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Baker Electric

Des Moines, IA

June 2011

How Baker Electric Leverages Design Master Electrical for 3D Modeling

Baker Electric, Inc. is a premier electrical service provider based in Des Moines, Iowa. With the expertise to handle all facets of electrical contracting from data centers to traffic control systems to power distribution, its portfolio encompasses large-scale commercial, civic and residential projects that include the region's tallest skyscrapers, the Iowa Events Center and Des Moines' magnificent new Center Street Bridge.

Established in 1946, Baker Electric currently has approximately 350 employees, many of whom are engaged in field service. The firm is well known for its outstanding service to customers and its innovative design-build work.

Streamlining Design-Build Projects

Design-build capabilities are among Baker Electric's key competitive strengths. Baker can handle the entire process from concept to design to implementation to completion, including managing the project from beginning to end. Four employees work full-time on design-build, all of whom use Design Master Electrical.

Gary Edgington, Project Manager, introduced Baker Electric to Design Master Electrical when he joined the firm in 2003. He had been a Design Master user since 2002 at his previous position.

According to Mr. Edgington, "Bringing Design Master into Baker was basically just a matter of demonstrating what it could do. They'd been doing design-build in the traditional way where the designer redlines a blueprint to show what you want to draw on it, and gives that to a CAD operator, who executes the drawing and gives it back to the designer and so on, back and forth over several review processes.

"Design Master lets the person doing the design also do the CAD work," Mr. Edgington adds. "It's one of the few programs that's written like a designer would think, versus how a CAD person would think. Getting everyone up to speed on Design Master took less than thirty hours of training time, and that included teaching basic AutoCAD functions."

Using Design Master Electrical not only streamlines the design-build process but also increases accuracy. Further, it enables designers to update and recalculate drawings much more quickly as changes are made at the last minute.

Mr. Edgington explains: "We can turn around changes that used to take two days in twenty minutes. Design-build applications are fast-track projects. Construction begins before design is completed. The ability to respond rapidly to last-minute changes and reissue the drawings is a necessity to keep jobs going smoothly."

Responsive technical support is also essential when tight timeframes are involved. "Without a doubt Design Master Software's support is by far the best and most personal support I've seen from any software company," continues Mr. Edgington. "I very seldom have issues but when I do I have an answer back in less than twenty-four hours."

Efficient Support for 3D Modeling

"We're doing modeling in the new release of Design Master, which supports 3D views. They've made huge advances with their latest release. Their conduit modeling is the best I've seen."
Gary Edgington, Project Manager

Baker Electric uses Design Master Electrical for 3D modeling as well as design. Beginning with the most recent release, Design Master Electrical 8.0, the software supports collision detection on projects that use 3D building information models (3D-BIM). This enables engineers and designers to continue to use Design Master's superior design features while still meeting the needs of architects and others who use Navisworks or Revit MEP for 3D collision detection and/or design purposes. The process is straightforward:

According to Mr. Edgington: "We're doing modeling in the new release of Design Master, which supports 3D views. They've made huge advances with their latest release. Their conduit modeling is the best I've seen, and that's one of the toughest things to do in electrical models. In the real world, conduits bend across infinite degrees. For example, one bend might be 22 degrees and the next 23.5 degrees. Most programs want to limit you to fixed bends of 30 degrees or 45 degrees or whatever, but Design Master lets you lay it out like it will look in the real world.

"Ultimately our 3D models can more closely parallel real-world situations, which is the intent of making a model--you want to make sure everything you're going to do in the field is preplanned and ready to go into the building. Our jobs go more smoothly because our models more accurately predict what installers will see in the field.

"We've exported IFC files from Design Master mostly for import into Navisworks, but sometimes also Revit MEP. The IFC files go into both those programs pretty easily, and the process is simple. The architectural firms we work with are good with that." 


Design-build expertise is one of Baker Electric's key competitive strengths. Design Master Electrical has enabled the firm to radically streamline and accelerate its design-build processes, while also increasing the accuracy of designs.

Equally important, Design Master Electrical enables designers to respond to last-minute changes with updated drawings orders of magnitude more quickly than they could previously, which helps keep construction projects on track.

Further, Design Master Electrical supports Baker Electric's design-build efforts in the increasingly important area of 3D modeling. Engineers and designers can continue to work with the superior and familiar features in Design Master, while also meeting the needs of architects and other clients for collision detection and coordination in 3D-BIM design scenarios.

Mr. Edgington summarizes: "At Design Master Software, they think like engineers and designers think and they make their software work the same way."