How does one start a Fire Sprinkler contracting business from scratch and in a relatively
short period of time turn it into one of the largest fire sprinkler contracting business in
the nation? SOFTWARE! And not just any software, AutoSPRINK®! I started Desert
Fire protection, renting a one room office from my bookkeeper for $400 a month. Desert
Fire is now installing the fire sprinkler systems for the largest commercial venture in US
history; the twenty million sq.ft. MGM City Center project in Las Vegas. Additionally,
they are simultaneously completing the fire systems for the Fontainebleau &
Cosmopolitan projects the second and third largest projects in the country, totaling well
over $150 million in contracts designed exclusively with AutoSPRINK!
Of course there were additional contributing factors involved other than simply using
AutoSPRINK but I will attest that this level of success could not have been achieved
without it! The program has the unmatched ability to interact and react with all aspects
of the company to greatly improve accuracy, clarity, design and construction production
for bottom line increasing results in all divisions, Sales, Estimating, Fabrication and
Installation. Please take a few minutes here to let me explain!
When I started my own contracting business I had already spent many years in design,
sales and project management. I also had the tremendous opportunity to work with
some of the most successful companies on the East coast as one of the original “GEM”
sprinkler representatives. My interaction with these companies taught me that good
design is the cornerstone of our business and to be “on time every time” was the key to
When I started DFP, computer aided design was just beginning so I encountered the
same situations and problems most of you still face today. I attended the conventions
and exhibitions demonstrating all the latest fire sprinkler design programs that appeared
to perform miracles before my very eyes. I purchased several different programs from
time to time hoping to greatly improve my design production and accuracy. To my
dismay, I found our designers were still stock listing by hand and in some cases using
AutoCAD to draw the systems. The problem was we were designing real world projects
and not the box warehouses used in the demo’s. The so called “automated programs”
produced numerous errors that had to be totally corrected before it would perform
hydraulic calculations or stock listing. It was therefore, easier and faster to just design
with AutoCAD, calculate with a hydraulic program and stock list manually. Not much
has changed even to this day for attribute driven, line based AutoCAD third party
programs. They now do a much better job defining and highlighting errors but none the
less you still have to correct all errors before the program will perform any automation.
I then came across an amazing technology that utilized internally intelligent objects to
represent individual system components, in-lieu of assigning attributes to a simple line.
This allowed any object or element placed in the design drawing to be recognized by
the program and analyzed as a separate entity to perform Hydraulic Calculations, BOM,
Stock Listing, Compliance Checking etc. at any stage of design and regardless of
system connectivity. Moreover, this technology also has the ability to communicate
between elements in the drawing to automatically place couplings, fittings ( with internal
“take outs” to “cut” pipes), Place and “cut” hangers to structural elements and even
automatically correct “errors”.
Pipes drawn close but not quite connected
automatically fuse or “heal” themselves.
The same applies for pipes drawn too short for
fittings to be applied without leaking. Preset
minimum pipe lengths automatically fuse pipes
too short into the adjoining pipe or otherwise
alert the user by displaying a water pattern
(leak) form the fitting or from a non-compatible
fitting or connection.
This same windows based user friendly modeling interface also allows for
instantaneous real time calculations without manual input by simply “dragging” the
remote area anywhere in the system.
View calculation results and real time water delivery graph displays on screen while
doing so. AutoSPRINK®’s capabilities are too numerous to mention here but continue
to amaze and bewilder our competitors (as most are patented). You will soon discover
that AutoSPRINK® is by far the world’s leading fire sprinkler design program in every
aspect. It is light years ahead of all other design programs in technology, speed,
accuracy, ease of use, learning and design information dissemination to approval
agencies and more importantly field crews!
Earlier I stated that AutoSPRINK could also provide positive results in Sales. How is
that possible you might ask? What if I told you AutoSPRINK® was my best negotiating
tool? It’s true, and not for the reasons you
might think, always being on time and
We do attribute this to a lot of our
success but the real negotiating tool is a little
known feature in the Platinum level program
called “Alerts”. It is a built-in conflict
recognition and resolution program that can
detect and resolve all MEP trade conflicts
with structure and with one another in a
single meeting. It does so with the use of a
patent pending process that automatically
creates an exacting replica of the conflicting
3-D entity by moving it in any direction to
“clear” the current conflict. The reflection can
then detect any new conflicts created by the movement over and over until all current
and future clashes are resolved. The feature works on all MEP system trade
components as well as building structural elements. I realize this level of sophistication
is not necessary in most projects and for that reason we offer varying levels of
capability. However, in today’s construction environment there is an ever increasing
demand for 3-D coordination and BIM compliance which MEP CAD has pioneered for
over ten years!
I can honestly tell you that the closure rate was nearly 100% after demonstrating this
capability. We usually received a separate coordination contract to work with the
contractors project team to assist in coordination and scheduling.
I distinctly remember the president of one large mechanical firm stating “Do you mean
to tell me the fire sprinkler contractor is going to run our coordination?” The contractor
replied “That’s correct”. We did not take advantage of this situation and accommodated
most trades by moving piping or routing drop nipple piping around duct work, etc. More
importantly having this information allows for exacting system design to the point of
even precutting, all piping up to and including drop nipples.
The program has even automated this process with its patented “arm-around”
command. Just imagine the labor savings realized by delivering “pre- cut” and
numbered drop nipple bundles corresponding to the delineated design drawings.
Even negotiated projects need pricing and continued change order costing.
AutoPRICER® is without a doubt the most incredible estimating software ever created
for that purpose and much more. If I may say so, estimating and sales is my Forte' and
once you experience the elegant simplicity of this all encompassing program, you will
agree it was built from the ground up by industry savvy leaders and not just
programmers using excel spread sheets.
The same internal intelligent technology can produce the most accurate and concise
estimates in just a fraction of the time with minimal input. Each system component
contains material and labor pricing internally. This allows our users to build complete
“kits” of risers, drains, pump assemblies, anti-freeze loops or typical sprinkler piping
assemblies with pipe, fittings, sprinklers, supports and anything else needed in any
estimate. Stored in the handy on screen parts bin users can drag and drop them
anywhere in the drawing to obtain a comprehensive estimate in minutes.
(From risers and drain assemblies to
complete pump rooms, extra fittings to
sprinkler kits can be placed anywhere in
the design drawing to receive a complete
bill of materials or send all material
selected to AutoPRICER.
Versatile system wizards have the ability to automatically draw complete three
dimensional, grid, tree, loop, in-rack, or standpipe systems. Considering they are also
automatically hydraulically calculated users can determine the most cost effective
design in minutes. Program features, auto-fittings, auto-couplings and auto-hangers
can then be used to place all required system components to finalize system costing.
Tools are also available to generate complete exacting estimates for partial designs.
The program’s built-in Proposal Generator can create detailed MS word proposal
documents, including design criteria by area, point and click, inclusions, exclusions
qualifications, clarifications. It also contains another feature called “Design Transfer”
that keeps track of all relevant information collected during the bidding process ready to
hand over to the design department. Some of its features include, design
specifications, pre-bid meeting notes from contractors, consultants, AHJ’s etc., value
engineering ideas and possible change order implications that equate to bottom line
profit. You can also order it with a built-in simplified estimator specific version of
AutoSPRINK ( built for the back of a napkin guy) with all the functionality listed above.
These estimate drawings can be included as part of the design transfer package to be
given to the design department for a head start with veteran input. In addition all
information including estimate drawings, final design drawings, pricing sheets,
automated estimate guidelines, design transfer information, proposals, pictures, and
stock lists can be kept in one concise electronic file.
Our Stock Listing Program utilizes the same object oriented technology to provide
complete stock lists or a simple bill of materials at any time during the design process
again, regardless of system completeness or connectivity. Any system component can
contain part numbers, colors, required trim kits for totally complete, detailed fabrication
or purchase order lists with literally the push of a button. It also allows various portions
of the system to be listed at separate times without duplications or missing parts.
Again, you can explore much more about AutoLIST® on our site.
AutoPREP is the latest state of the art software to be added to the AutoSPRINK
production system suite of program. It is so new and innovative most of its features are
We all take it for granted having to spend hours preparing and cleaning up complex,
convoluted AutoCAD drawings before they can be used as a background to begin
design. This includes, but is by no means limited to collecting and binding all x-refs,
removing all unnecessary layers, blocks, app-id’s, reg-app’s, duplicated entities,
simplifying text, etc.
With minimal user input AutoPREP can systematically perform all these tasks in a
matter of minutes. Moreover, all subsequent revision drawings can be prepared and
readied with literally the push of a button.
This is due to the programs built-in
memory wizards that
keep track of all
previous user input to perform the same
tasks on any subsequent revision
drawings. It can also run a “compare”
feature that delineates each and every
change or modification in the revised
drawing. It can highlight any additions
and/or deletions such as walls, structure or
text with user defined colors and/or place a
“highlight cloud” around each revision or
revised area. It can also simply isolate just
the revised portions for defining and
tracking changes for redesign evaluation or
automated pricing of change orders. This
will be especially powerful when BIM
becomes a reality.
Moreover, utilizing the program’s batch file capability will allow all these functions to be
performed automatically after hours. The program also has the incredible ability to
interpret structural member labels such as column heights and beam sizes to
automatically create exacting 3-D models from standard 2-D AutoCAD drawings.
AutoPREP is an AutoCAD based program that can be used by General Contractors,
Architects, Engineers, Consultants, Sub-Contractors and anyone that uses AutoCAD.
AutoPREP will be available as an option in our new VR8 release to make AutoCAD
interface with AutoSPRINK® much easier and faster than using AutoCAD itself. This
program will revolutionize design as we know it and could save another 20 to 40 percent
in design time.
“Seldom does an opportunity like this exist to transform your entire organization
into a “State of the art Fire Sprinkler Design and management Machine!”
I would like to take this time to personally thank you for visiting our web-site and
exploring the true future of design that is AutoSPRINK® . I have recently sold Desert
Fire Protection to a highly regarded and competent company, MDU. I’m happy to say I
can now devote the majority of my time pursuing my favorite passion, creating and
improving our state-of-the art software programs.
Again, thank you for your time and I truly hope we can welcome you to our growing
family of design professionals.
My Best Regards,