PUBLISHER Andrea E. Klee
EDITOR—PRINT Julie H. Mazur
EDITOR—DIGITAL Timothy Johnson
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Matt Kraus
EDI TORIAL/MULTIMEDIA ASSIS TAN T Hannah Fullmer
BUSINESS/PRODUC TION MANAGER Dominique M. Minor
CIRCULATION MANAGER Astra J. Hudson/
Astra Benjamin-Hudson Consulting
ART DIREC TION Paul Philpott/Bono Tom Studio Inc.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY & U TILI T Y BUSINESS Chuck Ross
ARC FLASH SAFE T Y Jim Phillips
BUSINESS William Atkinson
CODE Jim Dollard
CODE Michael Johnston
CODE Charles R. Miller
CODE Mark C. Ode
ESTIMATING Stephen Carr
FIBER OPTICS & CABLING Jim Hayes
FIRE/LIFE SAFE T Y S YS TEMS Wayne D. Moore
LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS Thomas P. Hammerberg
LEGAL Gerard W. Ittig
LIGHTING Craig DiLouie
POWER QUALIT Y Richard P. Bingham
RESIDENTIAL David E. Shapiro
SAFETY Joe O’Connor & Tom O’Connor
SECURITY Deborah L. O’Mara
SERVICE/MAINTENANCE Andrew P. McCoy & Fred Sargent
TECHNOLOGY Jim Romeo
TOOLS Jeff Griffin
YOUR BUSINESS Denise Norberg-Johnson
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CHIEF EXECU TIVE OFFICER John M. Grau
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VICE PRESIDEN T AND COO Daniel G. Walter
EDITOR’S EYE BY TIMOTHY JOHNSON AND JULIE H. MAZUR
Don’t Wait to Figure It Out
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU PUT A GENERAL CONTRACTOR,
a half-dozen subcontractors and an owner on a construction site without anyone
talking to each other? Delays and preventable expenses.
We’re not laughing either, because it isn’t a joke.
This is our collaborative building issue, and it’s our annual opportunity to
convince electrical contractors to approach the table to make their voices heard.
There’s design/build, design/assist, integrated project delivery, and so on and
so forth, but along with all of these new-age-y terms for building stuff, the construction industry faces a cultural desire to get hands dirty and figure it out in
But there’s a better way. The construction industry is notorious for having
small margins. At a recent conference in Philadelphia, hosted by JBKnowledge,
we learned that only 37 percent of a worker’s time is actually spent working.
Therefore, productivity is a problem. How can we use our workforce’s time
better and minimize preventable costs?
Building information modeling (BIM) is one way. But technology presents an
obstacle in learning curves, and BIM is no different. In “Lay of the Land,” page
22, Susan Casey introduces us to contractors that have overcome this challenge
and successfully deployed BIM.
At the JBKnowledge conference, we heard an anecdote about a contractor
who used the “candy bar method” to encourage his employees. This contractor would embed an image of R2-D2 in the BIM plans every day, and the first
employee to find it would get a candy bar. By simply exposing his people to the
software, they built a familiarity, and it became easier to overcome the learning-curve obstacle.
This month, we present some other topics that may come with their own
learning curves. Chuck Ross, our Alternative Energy and Utility Business columnist, educates us about making net-zero energy work on the community level.
“Scaling up Net Zero” is on page 32. Jeff Gavin provides examples of ECs that
have married high and low voltage in “Changing the Voltage Game,” page 42. In
“Grid Intelligence,” Claire Swedberg writes about utilities that are developing
specific solutions to modernize their grids. That’s on page 54.
Whatever you do, don’t disregard an upfront investment that might save
money in the long run. Often, technological investments pay for
themselves quickly by enabling you to avoid direct and
indirect costs. You may not even know how much figuring it out in the field could cost you until you find
a conflict that requires reordering materials, rework
and schedule delays, which can eat up a lot of money
and build resentment with the other trades.
You know, the people you should be
*You win, but we ran out of candy bars.