Harbor Environmental and Safety, founded in 2007, has fingers in several pies. They consult for environmental and safety compliance and implement monitoring software for the same. They also offer full-service engineering, ranging from civil projects like water- and roadways to MEP for municipal, commercial, and industrial facilities. As vice president and principal of the engineering division, Andrew Rike, PE, oversees much of the electrical and mechanical design work—work that is made faster and easier with Design Master Electrical and HVAC.
In 2011, Andrew was researching tools that could speed up the design of a large equestrian facility. “It was a large enough project that I thought it’d be useful to have a program to customize and automate a lot of the tasks,” he recalls. That search led him to Design Master, which, as he puts it, “did everything I needed for it to do, and it was reasonably priced.” During his free trial period, Andrew found the software to be both powerful and intuitive. After spending a day on the tutorials, he says, “it was a simple task to take the process I’d learned in the tutorial and use it in the real project that I was working on.” Thanks to what he deems “a quick learning curve (a lot quicker than other engineering software that I use),” within a week, he felt comfortable with the software. He also gives some credit to the above-average support: “Y’all were always Johnny-on-the-spot, helping me figure out any issues I had.”
Today, Andrew says with confidence that, “Every project that I’ve used it on, Design Master has saved me time and made it a more profitable project, and has lessened the potential for design errors.” Much of this time-saving comes from being able to carry the definitions for diffusers and equipment connections across projects: “Say we do the same restaurant in a different city. The equipment is typically the same … [and] can be hundreds of pieces of equipment. We just duplicate that, and half the work is done.” His team also makes frequent use of point-by-point photometrics to design lighting layouts for facilities and outdoor sites and has confirmed the accuracy of Design Master’s calculations. After a lighting upgrade project on a facility that now manufactures medical-grade products, they “went out into the field with a detector and, sure enough, it was very accurate.” The star feature for Andrew’s team, however, is Design Master Electrical’s arc-flash capabilities.
Andrew considers arc-flash Design Master’s most profitable feature for his team, in part because few competitors offer the service: “There’s a lot of people that do MEP work [but] not as many people that are doing the arc-flash work. So there’s a good bit of demand for it. Design Master makes that process go a lot more smoothly, and it gives us a level of confidence because we know the program’s keeping up with the current codes.”
Ultimately, Andrew believes Design Master’s power comes from being developed and supported by people who put the engineer’s needs first, which puts it above most other MEP software he’s seen, including offerings from big brands like Autodesk. “You took a lot of care and time to know what the engineers are looking for out of this type of software,” he says. “It’s very engineer-friendly and intuitive.” During a recent arc-flash study, he asked the client’s in-house engineer about collaborating with Design Master Electrical. The engineer said he had looked at it years ago, but complained that it lacked certain features; Andrew told him how much the software has progressed, and that it now includes those features. “So then he got a newer copy of the program,” he says, “And sure enough, he was really happy and excited about it.”