October 2004

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EMAIL INTERVIEW -  Scott Sinclair & Ken Sinclair

Scott SinclairScott Sinclair, P Eng, Owner, President, Sinclair Environmental Solutions

Scott Sinclair is the owner and president of Sinclair Environmental Solutions, a Vancouver based consulting company that specializes in the Implementation and Optimization of DDC automation systems. Through the implementation of energy saving automation strategies, Sinclair Environmental Solutions has successfully improved building operations for many facilities. Scott is a Mechanical Engineer with a background in HVAC systems, as well as a detailed working knowledge of the state of the art automation programming and features that can achieve real energy savings.

Using CtrlSpecBuilder

Ken:  What was your first impression of CtrlSpecBuilder?

Scott:  Sinclair Environmental Solutions recently used CtrlSpecBuilder to prepare specifications for a major control upgrade for four sites for a local municipality. I logged on to the site, and registered as a new consultant to use the system. I was impressed that CtrlSpecBuilder is a free service, that allowed me to create a custom built Word document in the format of the ASHRAE Guideline 13-2000: Specifying Direct Digital Control Systems. I found the system easy to navigate with pull down menus that listed various HVAC systems, and detailed points lists for typical configurations of systems.

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Ken:   What did you like about CtrlSpecBuilder?

Scott:  CtrlSpecBuilder creates a very good structure for a DDC design document in a few hours. The standardized systems are quite complete, with detailed points lists and the ability to convert everything into a Microsoft Word document that can be customized after the basic structure is built. The Website even has a stage that allows you to modify the setpoints and other specific details of a given system before it creates the new document. I found that the Word document needed to be updated in minor ways and modified to suit the needs of my particular projects, though it was very easy to do these modifications once the basic structure was defined. I also found that points lists created by CtrlSpecBuilder could be easily imported into a spreadsheet, so that the points could be counted and modified and linked to pricing estimates.

Ken:   What did you not like about CtrlSpecBuilder?

Scott:   As a specialist in Energy Efficient Design and DDC control systems, I do not use AutoCAD in my business. The schematics created by CtrlSpecBuilder are submitted in AutoCAD formatting, which I could not use easily. I would prefer that these schematic drawings be available in PDF format, so that they could be more accessible to me and my customers. I also would like to have a spreadsheet version of the points lists that are created by CtrlSpecBuilder, using numbers rather than 'X' to indicate the number of points. This would allow the user to modify the points lists, and update the totals instantly. Finally, I found myself wishing that I could select all of the types of systems for a building in one command, rather than returning to the startup menu after each list of variables were updated. It would be great to be able to update the standard list of setpoints for all AHU systems, and have it apply to all new systems.

Ken:    Would you recommend CtrlSpecBuilder to other users?

Scott:   Absolutely, CtrlSpecBuilder is a great tool that allows an engineer to design a DDC system with the latest ASHRAE guidelines with BACnet Protocol within a few hours. I found that some features of the website could be improved, but it is already quite user friendly, and it creates a structure that helps the engineer design a very complete DDC specification.

The website, www.ctrlspecbuilder.com, is a free tool that prepares non-proprietary, custom specifications and follows ASHRAE Guideline 13-2000, Specifying Direct Digital Control Systems, as well as CSI MasterFormat for section 15900. 


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