not up to us, it’s up to the client,” Mr. Lukacs explains. “If an architect is doing 3D modeling on a project and provides us with a drawing in Revit MEP, we do all our work in Revit. If they don’t provide a Revit file or don’t request that we use Revit, then we use Design Master.”

"The current functionality of Revit MEP is much slower than what Design Master is capable of at this time."
Joshua Lukacs, Senior Project Manager

If given a choice, Design West tends to use Design Master HVAC because of the ease of use and accelerated time of completion it affords. “The current functionality of Revit MEP is much slower than what Design Master is capable of at this time,” Mr. Lukacs offers. “Given a choice, our company would prefer to use a design tool that is easy to use and will help us complete our projects in a timely manner. At this time Revit MEP takes much more time to route ductwork by comparison. You have to manually size almost everything on your own, and what auto-sizing Revit MEP does provide isn’t very efficient and isn’t always accurate relative to what we see as a standard in the mechanical field. Design Master lets you work far more efficiently – it’s about 50% faster in production.”

Helping Design West Stay Competitive

In the current economic climate, Design West’s ability to handle almost any project efficiently and effectively is a core strength that has helped the company remain competitive.

“One reason we love using Design Master is because its accuracy and its functionality increases our design productivity,” says Mr. Lukacs. “It’s important in this lean environment to get the design done efficiently.”

Because its principals hold licenses in eight other states besides California, Design West often wins contracts out-of-state. This additional flexibility and business reach is especially important these days. According to Mr. Lukacs, Design Master is used on about 95% of Design West’s work outside California. “Design Master enables us to be competitive on these jobs because it saves us time and makes our work easier. It’s a huge advantage for our company.”

Mr. Lukacs also appreciates that “Design Master always keeps right up with the current AutoCAD and Windows software versions, so our engineers can continue to use it with no problems.”

Mr. Lukacs adds: “We’ve seen our suggestions and ‘wish list’ implemented in the Design Master HVAC software, and Design Master Software’s support staff has always been very helpful in tending to our specific design needs. They’ve added features we’ve requested, and also helped us customize our designs and how they look so that the quality of our work really stand out.” 


Design Master HVAC supports Design West Engineering’s profitability and competitiveness in several key ways. By enabling its teams to deliver highly accurate, high-quality work to clients efficiently and in a timely manner, Design Master HVAC helps Design West Engineering stay productive and accomplish more work without adding staff.

At the same time, the edge in quality and efficiency that Design Master affords enables Design West to compete on a wider range of projects and win new business both within California and out-of-state.

Finally, thanks to its collaborative, long-time partnership with Design Master Software, Design West has been able to more effectively meet specific client needs and successfully address specific project challenges to ensure client satisfaction and meet project deadlines.