Pennell Consulting, Inc. (PCI) provides electrical and electronics system design to architects, contractors and government entities on a wide range of projects including correctional, educational, health care, manufacturing, public facilities and retail/office buildings. Security electronics, telecommunications and other technically challenging work is a specialty.
Based in Spokane, Washington, with offices in Denver and Sacramento, PCI serves clients throughout the western US. The firm currently has eight employees, six of whom use Design Master Electrical. PCI first purchased Design Master Electrical in 2005.
According to Rob Pennell, President, PCI uses Design Master Electrical on nearly every project. “Design Master makes it a lot easier to keep track of circuits, panel schedules and demand because it makes and manages all the associated calculations automatically,” Mr. Pennell explains. “We no longer have to manually do takeoffs of rooms or enter every little bit of data into Excel spreadsheets by hand, which was so time-consuming previously.”
“Things that any monkey can do have been transferred to the monkey and humans can now do what humans do best—focus on design,” Mr. Pennell jokes. “Design Master saves us an enormous amount of time, and we love how smoothly it handles so many frustrating, tedious tasks.”
“Because it updates everything automatically, Design Master saves us time whenever we need to make a change to a design,” notes Mr. Pennell. “At a glance we can get a good feel for whether or not our panels and distribution equipment are appropriately sized.
“Another thing we really like about Design Master are its strong photometric features. It makes lighting calculations a whole lot faster and easier, especially since we can just import the IES files.
“Since we’re spared the ‘monkey business’ of basic calculations, we can devote more time to quality checks and still be cost-effective,” Mr. Pennell adds. “People love our drawings due to the extra detail and useful information we’re able to put in.”
“I greatly appreciate how easy it is to manage updates and licenses with Design Master,” says Gary Hanzen, CAD Manager. “Also, we do a high level of customization on the product and we like the flexibility it gives us to meet Rob’s needs.”
“For example, it’s easy to make the panel schedules look just the way we like, or add a symbol on the fly at any point,” Mr. Hanzen clarifies. “Design Master doesn’t keeps us trapped in a corner like Revit MEP, where you’re pretty much stuck with what’s available out-of-the-box.”
Mr. Pennell continues: “Back when I bought Design Master Electrical we were in the middle of multiple projects, including a large hospital project with hundreds of panel boards. It required multiple spreadsheets to calculate demand across all those panel boards, and Excel kept crashing due to the size of the files.
“I was able to convert to using Design Master right in the middle of that major project. Once I could devote more time, it was simple to learn the special features and do all the customizations that I wanted.
“It’s also been very easy for new people coming onboard to get acclimated to the software and start producing quickly,” observes Mr. Pennell.
“Like everybody else we buy AutoCAD licenses through a reseller,” states Mr. Pennell. “We ask over and over again for support and they say they’re going to get back to us but they never do.”
“With Design Master, we can send them an email or give them a call and, if not immediately, we get a response within the day. We love the customer support—it’s head and shoulders above what anybody else has to offer,” Mr. Pennell emphasizes.
“We rely on Design Master for a lot more than just time savings,” laughs Mr. Pennell. “It has removed us from the age of apes and taken us back into human times.”