My most humbling career experience came during my first electrical construction project where I had to relocate a substation from one area of the plant to another to make room for a new manufacturing assembly line. I spent weeks measuring and designing the system and just before I ordered the equipment ($150,000) I asked the electrician assigned to the job whether or not I had accounted for everything. The electrician asked me if I had built in a 20-25% design factor. I said, “We should be ok. I’ll order an extra 15% of cable”. He said, “Alright but you’re cutting it close”. I thought some more about it and decided to take his advice.
We were down to the last few days of the plant shutdown and today was the day that we were to terminate the cable to the transformer. As the team lowered the high voltage cable from the ceiling, one of the guys said, “We’re not going to have enough cable”!! Man did I pray that it would be enough (for large electrical conductors you do not want to splice the cable because of the failure risks, plus this was BRAND NEW cable). Long story short, we had 5 feet to spare and the plant was still on schedule to start up on Monday. Whew!!
Why was it so close? Well, I didn’t factor in the following,
experience > education.