How does Countfire stack up for companies involved with projects of broad scope?

Designplan Lighting are involved in many large, intricate projects. It was because of this that they decided it was time to drop the highlighters and manual counts, looking for a “new school” solution to counting take-offs. We had a chat recently with David Leslie, Senior Applications Engineer at the company. Here’s their story, and how Countfire has played a part:

Download four key takeaways from Designplan here
David Leslie – Senior Applications Engineer

About Designplan Lighting

Designplan Lighting was established in 1963 with an idea for extra-strong light fitting. They built a reputation for raising the bar in terms of innovation and design quality.

Since their establishment, Designplan Lighting has grown significantly, with a team of over 150 people and sales in more than 20 countries across the world. They are known as pioneers in LED robust lighting and have a vast portfolio of energy-efficient projects.

Designplan lighting works across multiple sectors, including transport, social housing, custodial, secure healthcare and urban exterior applications. These frequently involve very large projects, such as Crossrail and the Doha Metro.

Since 2011, they have been part of leading lighting manufacturing company, Fagerhult Group. In 2014, the company moved into a new, purpose-built factory set up to have a low carbon footprint. The facility has a BREEAM ’Excellent’ accreditation, highlighting their commitment to efficient practices.

David Leslie is part of the technical sales team, spending a lot of time consulting with end users, customers and employees on technical questions. One of the major goals of his team and the company overall is to work more efficiently.

Inside Designplan Lighting’s purpose-built factory

Looking for an efficient solution

When asked about how they managed counting take-offs on their projects previously, David says “really old school.” They used to print off the drawings and mark them off with different coloured highlighters. “This took a long time and wasn’t always accurate”, David says.

What was the catalyst to look for a solution to counting take-offs? “We got a really big project in with more than twenty drawings to count,” David says. “It was going to take us a very long time to count through everything manually. The drawings were very detailed with small symbols.”

When you have 20 or more drawings, you’re usually looking at several days to count take-offs, especially when you’re focused on being accurate. Just the time to print that number of drawings easily takes up an entire day. The “old school” method wasn’t going to cut it, not if the count was also to be done quickly.

David initiated the search for a solution, “I said, surely someone must have come up with something!”

Discovering Countfire

David used Google search to look for an automated take-off solution, and Countfire was an early result. He says that Countfire was the only company he pursued; “they had a good website and a video showing the process, which lead me to contact them.”

From there, David went through a demonstration with a Countfire team member, where they were able to access his PC remotely and demonstrate the software.

“We didn’t look at any other company – I was impressed with how easy it was to use Countfire,” says David.

Improving take-off workflow

From the first project using Countfire, David says it has made a noticeable difference to their workflow. All PDF drawings can be used with the software and it includes all luminaires Designplan Lighting has to count.

“Countfire really helps because we know it’s going to be accurate and be quick.The built-in checks are excellent and have picked up everything we need it to,” says David.

Another improvement he has noticed is that the Excel sheets they export from Countfire look very professional and are easy to follow. “We can hand those around to other departments to get quotations, and they’re clearly broken down by drawing and count.”

The time savings and accuracy of counts are the biggest benefits they have seen from using automated take-off software, and the two really work hand-in-hand. Large projects can be quoted in a day or two, rather than several days. This can be a huge advantage over any competitor’s quotations.

Automated take-off software contributes significantly to accuracy and time savings Click To Tweet


Stepping toward efficient procedures

While Designplan Lighting works across multiple sectors, David says they can use Countfire with any of them, as long as they get PDF drawings. “Where it really stands out is on larger projects, for example large prisons or transport stations. These tend to have a high quantity of luminaires and many different types which we need to count”, says David.

Designplan has seen movement toward their objective of better efficiency. Countfire is assisting with their goals by ensuring take-offs can be counted quickly and accurately. “We want to focus more on the important aspects of our role like assisting customers with technical enquiries. No more wasting time and resources on highlighters and manual counting”, David says.

“In the future, we’re looking at using Countfire more for measuring”, says David. “I’ve had a demo with Countfire and seen how we can markup drawings and get dimensions with the software.” This will allow them to expand their use of Countfire and attain even more efficiency in their operations.

Get our key takeaways from designplan here

Final thoughts

Countfire has become an ingrained part of the workflow for the technical sales team at Designplan Lighting. With exciting projects in the works, they are able to very quickly see the benefits of moving on from traditional counting methods to a quicker, automated solution.

What if someone was sitting on the fence about making the decision to go with Countfire? “I’d tell them that it has helped us to be more accurate and quicker,” says David. “The software is easy to use and you can count multiple drawings at the same time.”

Countfire is an automated take-off software which allows you to quickly and accurately count from uploaded drawings. We’d love to show you how the software can work for you – book a demo with us by clicking here.