The tools Elm uses to perform proper layouts

By Tim Rzeszutek

If you been working at Elm for any extended period of time, you’ve probably heard someone say, “It’s all about the layout.”

What does that mean? Best case is someone is talking about some well thought through and organized conduit racks that look like art work, a weekend shutdown wire pull that went off without a hitch where the wire practically pulled itself in, or a service upgrade that required extensive measuring so that the new equipment slid right into place. Hopefully this is the case.

It could also be used sarcastically… when you got lucky and everything came together. I like to think that this is just good karma because you were working hard putting in the effort doing your best to plan every last move.

Finally, it can be used in disgust. You showed up to help someone else out on a weekend shutdown and nothing is planned, the tools or materials needed are not on site and you’re watching thousands of dollars being wasted in inefficiencies. If this is the case, take a minute to compose yourself and use this as a coaching moment. We’ve all been there in some form or another as we were learning on the job. The military special forces personnel have a saying, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Everything they do is well planned step by step.

Another good thing to keep in mind are the 5P’s (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance). There is another version of the 5P’s, but I’ll let your coworkers explain it to you.

The goal of this column is to show you what we have and give you some basic insight as to how it can be utilized. If you have questions or want more information on how you can use the tools listed below, feel free to reach out to us. Self-investing and taking the time to stay up on the latest tools and processes is how Elm has made itself stand out for over 50 years. I can tell you from my own experience that learning something new and seeing it improve our day to day work performance is a great feeling, but teaching it to someone else and watching them take it to the next level is even better.

Now that we have some context as to what, “It’s all about the layout,” means and what the goal of this column is, let’s dive into some the tools that Elm has to help you perform proper layouts. We will do a deeper dive into some of these in upcoming months. Click the headings below to see a video of how these tools work.

Center Point Knockout Layout Tool

  • Perfect conduit layout for punching and standardized conduit spacing
  • A must-have for every journeyman and apprentice

Bluebeam Revu PDF Viewer and markup software

  • By far the most used tool that any foreman, estimator, PM, engineer should be fluent in. This is used all day everyday by our crews to review drawings, measure in drawings, create layouts, create scaled sketches, mark up documents, etc.
  • If you don’t have this you need it and if you have this and you don’t know how to use it, you better dive in and start learning it

Standard Laser Layout tools

  • Excellent for laying out overhead or wall mounted conduit racks
  • Recessed light fixtures in ceilings
  • Setting all your in-wall rough boxes quickly to the same height

Autodesk Revit

  • 3D Modeling software that we use to create models for collaboration on projects with others and to create 2D drawings sets
  • Items created in this model can have their coordinates exported into total station to complete layouts rather than using traditional tape measures
  • Point Cloud files can be imported so that you can model existing conditions
  • All aspects of construction can be modeled in Revit
    • Architectural
    • Structural
    • Mechanical piping
    • Mechanical ductwork
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing

EVOLVE Electrical Add in to Revit

  • Add in software that allows us to draw conduit, cable tray, boxes, electrical equipment, hangers, etc. and detail it out after general routing is approved and signed off on to what we call “manufacturing level details,” which is what we would kick to prefab for fabrication and shipment to the job site

Robotic Total Stations

  • Precise indoor and outdoor conduit stub ups, conduit drops, or conduit wall penetrations
  • Equipment layout on concrete pads
  • Anchor bolt locations
  • Ceiling trapeze hanger layout

Rotary Laser

  • Ideal for underground conduit layout where rigid conduits need to rise out of slab work at the perfect height
  • Pitching drains lines
  • Setting concrete pad heights

GPS Survey Equipment

  • Precise outdoor conduit stub ups, concrete pads, etc.
  • Advantage over total station is the lack of a need for line of sight connection. On a job site there is a lot of moving people and equipment that can slow down layout as they effect your line of site vision with RTS.

Laser Scanners

  • Scan existing indoor or outdoor conditions to create as many pixelated images over the areas you want to capture. Take these pixelated images into a software to do what we call “the registration process,” which blends all these individual images into one master point cloud file. These files then are used to draw existing conditions in 3D software so we can model in conduits, electrical equipment, show renovations, etc. These files are usually brought into Autodesk Revit