The design/build electrical industry is gaining momentum. It continues to offer shorter times to completion, and better coordination between engineer and contractor. But now, firms like Gusmus have another competitive advantage. They are training their engineers and drafters to use Design Master Electrical Software in addition to their existing Autocad platform. This could potentially cut project design and estimating times in half. Lee Gusmus relates their experience:
DM: How long did it take for you to become proficient with the software?
LG: After we did the two day in-house training, I was prepared to work with DM-Electrical. Once I had completed two to three jobs, I was able to become more independent from the support people at DM. At first, I called a couple times a day but after two or three weeks, I was able to pretty much hold my own.
DM: What types of projects do you use DM for?
LG: We are different from the majority of DM customers in reference to the type of work we do. We are not a "engineering only" company. We are an engineering and electrical contractor. This means that the majority of our work is design/build. We design only the projects that we are going to install. With that being said, DM has helped us to become more productive and efficient in being able to complete designs that are of a time-sensitive matter.
DM: What features of the software are most useful to you?
LG: The most beneficial aspect of DM to me is the ability to track loads and calculate panel schedules. When I need to make a modification to a load or a circuit the program recalculates that circuit and enters it into the panel schedule. This alone has cut our design time in half.
DM: How do you feel that Design Master differs from other engineering or CAD software?
LG: We only have experience with Autocad and DM. We have never used any other CAD platforms. With this being said, DM has made our designs more uniform because it uses the same "layout" each time. This can become a problem when different CAD operators tend to use different layouts.
Second, DM doesn't really require the user to be totally familiar with Autocad. Since you are mainly using DM commands there is very little need for pure knowledge of Autocad. We have taken estimators that have little to no experience with CAD, and within a couple of days they are able to produce drawings on their own.
DM: Can you describe a situation where Design Master has made your job easier?
LG: This program has made our designs so streamlined that we were actually able to eliminate a draftsman position. We can now literally design a project in less than half the time it used to take.
DM: Do you see the industry using these types of design tools more often in the future?
LG: With technology becoming what it is, I can see programs like DM becoming a proven industry standard. Most businesses today are all about productivity and quality. With DM, both of these qualities are obtainable with minimal upfront cost and training.