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Neil Hayden, commercial manager at the ECA, outlines the development of the Designgenie concept, its market strategy and how it can help provide a design solution for electrical designers and contractors – and at the same time lower their operating costs


ith Designgenie, the ECA has launched its own comprehensive design, verification and certification software program, working in

accordance with BS7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations.

What does it offer? In simple terms, Designgenie calculates and documents the design of an electrical installation. ‘Well, that’s not new,’ I hear you say. But the manner in which Designgenie does it, and the genuine claim that one size fits all, gives the electrical designer and contractor an advantage, both in time taken to design an installation and the overall cost of ownership compared to alternative design software. We believe that the Designgenie software

program is the most comprehensive electrical design package presently available in the UK, and that it is a package that you are unlikely to grow out of, regardless of your company’s aspirations.

Designgenie delivers: n Ultimate control over designing any electrical installation;

n No restrictions on the size of the installation and the number of boards that can be used;

n Extensive reporting capability, with the ability to print and customise project reports;

n More than 12,000 protective devices with their characteristics listed within the package;

n The benefit of 20 years of development; and n Works on all operating systems supported by Microsoft.

Background The initial idea for the ECA to develop its own design program was born at the European Association of Electrical Contractors (AIE) meeting in 2007. A discussion between the ECA’s head of the technical department, Giuliano Digilio, and his opposite number in NELFO – the electrical trade organisation in Norway – Terje Hansen, eventually led to a development plan being agreed between both organisations. It took many long hours of negotiations and

discussion eventually to finalise a specification that would meet the many different and diverse

requirements of the UK contractor. Designgenie is based on the very successful and well-proven design package called FEBDOK, originally inspired by a Norwegian engineer and based on the Norwegian FEB electrical standards, at a time when testing and design verification paperwork became mandatory within Norway back in 1991. The product was so successful there that it soon became adopted as the de facto standard. Soon to follow and adopt the program were Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Although slightly different interpretations of the standards existed within each of these nations, the primary standard used as the foundation for the electrical system was the harmonised document (HD) CLC HD 384 (60364)/IEC 60364, as is the UK’s BS7671:2008. ‘The harmonisation of electrical standards for

design and installation within Europe has allowed us to find, develop and to integrate the best of European electrical engineering within the UK, for the benefit of our members,’ says Steve Mitchell – divisional director of services at the ECA.

Development initiatives The first development objective was to set up a working group, made up from a cross-section of members of the ECA power committee. Also included were representatives from all sizes of ECA member companies, both large and small, and leading independent consultants, all of whom had a hand in formulating the specification of the package to meet the rigorous demands of the UK electrical industry. Firstly, to improve the efficiency and speed of the design process, it was felt that a number of additional UK ‘favourite’ protection device manufacturers had to be added to the 12,000 European protective devices listed

Designgenie is the ECA’s own comprehensive design, verification and certification software program


ECA Today September 2011

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