"the M-factor"
published quarterly by McKay/Moore
Construction Cost Control Consultants (WBE)

Editor's Note:
As we go to press with this issue, we have just passed our two-year anniversary as an independent estimating firm, and will soon commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Bruce McKay. I know Bruce would be gratified that the company is healthy and growing as we approach Y2K.

Feature Article:

by Ron Angeline, PE

Estimating Electrical Systems

There are many situations in which it is advantageous to use a professional who is an engineer to do estimating. Though our emphasis in the following article is electrical, this is true of other disciplines as well.

NEC requirements:

Many design drawing packages are provided to estimators as final construction drawings but they are incomplete. It is what is missing from drawings that is detected by an experienced electrical engineer/estimator, who is able to foresee and identify future problem areas even if the missing data are not included in a bid proposal. An experienced electrical estimator that knows the NEC can identify code violations as well as "overlooked" errors and omissions.

New emphasis on power quality (i.e. for computers - fiber optics- data transmission - VSDs):

Heating effects of "zero sequence" currents can cause degradation in power quality and reliability. Surges, sags (drop in voltage), and swells in voltages can also cause system and equipment failures with electrical equipment that previously was thought to be fairly trouble free. Such things as transformers, panels, and feeders can and do fail for these reasons.

The electrical engineer/estimator should be able to identify some of these problem areas. Failures in the use of computers in most offices cause unnecessary down time. These failures are even more costly in the process industry.

The advent of CAD:

It is falsely assumed that CAD operators are conversant and knowledgeable in all disciplines - this may or may not be true - all the more necessary to have an engineer. Somehow, it is assumed with a CAD drawing that an engineer either has done the design or supervised it. Unfortunately, this is not true in all too many cases.

Design build/conflict of interest:

There is a trend towards the design build concept using an entity (usually a contractor) for both phases. The system of checks and balances does not work very well under these conditions. Where does the estimator even fit into this scenario except as an after-the-fact observer or mediator? The owner should have an interest in an estimator that can give an independent view of the project and be involved from concept through drawings.

A design build project may be designed to optimize the build profit potential rather than good design priorities. How does this benefit the owner?

General disregard for detail:

This is a trend in today's design. An experienced engineer/estimator will alert the owner to the failure of design details - if he or she is involved.

Public interest in safe design:

This is just as important as any other aspect of a design package.
Optimizing by design build may not keep the safety factor as a priority.


McKay/Moore Broadens Consultant Base,
Expands Estimating Capabilities

In our ongoing effort to offer our clients quality cost control services,

McKay/Moore continually attempts to establish "connections" with experienced professionals in all fields of construction. Last issue, we introduced you to Steve Smith (SMQS), who has strong expertise in mechanical systems.

This issue, we would like you to meet Ron Angeline, whose firm ANGELINE specializes in technical/engineering services including estimating electrical systemsand construction management.

R.L. ("Ron") Angeline & Associates

Professionals in Engineering

ANGELINE was established 20 years ago by engineer Ron Angeline to provide quality technical/ engineering support services and highly skilled contract engineering professionals ("engineers on call"). Ron has a long history of providing such services, particularly electrical cost estimating/cost control support, to

McKay/Moore 's founding partners Bruce McKay and Pat Moore since the early eighties.

As Ron points out, "Once upon a time,...engineers took jobs for life: 40 years of steady work, then retirement. Today's engineers are more mobile, and the need for their services is more varied. That's where we come in." ANGELINE sends contract professionals on temporary assignment, from two weeks to two years, in the client's office or on a job site. ANGELINE has mechanical, structural, civil and electrical, plus environmental and software engineers, along with architects, estimators, planners, schedulers, construction managers, drafters, CAD operators, and more, including licensed engineers. ANGELINE experience includes both new and renovation work on a wide range of commercial, industrial, and institutional projects with value from $10,000 to $200,000,000.

Many highly trained Construction Managers work at ANGELINE. Most have CM degrees as well as 15 to 40 years' experience as engineers and construction supervisors. CMs ensure owners of the three fundamentals of every project: quality, cost, and schedule. This is essential in low-bid, fixed-price contracts, where change orders in design or construction can create needless delays, cost overruns, and friction between owner and contractor. Ron points out that "on large projects, CM can cost less than 1% of the construction. Considering the things that can go wrong, that's a bargain. Many owners think of CM fees as a kind of insurance premium, protecting their building project against failures of schedule, cost, and quality."


is pleased to have Ron's firm as an ongoing resource to support our efforts to provide experienced professional cost support to our clients. Ron's expertise in electrical engineering/estimating in particular will strengthen our ability to offer strong cost control services for all disciplines of a construction project.

Basic Electrical Terminology:

Source: http://www.elec-toolbox.com/basicdef.htm

Demand Factor

- For an electrical system or feeder circuit, this is a ratio of the amount of connected load (in KVA or amperes) that will be operating at the same time to the total amount of connected load on the circuit. An 80% demand factor, for instance, indicates that only 80% of the connected load on a circuit will ever be operating at the same time. Conductor capacity can be based on that amount of load.


- A circuit, such as conductors in conduit or a busway run, which carries a large block of power from the service equipment to a sub-feeder panel or a branch circuit panel or to some point at which the block power is broken into smaller circuits.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)

- A device intended for the protection of personnel that functions to de-energize a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds some predetermined value that is less than required to operate the overcurrent protection device of the supply circuit.


- A single panel or group of panel units designed for assembly in the form of a single panel: includes buses and may come with or without switches and/or automatic overcurrent protective devices for the control of light, heat, or power circuits of individual as well as aggregate capacity. It is designed to be placed in a cabinet or cutout box that is in or against a wall or partition and is accessible only from the front.


- A large single panel, frame, or assembly of panels having switches, overcurrent, and other protective devices, buses, and usually instruments mounted on the face or back or both. Switchboards are generally accessible from the rear and from the front and are not intended to be installed in cabinets.

Voltage Drop

- The loss of voltage between the input to a device and the output from a device due to the internal impedance or resistance of the device. In all electrical systems, the conductors should be sized so that the voltage drop never exceeds 3% for power, heating, and lighting loads or combinations of these. Furthermore, the maximum total voltage drop for conductors for feeders and branch circuits combined should never exceed 5%.

Electrical Systems WWW links:

Directory of Organizations Relating to the Electrical Power Industry: http://www.electricnet.com/orgs.shtml

Electrical Wiring FAQ: http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet-faqs/html/electrical-wiring/part1/faq.html

Seattle City Light: http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/light/conserve/ELEC$.HTM

University of Washington EE Site Index for Electrical Engineering: http://www.ee.washington.edu/siteindx.html

Electricians Web (voltage drop calculator and standard sizes for panels, fuses and other devices): http://www.cossin.com/page4.html

UL (Underwriters Laboratories): http://www.ul.com/

NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association: http://www.nema.org/

ANSI Online: http://www.ansi.org/

NEC Online: http://www.elec-toolbox.com/nec.htm

Electric Code Links: http://www.codecheck.com/electric_links.htm - wiringsystems

For dozens more links to regulatory agencies, the Department of Energy and other sites relating to electrical issues, go to our website and follow the link to Design and Construction Resources.

Disclaimer: McKay/Moore is not responsible for the accuracy of information or accessibility of any external resource.

Recent Projects

McKay/Moore has completed two construction cost estimates for Central Washington Hospital in 1998: an Obstetrics Department renovation, and most recently, an ICU/CCU Department remodel. We have also just finished an estimate for a small remodel of office space for a local attorney. Our most recent estimate for new construction was a state-funded low-income housing project which will go out to bid this fall.

Bid Results

Projects estimated by McKay/Moore and bid since the beginning of last year have been an average of 4.68% over the low bid.


C O M P U T E R and W W W Hints:

From Sprynet (Internet Service Provider) Community News Vol. 2, #9 (June 12, 1998):

"As we cross into the year 2000, computer malfunctions will occur. Because early programmers used only two digits to represent the year, some hardware and software will be unable to tell the difference between the years 2000 and 1900.

"The Year 2000 Bug (Y2K) probably won't have much of an effect on your individual computer hardware, especially if you're running a late model Mac or Pentium.

"Software is a different matter, and we've already heard reports of problems, particularly with financial management, accounting or database management software. Again, we're restricting our comments here to individual software and personal usage. Corporate networks have Y2K problems of an entirely different magnitude.

"Here's an easy check to make if you use calendar software: check for February, 2000. If it displays the 29th of February, that's a good sign. If not, the software is NOT compliant.

"What do you do then? The best general advice we can give is to go to your software manufacturer's Web site. The manufacturer has the final responsibility for Year 2000 compliance, and most of them are very forthright about what they're doing to make their products and services Y2K-proof.

"Even if your software checks out okay by itself, remember that many software programs have to interact with each other, which may trigger a Y2K fault, especially when cutting and pasting macros, formulas, etc."

See: http://y2k.policyworks.gov/ This site was developed to help Federal agencies check the Y2K compliance of commercial software. It has an excellent, easy-to-use search engine, plus links to thousands of software companies.

Computer Terminology:

Do you know what a Bozo Filter is?*

Go to http://www.pcwebopaedia.com/bozo_filter.htm

for a very complete online encyclopedia and search engine dedicated to computer technology. The site contains links to many sites which provide detailed information and instruction on hundreds of computer and Internet topics.

* A Bozo Filter is a feature supported by many email clients and news readers that enables you to block out messages from specific individuals. The list of addresses that you want to block is called a bozo list or kill file. Bozo filters are one way to reduce flames and spam.

Our Web Site

This newsletter is published on the Web each quarter.


If you have email or a web presence, and would like to be included on our Industry Links Page, please let me know. I will add your listing in our next update. You may also request to have your logo included. Simply email us the file in GIF or JPG format.

Some recent additions to our Links Pages:

Sparling: http://www.sparling.com/

McKinstry Group:

Linda Engstrom, Landscape Design:http://www.teleport.com/~lengstro/index.html

Info on Davis-Bacon Act:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/40/276a.html

...and a change: Art Anderson Associates is now at http://www.artanderson.com/

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