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Radiant designs (hb)

John Ruhnke1
John Ruhnke1 Member Posts: 154
Does Wright Soft do tube layout with a floor plan yet? Someone told me they were working on that.
As to builders and access to clients. I have found that a quality orientated builder who has the clients best interest at heart will let you talk to the homeowner. Usually the builders that don't grant me access are looking for the cheapest quote possible and won't give me the project because, of course I cannot afford to be the cheapest. So I try and weed out the builders. Once you find a quality orienated builder who likes your radiant work hang on to him because they are hard to find.

JR

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Comments

  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Who does yours?

    Contractors - When it comes to heating system design, do you...........

    a) do all or most of your own? If so, what software (if any) works best, in your view.

    b) have a supply house or manufacturer's rep do them for you? Why?

    If you do your own, do you charge a fee for them? All of the time? Do you get any fees upfront?

    If you have someone else do them, do you TRUST them and is there a fee to you for these services?

    When was the last time you received something for free that was worth anything?

    Sorry for all of the questions, but I would like to know how my peers approach this subject. Thanks!

    hb





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    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Canuck
    Canuck Member Posts: 57
    For radiant only

    we use IPEX's software or they will do it for us for free because we're certified installers for their product. I think they charge about CDN$100.00 if a non-certified installer asks for a design. As well, they'll provide layout drawings for free if we have an order in hand - otherwise it's $0.05/sq. ft. for drawings. We don't charge for design as a rule, but we do try to weed out 'tire kickers' so that we're not just spinning ours trying to get a boatload of designs done. 'Yeah - mother and I was thinking 'bout how much a snowmelt from the shack to the outhouse would cost? Could ya put in some extra to warm the seat?' Oh sure - take a number.
  • John Ruhnke1
    John Ruhnke1 Member Posts: 154
    Wirsbo Advanced design Suite, calc plus, visio and word

    Heat Boy,

    I use the Wirsbo design suite for heatloss calculation and design for radiant floors and ceiling. I use calc plus for the heatloss of baseboard convectors and radiators. I then print out the design and heatloss sheets, I draw up the controls on paper using info from the sheets. I then look up wire diagrams and data sheets in my Tekmar books. From there I modify my pencil drawings. Then I Call Mike Miller from Tekmar and go over my modifications, once again I modify things. Then I open Visio on my computer. I then open up a visio technical drawing that uses the same controls that I will use. That way I don't need to start my CAD drawing from scratch. Mike Miller gave me a Tekmar CD ROM with all of the application drawings on it, in visio format. I do two diagrams in CAD, one for piping and one for wiring. Then I type up a estimate and description of the project in microsoft word. I put all the info and tons of more stuff into a binder. It seems like my clients judge the quality of the project by how thick the proposal is. When I bid on a job, I charge by the amount of pages I can stuff into a binder. I can stuff a lot of pages, so naturally I charge a lot!!! The more you charge, the more respect these wealthy clients will have for you. I then see the client and present everything to him. I leave with him the estimate and some company info. I don't leave the design calcs or the drawings unless he gives me a deposit. In that case, I give him everything. On a nice size project it can take two days just to create a proposal.

    John Ruhnke

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  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    Hey Heatboy............

    how bout you?
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Since I'm the one............

    my client will call if there any issues, I would not install anyone else's design. In the beginning, with some tutelage from person(s) I trust I learned as quickly as possible to do my own. It only makes sense that any contractor should get knowed up and start designing their own systems. Like I said, my client isn't going to call anyone but me when issues arise. Keeps the finger pointing to a minimum ;-)

    At the current time, I am using Wirsbo's ADS for strictly radiant projects and Wrightsoft 5.0 for anything else. When the bugs are worked out of 5.8, I will purchase that. I make rather crude drawings with Visio (pictured below) and compile all of that into a manual that my client receives upon final payment for the project.

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    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • leo g_5
    leo g_5 Member Posts: 1
    thermalease

    program, of which i am certified to use. i do not do a heatloss to get the project. usually, i will "spec" it, based on square footage, putting into my proposal, that if A-Aaardvark is hired to do the job, then a complete heatloss and consultation will be done with the builder and homeowner. depending upon what the final layout is chosen through these consults, the price could go up or down from the proposal. that way i do get paid for my designing time.
  • Mi39ke_2
    Mi39ke_2 Member Posts: 61
    Wrighty, HV+ Weighty

    heatboy,

    Just bought the new Wrightsoft and the HV module as well. The neat thing...it runs separate to 5.0.xx, so you have two pieces of software to work with. Take your time learning the new one, while still using the old for day to day work. I believe you can convert the 5.0 to 5.8, but can't convert back (don't quote me on this). The new Manual J8 adds quite a bit, and the freakin' load meter is pretty nifty--instantaneous feedback-wise. On the radiant side, they've added staple-up--oh boy! [g]

    Also, with the PE version, you can install a BE version which is a tiny little piece of software that does minimal stuff for minimal jobs--lots of fun to play with! I'm thinking it could be useful for those who are doing whole-house quickie calculations for replacement sizing.

    As far as selling designs, I don't think I want to do that kind of thing if I'm not installing it. We have to get paid for our design work...so we simply have to educate people on the amount of work we do for a quote in their best interest, and charge them for the quote. Selling them the design is creepy, IMO, as I can imagine my competition sending people to me to buy designs, so they can become more self-sufficient and not be tied to the wholesale house. Just my paranoid POV, of course. [g]

    Based on past jobs, we try and qualify the people with square footage costs and will spend an hour working up an "idea" for them. We have to give them the benefit of our experience, which sometimes overwhelms them I'm afraid, but sure does weed out the tire-kickers.

    In other words... we're still working on the process, definitely not dumbing down the stuff we do, in fact, making it more complicated, as we show the consumer all the data and different ideas that can be explored on their behalf. Usually, once they understand how complicated a simple quote in their best interest can be, they are either interested in working with us or not. Then they can walk down the path to someone else's simplistic sermon if they like. I'd rather spend three hours talking than 10 hours preparing something that might not be in client's best interest.

    Here's a good benchmark: If they can't understand how much work goes into a good proposal, they probably aren't smart enough to appreciate your work and efforts anyway--send them on their way.

    Of course, these ideas on procedures are primarily for real custom projects...the cookie cutter stuff is different.

    And what about builders who want quotes and won't let you have access to their clients? [g]

    Just current thoughts...

    Mi39ke
  • Mi39ke_2
    Mi39ke_2 Member Posts: 61
    As far as I know...

    Wrightsoft doesn't have the instantaneous tube layout capability or even something on the order of working with VISIO.

    I hope they added some extra floors to the program, because if you choose one radiant floor type, it often means you are taking up two floor choices, as not all the floor is covered, typically. Hard to design larger and more varied projects with only 4 or 6 floor combinations possible.

    Mi39ke
  • Joel_3
    Joel_3 Member Posts: 166


    Those drawings are impressive. i'd like to get into that software and make that kind of thing as a finale drawing for clients after we finish the work . i wouldn't us it in a proposal though . they could give it to some shmuck plumber who would then take it to a supply house and say "I want to do this". Course it still probably would't work or look the way I pioctured i t but that doesn"t matter when you don't get the job right? I have a big photo book and say "Mrs. Jones your job will look like this one" Since i got burned years ago I try not to give them more info than i have too.

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  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    That's an easy one, Joel.

    Unless you are collecting your design fee upfront, "All drawing and load calculations are the intellectual property of Joel Boucher". You can still show them all pertinent information, it just leaves the property with you until an aggreement is signed. JMO.

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    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    Qualified buiders...

    Interesting approaches. We gladly provide a builder a price, after we run him thru the "pre-qualified" conditions. Usually they're just shopping, but occaisionally we meet a builder with similar approaches. Many will say they are within our budget guidelines, but will say anything to get a quote. We reserve the right to review other bids, if we go thru the hoops. Or we charge for the design, if we feel it's appropriate. Since the homeowner is ultimately our client, it's important to get in the loop. If it's just not possible, we minimize our estimating and proposal writing time, knowing it's "high-hanging" fruit. Still, we give the proposals our best shot. Submittals and design or heat loss calcs are part of the actual project documentation, and not included in the RFP. At this point in time,m most of our best projects are referral-based. Having to depend on plan spec bidding would not be an interest ART would ever pursue. Yukk!

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  • Mi39ke_2
    Mi39ke_2 Member Posts: 61
    I like the...

    reserving the right to peruse the other bids, bit. Without proper consumer input, it is really not possible to perform properly in a truly custom project, IMO. When a consumer commits to big bucks, they should have some serious input or have a serious proxy in close orbit. Builders just don't cut it, typically. JMHO.

    Well, maybe I should state that I often have a -20 outside design temperature to deal with as well. [chuckle] I'm sure the higher ODT people have things a little easier. -- Mi39ke
  • Boilerpro
    Boilerpro Member Posts: 410
    That's the line that is going to go into nearly all my contracts

    Was just talking to my carpenter a few days ago. He figured out how to save thousands on a project and put together a proposal. The owners took his ideas, had another contractor bid it, and he lost the job and all the time he spent working out the details. Some folks simply have no ethics.

    Boilerpro
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    I'm not sure it has as much to do..................

    with ethics as professionalism. Early on, I use to do all of the legwork then present my case and leave the documentation. I have since learned some hard and expensive lessons. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! Does anyone believe a professional architect, landscape designer, interior designer, etc. would ever work for free let alone give information away? I think not. Why do we, me included, insist on doing the dumbest thing I can think of as a trade. Give away knowledge and then get beat over the head with it. Because we need the job? All we really have to sell is our time. I pose this question to all of us. How much is our time worth? Mine?...........Priceless.

    hb

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    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,656
    design temps

    are 28F. in Seattle, but none the less, the competition is intense and not any easier because of the temperate climate. Since very few projects commit to intelligent mechanical design before bid, the "designs" and pricing are all over the map. It makes more sense to establish an inside track or accept the reduced chance of closing a sale.

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  • John Felciano
    John Felciano Member Posts: 411
    Design

    We do all our design work in-house.I just couldn't stand trusting the supply house or the manufacturer.I want to be able to tweak it up,move things around and know everything is going to be right.

    As far as programs I use mostly Wirsbo's now, before that it was Stadlers software.

    I haven't started collecting a design fee yet,but I do prequalify my customers first.So far it's been working out very well.

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