Stroud Engineering started offering civil engineering and surveying services nearly 50 years ago. It has since expanded to include electrical, mechanical, and construction services, and currently employs over 30 staff across three locations. Whether it’s designing commercial buildings, multifamily dwellings, or wastewater projects, if Principal Mike Stroud, PE, LEED AP, and his MEP team are involved, they’re likely using Design Master Electrical and HVAC.
Before their Design Master journey began in 2013, Mike says, “All design calculations were done by hand and the drawing process done separately in Microstation. It was very tedious, even when making simple revisions.”
“We were previously using Microstation to prepare our MEP drawings because that was what our civil engineering team settled on when they first started using CAD,” Mike explains. “It was very cumbersome to use because there weren’t any features that specifically met the needs of the MEP profession.” He started researching solutions online and found the Design Master website, where he downloaded the free trial. He says he looked at other tools, “but there was not anything else on the market that helped so much with the design and the drafting processes. … There was no hesitation once I tried it.”
Mike recalls some growing pains at first but puts most of the blame on needing to learn AutoCAD as well as Design Master: “At the time, I was the only MEP engineer in the company, and no one else in the company had AutoCAD experience. I found the DM features to be fairly user-friendly.” Asked how long it took to feel comfortable using the software, he estimates, “about three months to get the hang of using all of the ‘basic’ functionalities: receptacles, lighting, equipment, and switches. As far as the one-line diagrams and photometric functions, about six months to discover and become fairly proficient in them.”
Now, Mike and his team love how much time they save with Design Master, whether it’s performing sizing and load calculations for HVAC and electrical systems or laying out floor plans and one-line diagrams. “I love the one-line diagram feature and the ability to have a certain level of customization,” he says. “Since we have to put in panels to use them for electrical loads anyway, being able to instantly insert a one-line diagram and customize it to fit our style of one-line diagrams has been an amazing addition to our repertoire.”
In addition to speed, Design Master has also improved their design quality. “[It’s] allowed for accurate, faster, and more thorough quality designs, as well as being able to be more thorough in analysis during projects,” he explains. “Calculation errors are less common.”
Mike recommends Design Master to “any MEP design firm or electrical or HVAC contractor. Whether they focus on electrical, mechanical, or plumbing, Design Master has been able to help us produce a much better product in much less time.”