Travis Mack, SET, MFP Design, LLC:
I have been a designer in the sprinkler industry for just over 18 years. I began on AutoCAD r12, then moved to OmniCADD and eventually to HydraCAD for many years. I felt that HydraCAD was the epitomy of sprinkler system design and nothing could ever surpass the tools and ease of use of HydraCAD. However, in April, 2005, I was introduced to the world of 3D fire sprinkler system design utilizing AutoSprink VR4. I took the beginning training session and was able to start working in AutoSprink the following Monday. I will say that at about 6 - 8 weeks, I was at the same level of production volume as compared to 8+ years on HydraCAD. At about the 12 month mark, I would say that my production has increased 200% from what it was utilizing HydraCAD. I have now been using AutoSprink for nearly 30 months and honestly believe that my production is >200% more than HydraCAD. I am sure about that because I still have some customers that require I do drawings in HydraCAD and it definitely takes a signifcantly longer timeframe to do the drawings.
Some of the great features of the AutoSprink program are its calculations and listing programs. The AutoSprink list is the fastest and most accurate listing program I have seen to date. I recently tagged and listed an 80k sq ft school project in about 20 minutes. The list was 100% in agreement with the drawing. Also, the real time calculations make it very easy to calculate multiple areas if needed. Also, changing the piping with the calculations is seamless.
Additionally, with the move toward 3D coordination in the design phase of larger projects, AutoSprink excels in this area as well. For projects with Navis coordination, I simply take my AutoSprink files and export to AutoCAD to send off to the Navis Coordinator. Since everything is already drawn in 3D, there is no other conversions required. It is as easy as it can be.
As far as the support team goes, I have to say that they are very responsive and go the extra mile to help you with any issue you may encounter. I will say that 99.9% of the issues I have encountered have been resolved with education about how the program operates and is not due to faults in the program. Mr Terry Chapin at MEPCad has even gone so far as to help with questions and answers during "off business" hours. He has also drawn and provided additional blocks and details from his personal library to aid in my projects. I have nothing bad to say about the other company's support teams either, but I will again state that the MEPCad support team is very quick to respond and very helpful with everything.
I will not say that AutoSprink is the perfect fire sprinkler drawing program, but it is as close as one can get from my experience. Anyone that is considering purchasing a fire sprinkler design program should look at all of the others, then view AutoSprink. You will be able to see why it is the best for the money.
Travis Mack, SET
MFP Design, LLC