Granlund Joensuu - Electrical design is all about information management and modelling

Electrical design is all about information management and modelling – CADMATIC Electrical serves a variety of projects from a hospital complex to industrial design

Granlund Joensuu is a leading building technology expert in the North Karelia economic region. The operations include building technology engineering design and property management services, such as HVAC, electrical and building automation design and control, as well as energy consulting. Customers include hospitals, healthcare institutions, the public sector, service companies, industrial plants, construction companies and housing companies.

The phone call is picked up by a man who is happy. Project manager at Granlund, Risto Kuosmanen usually works in an office in Joensuu but now he is on assignment in Central Finland and responsible for the electrical design and supervision of a new supermarket. Kuosmanen graduated from the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences JAMK in 2015 with a degree in electrical and automation technology, and with a background as a mechanic, it has been easy for him to find attractive work ever since. “I did work for the field during my studies, too,” he notes. 

A breakthrough in the modelling culture

Risto Kuosmanen Granlund Joensuu Oy

When Kuosmanen began work at Granlund, the design-by-modelling method had been in use for years. “But by force, when the clients insisted,” he says, referring to electrical design in particular. “In five years the situation has almost completely changed. We now model nearly every project even when the client does not request modelling. The modern way to perceive and coordinate mechanical building services engineering is by modelling, and we want to utilize the benefits of modelling within the company, too.”

Attitude and tools make the difference

We have waited for electrical engineers to fall in love with modelling for at least a decade. Why is it happening now? “I can see two reasons,” Risto Kuosmanen says. “First of all, there are now young designers out there who do not feel the weight of tradition and old practices on their shoulders. Secondly, the tools are now good enough to create the building information model as a by-product of the normal design routine without an extra effort. The tool we use is CADMATIC Electrical, and its design environment is such that modelling easily becomes second nature to a designer.”

Match the tool to the task

The benefits of modelling depend on the project. 

“Although modelling with CADMATIC Electrical is easy and efficient, it is not to be taken at face value. For example with hospitals, which we have designed in Joensuu, modelling is key. There is an enormous amount of building engineering involved, including data systems, equipment, laboratories and cleanrooms – anything you can imagine to embed in a building. It would be impossible to design this type of project other than by modelling. Moreover, thanks to modelling, the client is able to better estimate how well the premises will match their final purpose,” Kuosmanen explains.

“In industrial projects, the significance of modelling is decreasing and the requirements for documentation and information management are increasing respectively,” Kuosmanen says and presents an example. “The contents of an electrical substation were renewed in Porvoo. An area of 100 sq. m. full of 50-year-old technology needed revamping, including new instrumentation, cabling, consoles and alarm control panels. Most of the design consisted of circuit diagrams for the new instrumentation, and in addition, lists of cables and warning signs, heating diagrams, connections to the plant automation systems, and so on. There is very little modelling involved in a project like this, but CADMATIC’s database and reporting features proved unparalleled for it. Thousands of pages of documents were produced, but it all stayed in control thanks to the centralized editing and reporting of lables and titles for each circuit diagram page.”

Everyone is telecommuting in 2020

Risto Kuosmanen like many other engineers is used to telecommuting every now and then, but in 2020 the concept was given a whole new meaning. Suddenly working remotely became the new normal – for better and for worse. “The benefits include napping on the sofa when stuck with the project,” Kuosmanen says, laughing. “The downside is not having a colleague nearby with whom to chat.” The design environment in itself works fine despite the location, Kuosmanen says. “The SQL Server database solution used by CADMATIC has proven to be worth its weight in gold this year. Large drawing files and models open quickly, and tons of documents can be accessed by all telecommuters in equal terms. This year has been an acid-test for the methods of decentralized project work, and they seem to have passed the test.”

Learn by experience and vice versa

When Kuosmanen started work at Granlund, the age difference between him and the company’s second youngest electrical designer was 12 years. Now the situation is different, and young people bring along knowledge of the latest design methods as well as new ideas. Combined with the insight of the more experienced designers they create winning teams. “The most important task of a young designer is to act humble and bold at the same. It is important to respect experience but also to introduce one’s own ideas – particularly if they involve a more effective way of working. Innovation is very much in need to make work and our entire field of work more attractive,” Risto Kuosmanen says.

Continuous learning activates the mind

Learning new is the best part of working with electrical engineering according to Kuosmanen. “My best feeling comes from inventing a new way of utilizing CADMATIC. There is always a new feature to find. One of the greatest aspects of the software is regular cooperation with its developers; I come up with a question and send it to CADMATIC support, and they send me back a string of code to test in practice. That is awesome!”

Kuosmanen says he has been given plenty of opportunities to develop and move on in his career at Granlund. “Challenges are given to those who want them. The best thing is that they really can be conquered. If the work and the tools did not develop, people would soon go numb. Fortunately this has not happened,” Risto Kuosmanen says.