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Mission Critical Facilities

Complying with NFPA 110 in mission critical facilities is a requirement.

Consulting engineers must consider the implications of combining emergency, legally required, and optional standby systems to ensure code compliance, maintainability, and economics.

Brian Martin, PE, and Jeremy Taylor, PE, CH2M

09/09/2015 Reported in CSE Magazine

Learning objectives

  • Interpret the requirements of NFPA 110 and NFPA 70.
  • Describe how to design mission critical facilities to meet these NFPA requirements.
  • Identify potential alternative designs to meet the intent of NFPA 110.

Design engineers have many factors to consider when designing a backup system for a facility. Safety, maintainability, code compliance, and economics play crucial roles in determining the topology of a backup system for a critical facility. In large facilities where electrical system downtime results in significant economic loss, a backup power system usually is employed. Owners frequently desire to use their backup systems to support their emergency and legally required standby loads. Due to the requirements of NFPA 110-2013: Standard for Emergency and Standby Power Systems, and NFPA 70-2014: National Electrical Code (NEC), the design engineer must carefully consider the implications of combining emergency, legally required, and optional standby systems to ensure code compliance with maintainability and economics in mind.

NFPA 110 provides requirements, but is not meant to be a design guide. The annexes provide example topologies that meet the intent of the standard, but these examples do not address the complexities of designing a system for a large facility with multiple system types.

NFPA 110 defines terms used throughout this article. NFPA 110-3.3.3 defines the electrical power source for the emergency power system as the emergency power supply (EPS). This includes the actual generator, turbine, or other source producing the power used by the system. NFPA 110-3.3.4 defines the emergency power supply system (EPSS) as the distribution system from the EPS to the load terminals of the transfer equipment. NFPA 110-4.4 defines two levels of EPSSs. Level 1 is defined as “where failure of the equipment to perform could result in loss of human life or serious injuries.” Level 2 is defined as “where failure of the EPSS to perform is less critical to human life and safety.” There are numerous articles that further discuss the code requirements and implications of NFPA 110 and its relationship with other codes. As such, this article does not focus on the details of NFPA 110 definitions. Instead, it concentrates on ways to meet NFPA 110 and 70 while providing the owner with a system that meets expectations.

Major challenges to meeting NFPA 110

The first major challenge to meeting the requirements of NFPA 110 is properly defining system levels. This requires careful evaluation of the loads you are serving and coordination with your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). According to Annex A.4.4.1, “Level 1 systems are intended to automatically supply illumination or power, or both, to critical areas and equipment … Essential electrical systems can provide power for the following essential functions: life safety illumination, fire detection and alarm systems, elevators, fire pumps, public safety communications systems, industrial processes where current interruption would produce serious life safety or health hazards, and essential ventilating and smoke removal systems.” Some jurisdictions have interpreted the text of this annex to mean that any electrical system that includes these types of loads is a Level 1 system.

The next significant challenge to meeting NFPA 110 is fuel storage requirements. According to Annex A.4.2, 96 hr of fuel may be required in certain seismic zones. In summary, “Where the seismic design category is C, D, E, or F, as determined in accordance with ASCE/SEI 7: Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, the EPS supplying a Level 1 EPSS should be capable of a minimum 96 hr of operation without refueling if it is determined that EPS operation is necessary for this period.” This is a change from the 2010 standard where the 96-hr fuel requirement was called out explicitly in the body of NFPA 110. Some jurisdictions have interpreted this as a requirement to provide 96 hr of fuel any time you have a Level 1 system in a high seismic zone.

In addition, Section 5.5.3 requires that the main fuel tank carry 133% of the fuel required to meet the class requirements of the EPSS. In other words, if you require 20,000 gal of fuel to run a large generator for 96 hr, you must actually store 26,600 gal of fuel. In a large facility with large generator sets, these two requirements can result in hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel storage. In addition to the obvious cost and real estate issues with this requirement, fuel recirculation and stabilization quickly becomes an issue.

Another challenge to NFPA 110 compliance is serving the relatively small code-required loads in a mission critical facility such as a data center. A data center is certainly a major example of mission critical facilities that have spawned publications and organizations to support them, but there are other types of mission critical facilities. Other examples of mission critical systems are those that support research where the failure can result in millions of dollars of loss, or response centers where power failure could hinder the response of a company to a crisis. Based on NFPA definitions, mission critical loads are generally classified as optional standby loads. Despite the fact that these types of loads are not life safety loads, in the owner’s perception, they are no less critical to maintain. As such, the electrical distribution that supports them can be as robust, and many times are more robust than the Level 1 EPSS that supports life safety loads.

Finally, it can be challenging to economically scale NFPA 110 on a large system for a large system load. The examples given in Annex B of NFPA 110 are well-suited for applications lower than 600 Vac (see Figure 1). Large power systems are typically designed at system voltages of 12 kV and higher. Large loads will lead you toward system designs that include medium-voltage transfers. This may not meet the requirements of section 6.1.6, which states that only “medium-voltage transfer of central plant or mechanical equipment not including life safety, emergency, or critical branch loads shall be permitted.”

TheEngineersResource.com reports that critical facilities are designed by consulting engineers and recommends that engineers consider this complex and interesting career choice.

To learn about consulting engineering see the new book The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

What is consulting engineering? Click Here.”

Is Consulting Engineering right for you? “Click Here

 

 

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Arc Flash Injuries

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Magazine (EC&M )recently reported that there are five primary factors that determine the severity of an injury from an electrical arc:

  • Distance from the arc
  • Absorption coefficient of the clothing worn
  • Arc temperature
  • Arc duration
  • Arc length

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these items so you can better understand how to protect your workers or yourself.

By James White, Shermco Industries | Electrical Construction and Maintenance

White is director of training for Shermco Industries in Irving, Texas. He can be reached at jrwhite@shermco.com.

Distance from the Arc

The heat of an electrical arc is referred to as the “incident energy.” This is because the heat is made up of the radiated heat (infrared) and convection heat (heat flow through air). Incident energy decreases by the inverse square of the distance as a person moves away from an arc source. A simpler way to state this is that as a person moves away from an arc, the heat will decrease rapidly. This aspect is critical to understanding how to protect oneself from an arc.

Body position is a primary factor to consider when performing energized work. A person should stand as far from the device as practical, while still being able to perform the work effectively. Standing closer than necessary will increase the incident energy that person will receive if there is an arc flash event.

If incident energy decreases by the inverse square of the distance moving away from an arc source, it will increase by the square of the distance as the distance decreases. It only takes a small change in the distance to make a large change in the incident energy. The standard working distance for work on systems operating at less than 600V is typically 18 in., while 2.4kV to 15kV power systems typically have a 36 in. working distance.

Absorption Coefficient of Clothing Worn

The type and fabric weight of clothing being worn affects the heat that is transferred to the body. NFPA 70E recommends wearing either flammable, non-melting clothing as underlayers (cotton, wool, or silk) or arc-rated underlayers for additional protection. The general rule of thumb is that each layer of clothing worn under arc-rated clothing reduces the heat to the body by approximately 50%. Flammable underlayers do not increase the arc rating of a clothing system, but will reduce the probability of a burn underneath arc-rated clothing.

Arc Temperature

The temperature of an electrical arc is mostly determined by the megawatts of power being consumed by the arc. Megawatts (watts x 1,000,000) is a tremendous amount of energy. A 3-phase, 480V fault with 50,000A of short circuit current will consume 23MW of power. The heat from an electrical arc vaporized the copper in this circuit breaker.

Arc Duration

Keeping overcurrent protective devices calibrated reduces the duration of the arc. The arc duration is the second most-critical injury factor in an arc flash event. Incident energy is proportional to time. If a person is exposed to an arc flash for 0.08 sec, they would receive twice the incident energy as an arc of the same magnitude that lasted 0.04 sec. This is why the NFPA 70E Technical Committee added Sec. 205.4 to the standard, which states: “Overcurrent protective devices shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions or industry consensus standards.”

Poorly maintained circuit breakers and other overcurrent protective devices (OCPDs) are unreliable. If an OCPD malfunctions, it will increase the time it takes to clear and extinguish the fault. NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, and ANSI/NETA MTS-2015, Standard for Maintenance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems, should also be consulted to develop an acceptable maintenance program.

Arc Length

The arc length becomes a factor at higher voltages (i.e., greater than 600V). It has been demonstrated that with all other factors being the same a longer arc creates more incident energy than a shorter arc. Low-voltage power systems less than 208 V cannot normally sustain an electrical arc, as arc resistance causes a voltage drop of approximately 75V per inch to 100V per inch. Even though high-voltage electrical systems present the greatest risk of an arc, low-voltage systems can also suffer catastrophic failures.

Case Study

The following Forensic Engineering “Case Study” was Excerpted from The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

This accident occurred when two electricians were servicing a fan motor. They discovered a blown fuse in a 480-volt motor control center (a freestanding enclosure containing both fused switches and motor starters). They installed new fuses, closed the compartment door, tightened the screws holding the door and closed the switch. An arc-fault occurred in the compartment, which blew the door off, injuring both electricians; one had third degree burns over 50 percent of his body. Both electricians were covered by “workman’s compensation insurance,” so could not sue their employer. The more severely injured man sued the manufacturer of the motor control center. We were hired by his attorney to investigate.

First we spent a lot of time looking through two big boxes of paperwork. Next we did online research on the switchgear manufactures website and on the website of Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Then we visited the site, examined the switchgear, and interviewed both electricians.

We observed that the spacing of the bus bars (live parts) within the enclosure appeared to be minimal and later compared this spacing to the details of other manufacturers of the same type of equipment, which confirmed our observation. We found numerous testing reports of the model switch at issue and all ended in failures. We could not find any reports of switches that passed. However, we did assume that it likely passed some test, because it was UL listed. We pointed out these findings in a verbal report to our attorney-client.

Our “very happy” attorney-client called us two weeks later to tell us the case had settled. You don’t necessarily need to testify to provide a valuable service.

Add “Forensic Engineering” to your Consulting Engineering practice.

 

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The Highest Electrical Engineer Salaries

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Magazine (EC&M) recently reported the five US states that offer the highest electrical engineer salaries.

  1. Washington

Hourly mean wage: $49.40

Annual mean wage: $102,750

  1. District of Columbia

Hourly mean wage: $49.64

Annual mean wage: $103,260

  1. Massachusetts

Hourly mean wage: $49.84

Annual mean wage: $103,660

  1. Alaska

Hourly mean wage: $53.63

Annual mean wage: $111,540

  1. California

Hourly mean wage: $55.16

Annual mean wage: $114,730

If you’re an electrical engineer interested in making your way to the top of the pay scale, California’s apparently the place to be. As it was in the year before, the Golden State topped the list for highest paying states in the country for electrical engineers, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Occupational Employment and Wages Study from May 2014). Let’s take a look at the rankings in descending order.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate for various disciplines throughout all US states in US Dollars:

         SPECIALTY                  ENTRY           5 – 10 Yrs.             10-20 Yrs.              20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $64,000 $94,000 $126,000 $154,000
Mechanical Engineers $62,000 $90,000 $121,000 $148,000
Civil Engineers $55,000 $81,000 $108,000 $131,000

 

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

 

 

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The Solar Revolution

 of BloombergBusiness reports that the renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That’s according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 2040.

Here are some massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:

1. Solar Prices Keep Crashing

The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher.

Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance.

2. Solar Billions Become Solar Trillions

With solar power so cheap, investments will surge. Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide. Here’s how that looks on a chart, with solar appropriately dressed in yellow and fossil fuels in pernicious gray:

Electricity capacity additions, in gigawatts
Source: BNEF


3. The Revolution Will Be Decentralized

The biggest solar revolution will take place on rooftops. High electricity prices and cheap residential battery storage will make small-scale rooftop solar ever more attractive, driving a 17-fold increase in installations. By 2040, rooftop solar will be cheaper than electricity from the grid in every major economy, and almost 13 percent of electricity worldwide will be generated from small-scale solar systems.

$2.2 Trillion Goes to Rooftops by 2040

Rooftop (small-scale) solar in yellow. Renewables account for about two-thirds of investment over the next 25 years.

 

4. Global Demand Slows

Yes, the world is inundated with mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and air conditioners. But growth in demand for electricity is slowing. The reason: efficiency. To cram huge amounts of processing power into pocket-sized gadgets, engineers have had to focus on how to keep those gadgets from overheating. That’s meant huge advances in energy efficiency. Switching to an LED light bulb, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by more than 80 percent.

So even as people rise from poverty to middle class faster than ever, BNEF predicts that global electricity consumption will remain relatively flat. In the next 25 years, global demand will grow about 1.8 percent a year, compared with 3 percent a year from 1990 to 2012. In wealthy OECD countries, power demand will actually decline.

This watercolor chart compares economic growth to energy efficiency. Each color represents a country or region. As economies get richer, growth requires less power.

The Beauty of Efficiency

Source: BNEF

 

5. Natural Gas Burns Briefly

Natural gas won’t become the oft-idealized “bridge fuel” that transitions the world from coal to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The U.S. fracking boom will help bring global prices down some, but few countries outside the U.S. will replace coal plants with natural gas. Instead, developing countries will often opt for some combination of coal, gas, and renewables.

Even in the fracking-rich U.S., wind power will be cheaper than building new gas plants by 2023, and utility-scale solar will be cheaper than gas by 2036.

Fossil fuels aren’t going to suddenly disappear. They’ll retain a 44 percent share of total electricity generation in 2040 (down from two thirds today), much of which will come from legacy plants that are cheaper to run than shut down. Developing countries will be responsible for 99 percent of new coal plants and 86 percent of new gas-fired plants between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Coal is clearly on its way out, but in developing countries that need to add capacity quickly, coal-power additions will be roughly equivalent to utility-scale solar.

Source: BNEF

To learn about consulting engineering, get the new book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING by John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer with over 35 years of experience as a consulting engineer. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

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TOP 10 ELECTRICAL DESIGN FIRMS

 

It’s time to unveil EC&M’s highly anticipated Top 40 electrical design firms list for 2015, ranked specifically by electrical design revenue earned in 2014. Due to the ongoing economic recovery, many of the nation’s Top 40 firms are posting revenue gains, pursuing new work, and rapidly expanding their teams. As a group, respondents posted total electrical design revenues in 2014 of $1.68 billion, which is down slightly from $1.808 billion in 2013 and up from $1.348 in 2012.

As these key players expand operations by opening new branch offices, one trend emerged in this year’s survey data. More than two-thirds of respondents reported facing a labor shortage of engineers, identifying the three most difficult positions to fill as staff engineers, design engineers, and project engineers. To find out more about the driving forces behind these firms’ successes, details on what solidifies their position as leaders in the industry, hot and cold markets, and key trends shaping the business climate this year, look for the full 2015 Top 40 Electrical Design Firms Special Report.

The original research EC&M conducts on behalf of the Top 40 article each year has become an invaluable resource for consultants, manufacturers, and electrical design and contracting firms, making it an EC&M institution readers wait for every year.

TOP THREE

No. 1 — Burns & McDonnell

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of nearly 5,200 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants, and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. It strives to create amazing success for its clients and amazing careers for its employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned and is proud to be No. 15 on FORTUNE’s 2015 List of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

www.burnsmcd.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $617.4 million

No. 2 — Stantec, Inc.

The Stantec community unites more than 13,000 employees working in more than 200 locations. The company, headquartered in Edmonton, Canada, collaborates across disciplines and industries to bring buildings, energy and resource, and infrastructure projects to life. Its work — professional consulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics — begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships.

www.stantec.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $202.7 million

No. 3 — CH2M

CH2M helps to lay the foundation for human progress by turning challenge into opportunity. The company takes on its clients’ most complex infrastructure and natural resource challenges, and solves them in new ways. CH2M works in the water, transportation, energy, environment, and industrial markets, with gross revenues of US $5.5 billion. It has 25,000 employees around the world who are passionate about improving the communities where they live and work.  The culture is based on respect, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, and it’s grounded in the core priorities of ethics, safety, sustainability, and corporate citizenship.

www.ch2m.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $146.8 million

OTHERS:

No. 4 — Tetra Tech, Inc. www.tetratech.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $130 million

No. 5 — Stanley Consultants www.stanleyconsultants.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $71.5 million

No. 6 — Mesa Associates, Inc. www.mesainc.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $58 million

No. 7 — Commonwealth Associates, Inc. www.cai-engr.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $33.5 million

No. 8 — Henderson Engineers, Inc. www.hei-eng.com/

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $30.4 million

No. 9 — Affiliated Engineers, Inc. www.aeieng.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $25.4 million

No. 10 — M-E Engineers www.me-engineers.com

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $21.6 million

To learn about consulting engineering, get the new book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING by John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer with over 35 years of experience as a consulting engineer. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

 

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Reasons to choose engineering

A flexible career path and positive job outlook are among the benefits of pursuing job in engineering. Reported in an article in “Consulting – Specifying Engineer Magazine”.

Sonny K. Siu, PE, PMP, Jacobs-Kling Stubbins, San Francisco

10/16/2013

A major milestone in every young person’s life is choosing how to spend the rest of his or her professional life. Based on personal experience, here are five reasons I think high school students should apply to engineering programs.

  1. Large selection of engineering paths gives career flexibility.

Entering an engineering program opens the door to multiple branches of engineering. Many schools require the student to complete a general first-year curriculum (math, science, English, and computer skills) before moving forward in an engineering specialty. This allows the student to explore and firm up his or her engineering interest. A typical college may have the following engineering majors: aeronautics and astronautics, agricultural, biological and food processing, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, construction, electrical, environmental and ecological, materials, mechanical, and nuclear.

All engineering majors lead to careers in sub-disciplines. The IEEE lists 38 technical societies related to electrical engineering alone.

  1. Engineering occupations are high-paying.

In a recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) The Editor’s Desk (TED) report, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) occupations were classified as high-paying. The mean annual wage for all STEM occupations was $77,880; only 4 of the 97 STEM occupations were below the U.S. average of $43,460. The highest paying STEM occupations of $100,000 include managerial, petroleum engineers, and physicists. The BLS reports that civil engineers made $77,506/year (2010) or $37.29/hour, mechanical engineers made $77,560/year (2012) or $38.74/hour, and electrical engineers made $87,920/year (2012) or $42.27/hour. The Bachelor of Science degree is the entry-level education requirement.

The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)’s 2013 Engineering Income and Salary Survey reported that the average income of respondents was $95,420. The range from engineer level I through VIII was $55,500 to $156,000.

  1. Engineers’ job outlook is positive.

The BLS’s June 15, 2011, TED report indicated that technical jobs in STEM represented approximately 6% of U.S. employment (nearly 8 million jobs). The largest STEM occupations were computer support specialists, computer systems analysts, and computer software engineers; each had employment of approximately 500,000.

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook projects positive job growth from 2010 to 2020. Employment for civil engineers is expected to grow 19% from 262,800 to 313,900; mechanical engineers is expected to grow 9% from 243,000 to 264,500; and electrical engineers is expected to grow 6% from 294,000 to 311,600.

  1. Engineers’ work is fun.

Civil engineers plan, design, construct, and manage physical infrastructure such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, transportation systems, wastewater treatment systems, coastal and ocean facilities, and public works. Mechanical engineers apply principles of mechanics, dynamics, and energy transfer to the design and analysis of complex buildings and to the testing and manufacture of machines, engines, power generating equipment, vehicles, artificial components for the human body, and other products. Electrical engineers apply engineering concepts to power generation, transmission, and distribution of power. At the building infrastructure level this includes standby generators, transformers, switchgear, protective devices, and uninterruptible power supplies.

  1. Engineering work is challenging.

Engineers work in a professional environment where there is an opportunity to learn and grow through on-the-job and formal training using the most up-to-date technologies. There will never be a shortage of new challenges, as engineers are constantly faced with having to adapt solutions and change technology to move with the trends and needs.

Based on the above reasons, if any young person has strong STEM aptitudes, has completed the STEM coursework, and has a desire to work in problem solving and help the world, entering the engineering program is the right choice as a means to a better life economically, job satisfaction, and a good career.

Sonny K. Siu is a senior electrical engineer at Jacobs-KlingStubbins. He has been in the engineering business for more than 30 years. His elder son received his PhD in mechanical engineering controls (robotics) from UC Berkeley in May 2013, and his younger son just began at UCLA in electrical engineering.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate in US Dollars:

SPECIALTY   ENTRY  5-10 Yrs.  10-20 Yrs.  20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $64,000 $94,000 $126,000 $154,000
Mechanical Engineers $62,000 $90,000 $121,000 $148,000
Civil Engineers $55,000 $81,000 $108,000 $131,000

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

 

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Consulting Engineering Salaries in Canada

 

 Engineering Legacies reported that starting salaries for engineers and technologists in the consulting engineering industry vary from province to province and will also depend on the state of the economy in each province at the time.

There are also variances between urban and rural locations, and between firms that specialize in different types of work.  Some of the provincial consulting engineering associations and professional engineering registration bodies carry out salary surveys, and you may be able to access information by contacting them directly.

For the most part, well-qualified professional engineers or certified technologists in the consulting engineering sector are compensated equally well as, and often better than, other professions, particularly if they have:

  • achieved a reputation for their specialized knowledge;
  • risen to a senior management role;
  • invested in an ownership position in the firm for which they work; or
  • if they are prepared to relocate to work on projects in remote locations, domestically or internationally.

As an engineering or technologist student considering a career in consulting engineering, or as a graduate engineer who might be weighing the options between entering consulting engineering and taking a second degree, you should take many factors into consideration, but salary should not be one of them. It might be true that a graduate engineer entering the workforce typically earns less than a graduate lawyer. However, by the time a law student graduates, the engineer already has several years’ working experience, and will often be earning as much or more than the graduate lawyer.  Firms that offer consulting engineering services contribute to the social, environmental and economic quality of life in Canada and around the world, and offer the kind of challenges and rewards, financial and otherwise, that other professions cannot.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate in Canadian Dollars:

SPECIALTY   ENTRY  5 10 Yrs.  10-20 Yrs.  20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $76,000 $110,000 $148,000 $181,000
Mechanical Engineers $70,000 $102,000 $137,000 $167,000
Civil Engineers $60,000 $88,000 $118,000 $143,000

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at http://www.TheEngineersResource.com. Use discount code “paperback” and save.

 

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Engineering Colleges & Universities Guide to Accreditation

Engineering is a branch of applied science that uses mathematics, science and technology to solve problems. Students in an engineering program are trained to understand the mechanics of buildings and machines so that they can design and build functional tools, systems and structures. Any engineering concentration will require you to take many science and mathematics classes, so you should be an analytical and logical thinker if you want to study this field. Engineers also innovate new products, so you must be able to think in unconventional ways too. You can study engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but keep in mind that you generally need only a bachelor’s degree to become an engineer. As reported by AoC.org (AccreditedOnlineColleges.org.)

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Engineering offers science, mathematics and liberal arts classes that are designed to give you a broad education. The BA is a good choice if you want to gain skills in the humanities as well as engineering.

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering has science and mathematics classes that are designed to give you a strong technical background. The BS is a good choice if you want to work as an engineer as soon as you finish your coursework.

Credit hours/length of study: 120-130 credit hours (4-5 years)

Coursework: The exact courses that you take for your bachelor’s degree in engineering depend on the type of program that you pursue. If you choose to earn a degree in general engineering, you will take a core curriculum that includes classes like mechanics, digital logic, physics, materials science and control systems. You will also take mathematics classes like calculus, differential equations and algebra. But if you choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in a concentration of engineering, your classes will be tailored to that area. For example, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering will also require you to take classes about fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. And a degree in aerospace engineering requires you to take classes like avionics systems, propulsion and flight mechanics.

Employment prospects: www.TheEngineersResource.com recommends reading the new book The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING to find out more about being a Professional Engineer in private practice is exciting and challenging. Learn what is common to all engineering “specialties,” such as building your reputation, finding and keeping clients, calculating lucrative fees, promoting new work, being selected over your competition, and managing your engineering practice profitably.

Learn the answers to your most compelling questions about consulting engineering:

  • Is it the right career choice for you? Consider what this fascinating profession entails and how it will change your life.
  • Do you want to have your own engineering firm? If so, you will learn the step-by-step procedures to make it happen.
  • Would you like to be able to predict your first year’s income and expenses? You will discover how to prepare a Business Plan.
  • Do you know how to calculate the best fee quote for each project? Learn the “insider” secrets to winning quotes that will make your projects profitable.
  • Do you want to become known in the engineering community and develop an impressive list of contacts, achievements, and awards? Learn how easy it is and how you can do it.
  • Do you want to be considered an “expert” in your specialty? If so, learn how to become a published author and how gratifying it can be to see your words in print.
  • Do you want to be part of an exceptional engineering practice? If so, you will learn how to make, both you and your firm, “outstanding.”
  • Would you like to more than “double” your firm’s selection rate for projects? Learn how to prepare the best marketing materials and implement effective marketing methods.
  • Would you like to add a “specialty” that allows you to charge one and one-half to two times your normal hourly rate. If so, consider the profitable and fascinating field of “forensic engineering.”
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Engineering Licensing

The Professional Engineering (PE) license is a coveted professional credential that will grant you increased pay and job opportunities. Since applicants are required to have at least four years of supervised work experience prior to taking the PE exam, hiring managers for engineering firms immediately favor license holders because they know they already have a solid base of expertise and a college degree.

Even so, very few working engineers are professionally licensed. This is due to the arduous application standards as well as state and NCEES exceptions that enable engineers to practice, as long as they remain under the supervision of a licensed professional. By earning your PE credential, you can distinguish your portfolio and resume from other applicants and you will be able to take on more job responsibilities like accepting government contracts, becoming a principal at a design firm, stamping and sealing designs or working for yourself as a consultant. If you think an engineering career is right for you, then plan to prepare for the PE right after you graduate from college.

The path to PE licensure is rigorous and starts while you are in an ABET-accredited college with the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, after which you will need to get work experience and pass the Professional Engineering exam.

Reciprocity

Most states allow reciprocity between states, which means you can transfer your professional credentials no matter where you live as long as you have an ABET-accredited degree. This is a crucial caveat because the ABET’s standards are the scale by which all state boards and consumers measure the professionalism and worth of engineers and engineering firms. If you do not have an ABET-accredited degree, you will likely have to reapply for licensure if you move to another state.

Continuing Education

You must participate in continuing education to maintain your P.E. credential. Continuing education standards are dictated by state boards instead of the NCEES, so determine the requirements in your location after passing the PE exam. A number of activities can qualify for continuing education credits, depending on your location; for example, in Alaska, continuing education credit is awarded for publishing an academic paper pertaining to engineering or completing semester and quarter-long courses in subjects related to engineering, such as public safety or health.

After earning your license, you should review your state’s requirements for continuing education and professional development in order to avoid having your licensed revoked or voided.

Employment Prospects

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Learn the answers to your most compelling questions about consulting engineering:

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The Dream Employers for Engineering Grads.

 

 

Jacquelyn Smith

 

Jacquelyn Smith

FORBES STAFF

If it has to do with leadership, jobs, or careers, I’m on it. FULL BIO

Global research and advisory firm Universum recently culled its data to find the 100 most attractive employers for engineering students. How?They asked 9,770 undergraduate engineering majors in the U.S. to select the companies they would consider working for and then to identify their ideal employer. Almost one-fifth (19.4%) chose NASA, making it the No. 1 “most attractive” employer for engineering students.

Continue reading The Dream Employers for Engineering Grads.