Using a quick-connect power solution gives you maximum efficiency and flexibility
When you’re building your space, it’s easy to get excited about how it will look. Finally get rid of that ancient carpet. Open things up for some natural light. Get new interactive tech in your meeting space. It’s less exciting to think about how to get electricity to that new big-screen monitor in the board room. But how you power up your space is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during construction. It really impacts your bottom line.
At DIRTT, we do get excited about that stuff. That’s how we found a better way to handle your power requirements. For the client, the user experience is the same. For the team that’s installing the electrical system, it’s a game changer. It’s quick-connect power.
How does quick-connect power work?
It works just like it sounds. Like any DIRTT solution, we harness the efficiency of off-site construction to seriously compress installation time. Let’s break it down.
When you’re installing conventional power, electricians bring wires out of the breaker box. From there wires either go through the gap between the ceiling and the roof known as the plenum or they run it under a raised floor system. Then, when wall studs go up, the power is roughed in before adding drywall. Wires are secured to the studs and then connected to the wall boxes. It looks a bit like this.
Just installing a single conventional wall box takes more than 10 minutes. Then the gyprock is put in place, holes are cut to access the power, the faceplates are put on and you’re finally ready to go. It’s time consuming and messy. But people have been doing it that way for years.
With quick-connect DIRTT power, cables run from the breaker box through the plenum or access floor. Then it’s connected conventionally to a zone box. The zone box has four quick-connect ports pre-wired into it. And this makes all the difference. It acts as the transition point from conventional to modular power. Extender cables can be quickly attached to these ports to provide power to the wall box outlet using a splitter.
All we have to do is lay the wiring down and the floor tiles go right on top of it. We just click it together and it’s done. It’s a pretty quick and simple process.Scott McCormick, KR Lamming Electric
It snaps together instantly and doesn’t require any extra wiring. Extender cables are pre-measured and, in the case of our walls, pre-installed in our factories with computer-assisted precision. The zone boxes are pre-shipped ahead of cabling and installed first. So, when DIRTT wall frames arrive on site they are powered up with one click.
All DIRTT Power is prefabricated in factories that are Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA) listed. That means the solutions arrive on-site ready to snap it together. Compare that with conventional methods and its easy to see how this can save on installation time. And anyone in construction will tell you that time is money.
Because the walls come with the electrical in it, it's basically what we call a plug-and-play now. We have zone boxes and then we just plug them in. So, we were able to save electrical costs.Gordon Cottle, Johnson Project Solutions, Inc.
By using DIRTT quick-connect power, you can drastically reduce your labor costs. Speed of assembly is engineered into DIRTT Power solutions. This also helps deal with the X factor. You know, that time when a project gets held up because something didn’t go the way it should have. That creates a situation where one trade is waiting for another. The last thing you want is an electrical contractor waiting around at $80/hour or more doing nothing. Those costs add up. Because DIRTT Power comes pre-assembled, this isn’t an issue.
Numbers don’t lie
Let’s look at a side-by-side comparison. Here’s the scenario. One project. Built across two buildings. Seven floors. For a total of 165,000 square feet. The cost of installing DIRTT’s quick-connect power was $625,378. Doing the same build using conventional electrical was $739,722. Just so you don’t have to grab your calculator, DIRTT saved the company $114,000. Obviously, cost will vary from project to project based on design choices, site conditions and an array of other factors. But this case is representative of what DIRTT Power is capable of.
Those are impressive numbers. What they don’t show is that DIRTT’s total also includes $163,152.55 for a DIRTT access floor that the space previously didn’t have. The more expensive conventional option didn’t include that. This access floor creates a three-inch space below everyone’s feet that allows power and network connections to run unseen through the floor. Out of the way, but easy to get to. It’s a powerful tool when it comes to building a flexible office. Which brings us to the other thing that those numbers don’t show. Day-two savings. DIRTT quick-connect power is less expensive during construction and can help you save in the long run too.
Future-proof your space
When DIRTT installs power, zone boxes are distributed every 30 feet. This makes change easy since you don’t need to run power all the way from your breaker box. And let’s be clear, you don’t need an access floor to do this. All DIRTT Power solutions are flexible and can be run through the plenum. If you need to add an outlet, a workstation or a whole new room, your space will be ready.
Imagine this scenario. You have to add a power outlet to a room. On a conventional build, to run a power line from the breaker box all the way out to the new outlet. You have to cut into the drywall. Then mount the outlet. Then rebuild the wall. Mud. Sand. Repeat. Paint. Clean. That room is essentially out of commission for two days. Minimum.
With DIRTT you can pop off the wall panel, add pre-wired quick-connect power at the zone box and mount the outlet. Then you can router a new hole in the DIRTT wall panel. And because the panel pops off quickly you don’t have to do it in the space. It’s cleaner. It’s faster. It’s done in a few hours.
This translates to long term savings and easy maintenance for years to come. Big picture: when compared to conventional power, DIRTT is on average 20% cheaper, installs 60% faster and is 100% flexible.
Take a closer look at projects that were able to fully leverage the power of, well, DIRTT Power. To get students back to school, Avila University renovated their learning commons over the course of a single summer. To maintain productivity, DIRTT powered up 300 workstations for DaBella in just four days.
Still want more? Check out our deep dive on DIRTT network solutions.
DIRTT Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors. Each space is tailored to our clients' needs. Manufacturing facilities are located in Phoenix, Savannah and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 construction partners globally. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.