Engineered Building Systems, Inc. (EBS) is a full-service mechanical, electrical, plumbing and telecommunications design firm based in northern Kentucky. Specializing in commercial facility design, EBS provides services for many types of facilities including mixed-use residential multi-family, office, civic, government/military, education, hospitality, casino, restaurant and retail. In business since 2013, the firm currently has eleven employees.
Paul Sprong, PE, LEED GA, is EBS’s President and CEO. Mr. Sprong has been an avid Design Master Electrical user for over twelve years, since shortly after he entered the profession. “I wouldn’t want to do it any other way,” Mr. Sprong acknowledges.
According to Mr. Sprong, EBS benefits from “… the ease of putting the design information on the drawings, and being able to have everything based on schedules that can easily be standardized or customized, so they become repeatable,” thanks to Design Master. This standardization simplifies meeting the needs of customers who want to standardize on certain fixtures, for example.
“A big part of electrical engineering is load calculations, which are in some ways a bookkeeping exercise,” Mr. Sprong asserts. “Design Master automates that in a way that’s extremely efficient, as well as extremely accurate because it’s based on the codes—so it becomes bombproof.
“When we submit to code officials or plan examiners, justifying the design becomes very easy,” Mr. Sprong emphasizes. “Creation of the panel schedules using Design Master is super quick and efficient, too.”
Mr. Sprong contrasts this with the “pre-Design Master world” where creating panel schedules was the most time-consuming and error-prone part of the work. EBS also derives significant value from “… being able to look at devices and what the loads are on them, so we can quickly check and review a project and verify our sizing.”
“I almost don’t want to say this out loud,” confides Mr. Sprong, “but when Design Master incorporated the Dwelling Unit calculations into the software, they opened a door for us to take what we already saw as our competitive advantage and increase it even more.”
Mr. Sprong continues: “For example, we see lots of multi-family residential construction projects where the design was done by another firm, but it’s over budget because the wires, breakers and panels are all over-designed due to the complexity of the Dwelling Unit calculations. Using Design Master, we can quickly redesign it, and it sails through the permit process and gets built at a cost that’s in line with expectations.”
“When you can do that for a client, your phone’s going to start ringing more often,” Mr. Sprong notes.
“When we started EBS, we wanted staff with field experience,” says Mr. Sprong. “Our first hires on the electrical side were licensed electricians who were estimators and also had project management experience. They had no CAD, drafting or design background at all—but they were running with Design Master after just a few weeks.”
“Design Master was easier to learn than CAD itself,” recalls Jason Rincerle, Project Manager/Designer. “I watched some tutorials but mostly it was hands-on every day, from laying things out all the way to circuiting and setting up panels and single-line drawings.”
Mr. Sprong also remembers a number of occasions where “… there’s been a nuance or issue or code interpretation or whatever where I’ve called Design Master and a day later or even that same day they sent me a patch that addresses the issue so the software works a bit better or incorporates one more handy thing. It’s great when you’ve got that level of input into the software’s development.”
“As an owner, I try to plan how much revenue we can generate in a week or a month or a quarter,” considers Mr. Sprong. “When your software helps you beat those goals, that’s excess profit.
“At EBS we offer an incentive program based on individual job performance. By enabling us to individually and collectively get more done in less time, Design Master has bottom-line value for EBS’s owners and employees as well.
“We’re very glad that we’re able to use Design Master and get so much value from it—it’s a great relationship,” Mr. Sprong adds.