It wasn’t too long ago that electrical schematics were created the hard way, on drawing boards, with pencils and pen and ink. It was time-consuming, everything was very hands-on and manual, and it was incredibly hard to ensure accurate results.
Fortunately, we’ve seen enormous leaps forward in construction technology, and electrical drawing software is one of the building services industry-specific solutions that are now available.
However, with more and more electrical design software choices on the market, it’s harder than ever to choose the right one for your business and design requirements. As an electrical engineer, having the right electrical design software is critical to ensuring your designs comply with the latest standards.
Electrical design software built to comply with the latest edition of BS 7671 is necessary for any engineer working on electrical systems for UK projects and buildings. It helps to ensure that new designs meet current standards and regulations, and it can also help to ensure that revisions and updates to existing designs comply with BS 7671.
With the right software, engineers can be sure that their designs are up-to-date, safe, and meet the necessary standards.
The need for compliance
Compliance is an important part of any electrical engineering project. It ensures that all the work is done safely and meets the necessary regulations. BS 7671, or the Wiring Reg's as it is also known, is the primary electrical standard in the UK, which specifies the minimum requirements for electrical installation and safety.
It’s also one of the world's most widely used electrical wiring regulations. However, like most construction regulations, BS 7671 changes quite frequently, and staying on top of the most current versions, revisions, additions, and omissions from those standards can seem like a full-time job.
At the same time, because electrical engineers are so instrumental in designing and maintaining the built environment, they need to stay compliant and design with BS 7671 governing all of their designs to ensure the safety of their end users.
Electrical design standards are more than just rules on paper. They need to be met to prevent serious dangers like fire hazards, electrocution risks, property damage and personal injury.
Not only does staying compliant with BS 7671 reduce the likelihood of these risks and help to maintain a safe environment, but it also ensures that engineers meet the legal requirements that come with the job. The last thing anyone wants is to design a building that is unsafe or to be legally liable for injuries, damages or death.
The Benefits of Using BS 7671 Compliant Design Software
There are many ways to complete electrical designs, ranging from the very old-fashioned drawing board and calculator to the most cutting-edge electrical design software and everything in between.
When you are trying to choose the best tools for the job, you might be wondering about the specific benefits of using a BS 7671-compliant electrical design software rather than something simpler. There are several direct benefits that you will gain by choosing a more advanced 3D design software, these include:
- Using advanced electrical drawing software with built-in BS 7671 compliant calculations means you don’t have to look up every standard and regulation or double-check your calculations for errors, saving you time and money during the design process.
- Because you are already working within compliant parameters when creating your design, you can focus on developing the most creative and innovative solutions for your clients and their buildings.
- Modern electrical design software not only has built-in calculation options, but it can also allow you to run digital simulations, so you can test your designs and ideas as you create them.
- Electrical drawing software helps to track versions and revisions,so while you always have the latest version at your fingertips, you can also track revision numbers and dates, so you know when to go back go your version archive.
- Electrical design does not happen in a vacuum, and modern electrical design software makes it easy to collaborate with your broader team, sharing access as needed, keep track and respond to design changes, and exporting data in a variety of forms and formats.
The modern construction world is complex and demanding. At the same time that we are all working to create better, more efficient designs and solutions in shorter timeframes, we’re also being held to higher-than-ever standards. The primary benefit of BS 7671 software is that it allows us to meet and exceed those requirements on every project.
Key Features to Look for In BS 7671 Electrical Drawing Software
There is a huge range of electrical design software options out there, and some of them offer some kind of BS 7671-compliant calculation tools. When you’re looking for the right software for your needs, look for tools that offer the following features.
- Earthing, bonding, and insulation design tools. Ensuring that you choose the right mix of products and materials is essential to ensuring compliance.
- Built-in calculations. Whether it’s conductor sizing, current calculations, or something else, it should be built into the software you choose.
- Digital testing tools. Being able to create realistic digital testing models means you can find any potential faults before they make it into the real world.
- Reporting tools. Being able to export data in a variety of formats makes it easier to develop accompanying specifications and scopes of work.
- Built-in libraries and templates and the ability to create and save your own.
- Compatibility and integration. Electrical engineering and design is not an island, and your team probably needs to share information with various other business units. Software that offers integration with other tools you use means there’s less manual transfer of information, which means less work and greater accuracy.
- Integrated approved manufacturer content. Having access to content approved by manufacturers at the click of a button means you can be assured that the items you're using in your calculations are accurate.
Image: Stabicad for Revit provides electrical design and calculation features according to the latest regulations such as BS 7671 for electrical engineers Source: Trimble Inc.).
In the end, when you’re looking for the right electrical design software for your business, the most important thing is that it solves as many of your current problems as possible. The right software will eliminate the need for clunky, outdated spreadsheets. It will have built-in communication and collaboration options and easy-to-use time-saving tools.
The Importance of BS 7671 Safety in the UK
As much as complying with standards like BS7671 can complicate the electrical design process, increase the cost of projects and slow down the design and approval process, it’s still absolutely critical to building safety in the UK.
Before we had standards like BS 7671, buildings were a lot more prone to fires, people were a lot more likely to be injured or even killed by dangerous electrical installations, and we were all at risk when using electricity in our homes, offices and public buildings.
BS 7671 is constantly evolving to create newer, safer electrical systems in the UK, and that’s a very good thing for all of us. But it does mean that you need electrical design software that is always current with the latest edition of BS 7671 plus amendments.
Trimble MEP electrical design software solutions are designed with BS 7671 at their core. Our team is constantly updating the parameters, calculation engines and design options that are built into the software, so you always have access to the latest version.
Our electrical design tools are designed by electrical design experts, meaning you always have the right tools for the job. So no matter what kind of electrical design tool or platform you need, we can help. Reach out to the team to find out more.