Vol. 1 No. 12

October 2006

- Calling all Community Contractors!
- 2006 NECA Show Wrap-Up
- Canadian Company Aims to Build a Better Light Bulb
- Construction Begins on The Home Depot 'Smarthome'
- New Online Resources
- Accubid Releases Version 2 of cadLive
- Coming Events
- Your November/December Electrical Business



At Electrical Business, we believe it's important to be a part of the community in which you live and work. That's why we're inviting readers from across the country to get in touch with us and let us know how they participate in their communities.

Whether you sponsor a soccer team, give lessons at the local college, sponsor career days, or what have you... let us know! Your submissions will be featured in an upcoming issue of Electrical Business, as well as E-Line: Your Industry News Broadcast!


There's just something about a trade show involving hundreds of exhibitors and dozens of educational sessions that makes my mouth water: such was the scene at the 2006 NECA Show in Boston, Mass. The show and convention of the National Electrical Contractors Association has become the premier expo for the electrical, power and cabling industry south of the border, and Electrical Business was there to check it out. (For photos from the show, check out the Online Gallery by clicking here.

Education sessions
The NECA Show comprises two components: trade show and educational sessions. They had quite a line-up of sessions, most of which were very informative. One of the more interesting sessions I checked out was Flat Rate Service Pricing, presented by Tom Glavinich of the University of Kansas. Tom is a proponent of this system, arguing that if plumbers can do it, why not electricians? (Of course, he limits this argument to electrical contractors [ECs] involved mainly in residential and light commercial work.)

As such, Tom suggests implementing a plan whereby you establish standard prices for standard tasks. As your workforce goes out into the world and completes jobs based on T&M, keep track of what materials they're using and how long it takes them to complete the work. Based on these numbers (which are collected and analyzed over time), you will be able to determine how much it costs you to send out a worker to, say, install a ceiling fan in a bedroom.

This way, when a customer calls about a job, like the installation of a ceiling fan, your office staff can ask them some questions about the home involved, then say: "The price is $X.xx", rather than, "Well, we need to send a guy over to look at your house, then we need to draw up a work order, then he'll come back and, depending on how long it takes, we will charge anywhere from $X.xx to $XX.xx". Furthermore, your electrician will be able to bill the customer on the spot and get paid on the spot, reducing time back at the office processing paperwork.

Of course, you need to be detailed in your analysis of standard tasks before implementing a flat rate system, and it goes without saying that you need to continuously monitor the rates (taking into account the costs of labour, vehicles, tools, overhead and materials) to ensure you're still making money. Done correctly, you'll be able to reduce costs by streamlining a number of your operations while making your customers happier with the experience.

Trade show
Trade shows can be a great way to see all the latest products and services without having to pick up and flip through a single catalogue. What I liked about NECA's trade show is they set aside a separate room, called the New and Featured Product Room, for displaying some of the newest and coolest things on the market. Here are some of my picks:

The WireGuard reusable electrical box cover was invented by electrician J.T. Smith who, after 30 years in the construction business, decided it was time to do something about the mess that insulators, drywallers and painters leave behind. Drywallers can cut and slice wires when they make openings for the electrical boxes, while the marks on wires can get painted over, making it hard to tell which wire is which. Hence WireGuard, which is inserted into each box before drywall installation. These protective inserts are made of 18-ga steel and, most importantly, reusable. Just take them out when your work is done and they're ready for the next site. Visit them here.

One particularly neat product is the Ramset T3SS gas-powered fastening system, which gives you a new way to fasten to concrete, hollow block, pan deck and steel/pan deck - without the needing to change power levels or colour loads. The T3SS is a complete fastening system, including a variety of preassembled fasteners, clips, washered pins and threaded studs. The tool is light, quieter than powder-actuated systems and, most importantly, requires no licence to operate. Visit them here.

It only makes sense that Rand McNally, the road atlas people, should come to market with GPS Navigator, a complete personal navigation system that's simple enough for everyone to use. This product comes complete with preloaded maps of Canada and the United States, and is about a full inch thinner than many GPS devices in its class. If you miss a turn, Navigator performs automatic rerouting, while the Go Home button directs the driver from any location. Among its many other features are multi-stop route planning and mileage calculator. Visit them here.

Hubbell Wiring Systems has boldly entered the residential market with the launch of its homeSELECT electrical wiring devices and netSELECT communications, data and structured wiring products. This residential product launch represents the largest single product development program in the company's history. The launch includes standard and decorator style receptacles and switches, GFCIs, lighting controls, wallplates and weather-resistant covers, lamp holders, electrical accessories, residential delivery systems, VDV products and structured wiring systems. There's so much to see, so be sure to check them out here.


The quest to build a better light bulb took a big leap forward with the news that a Canadian solid-state lighting technology will be developed, the result of which could lead to a light bulb that uses 90% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and lasts 20 years. The announcement was made by Group IV Semiconductor Inc., Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and EnCana Corp.

Group IV's approach is to pass an electrical current through silicon to produce light. The lighting project is a three-year, $9.1-million initiative led by Group IV. Along with its partners (SDTC and EnCana), Group IV plans to further develop the technology and demonstrate its application in commercially viable lighting products. SDTC has confirmed $2.1 million of funding for the project. EnCana has confirmed $2.5 million, while Group IV has leveraged the remaining $4.5 million from other sources, including McMaster University.


Imagine a college dormitory that touts more A/V equipment than most theatres, runs on electricity generated by solar panels and is protected with biometric security. This unique living experience will become a reality for 10 students of Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering.

Along with a certain ubiquitous DIY giant, the university is creating The Home Depot 'Smarthome', a residential laboratory where students will research and develop innovative solutions for the home in areas such as security and home monitoring, communications, energy efficiency, entertainment, environment and health.

The Smarthome will be dedicated to the study of technology that enhances energy efficiency, automation, quality of life, safety and environmental sustainability, says Kristina M. Johnson, dean of the Pratt School. "We also hope to transfer what we learn to homeowners who want to incorporate smart technology into their own homes."

Tom Rose, the house's director, says embedded sensors in the house will deliver information in real time, "making the house feel like a living organism". Many of the dorm's systems, such as wire and pipe, will be accessible using nothing more than a screwdriver, thereby simplifying installations and maintenance. Among the features are solar panels that track the sun throughout the day, increasing their efficiency by more than 100%.

Construction has begun on the 6000-sf house, with completion expected by Fall 2007. It has been designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building standards. The Home Depot's sponsorship is valued at an estimated $2 million USD in cash and in-kind donations over a three-year period to cover the cost of dorm construction. Click here to learn more.


A new, free video on Panasonic Security Systems' website gives you a complete tour of the company's new product offerings as unveiled at ASIS 2006 (the annual show of the American Society for Industrial Security). While at the site, visitors can check out information about vertical markets and application examples, as well as the company's entire video surveillance product line. To download the video, click here. (Note: you will be asked to provide information about yourself before being allowed to download the video. The Windows Media Player video is roughly 32MB [zipped file] while the QuickTime version is about 51MB [also zipped].

Fluke Networks Canada has launched a redesigned website that includes a Solutions Center, which provides relevant technology information on current topics, organized the way a networking professional would approach a problem. You will notice an improved search tool that renders results by category, including technical documentation, software downloads and more. A task-based Product Finder and a product-based Product Compare tool are also designed to help you access information in a variety of ways.
Visit Fluke Networks Canada.

Prescolite, a division of Hubbell Lighting Inc., has also launched a new website to make it easier for you to find the product you need. Since different people prefer different approaches, the site offers five ways of searching for products. Each product comes with complete information, including literature, .IES photometry files and installation instructions.

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) is offering over 100 manufacturer product training courses through the NAED Learning Center (NLC), which are available free to NAED members. Click here to view a list of available courses (choose "Manufacturer Product Training" under Category). Training activity is tracked on the learner's NLC training transcript.


Accubid has released version 2 of cadLive, its next-generation CAD-based takeoff tool for contractors. The software offers some exciting new features, such as: full support for Accubid Estimating 7 and AutoCad 2007; access to all database components, including specialized takeoffs; the ability to build and edit all job assembly components within cadLive; and improved sorting, grouping and filtering capabilities. cadLive allows you to produce faster and more accurate takeoffs, which are automatically incorporated into your Accubid estimate, and is fully integrated with Accubid estimating solutions


Grounding and Bonding Electrical Systems
Les Stoch (L. Stoch and Associates) for Dalhousie University
October 31-November 1, Vancouver
November 2-3, Calgary
November 14-15, Winnipeg
November 20-21, Mississauga, Ont.
Call Sheila Gallagher at (800) 565-1179 or Les Stoch at (905) 828-2262

VDV Network Cabling Systems Inspection
Mississauga Training Consultants
November 6-8, Mississauga, Ont.
December 4-6, Mississauga, Ont.
Call (905) 785-8012 or e-mail mrfiber@canada.com

Communications Systems & EMI
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 7, Edmonton
December 5, Winnipeg
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

Grounding & Bonding of Electrical Equipment
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 8, Edmonton
December 6, Winnipeg
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

Design, Installation & Maintenance of Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Locations
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 9-10, Edmonton
November 27-28, Sarnia, Ont.
December 13-14, Vancouver, B.C.
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

Grounding - Bonding - Harmonics - Electrical Noise
Mississauga Training Consultants
November 9, Mississauga, Ont.
Call (905) 785-8012 or e-mail mrfiber@canada.com

Static Grounding: One Spark, One Chance
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 10, Hamilton, Ont.
December 15, Sarnia, Ont.
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
November 11-13
Washington, D.C.
Visit www.nema.org

Canadian Electrical Code 2006 Essentials
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 13-14, Calgary, Alta.
November 23-24, Vancouver
November 30-December 1, Halifax
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

APPrO 2006: The 18th Annual Canadian Power Conference & Trade Show
Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO)
November 14-15
Toronto, Ont.
Visit www.appro.org

NEC/CEC: A Comparison of Requirements
Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
November 15-16, Calgary, Alta.
December 7-8, Winnipeg
December 11-12, Vancouver, B.C.
Visit http://learningcentre.csa.ca

Lighting Essentials
Sylvania Lightpoint Course
November 20-21
Mississauga, Ont.
Visit www.sylvania.com

Ontario Electrical Safety Code
Les Stoch (L. Stoch and Associates) for Dalhousie University
November 28-29, Ottawa
December 5-6, Mississauga
Call Sheila Gallagher at (800) 565-1179 or Les Stoch at (905) 828-2262

Want to see YOUR EVENT listed here?
Send information to the Editor at
acapkun@clbmedia.ca or fax (905) 727-0017.


In your November/December 2006 Electrical Business, we're very excited and pleased to present our special showcase entitled "Excellence in Technology". This special showcase brings you the latest information from our industry partners that will help you propel your business relationships and capabilities to the next level. Every item in this showcase focuses on how technological excellence can help distinguish you from the competition.

Also in your Nov/Dec edition, we'll have the latest in VDV technologies and products, news from Atlantic Canada, and so much more. Don't forget that along with your copy of Electrical Business, you'll be mailed the Bluebook: The Source Directory for all things electrical, as well as your 12-month wall calendar!

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CLB Media Inc., 2006. You may forward and reproduce this e-Newsletter without modification, provided that you include this copyright notice and the above-mentioned disclaimer.