The Electrical Blog

Power Quality: It May Sound Boring, But We’ll Make Sure You Never Have to Think About It

Posted by James Rockhill on Fri, Oct 16, 2015

As a business owner, Power Quality may be something that never crosses your mind. After all, electrical power is either on or off, right? Who wants to talk about the quality of the power their electrical system is putting out? Sounds pretty boring.

But poor power quality can cause calculation errors, data loss, computer glitches, shutdowns, and even damage to sensitive (and expensive) equipment over time. If your business deals with a lot of critical data or uses equipment that depends on uninterrupted power supply (healthcare, for instance), you need to be sure that the electrical power going to your equipment delivers consistent, reliable power you can depend on. 

Your business needs are unique to your particular business. That’s why our highly trained professionals don’t offer a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Instead, they develop a solution to provide you with the consistent power you need by performing a comprehensive, on-site survey to examine current electrical installations, load capacity, and other factors.

These electrical experts have an in-depth understanding of the technical factors involved—and they use specialized monitoring equipment to detect any potential problems before recommending the best solutions to your power quality problems.

Talking about things such as high voltage cable termination, infrared systems and ultrasonic testing, and UPS systems may not be great conversation-starters at a party—and may actually bore you to tears, but ignoring them can lead to the kind of problems that will keep you up at night, wondering why you’re having trouble with the sensitive equipment you use daily to do your job. 

Whether you run a data center, a hospital or physician’s office, a laboratory, or any other business that depends on a pure, consistent, uninterrupted source of electrical power, you can’t afford to gamble. If you’re building a new facility, or remodeling an existing building, make sure the electrical system you rely on is as up-to-date and efficient as the rest of your building. 

It may sound boring, but we can provide the kind of solution for your business that means you’ll never have to think about it again!

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Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company

Getting to Know Your Hometown Commercial Electrical Company

Posted by James Rockhill on Wed, Sep 30, 2015

getting-to-know-your-hometown-commercial-electrical-companyBerwick Electric has been providing outstanding residential and commercial electrical services for the Pikes Peak region since 1921. We’re kind of the “hometown kids” when it comes to electrical work, and a lot of businesses and residents in the area know our name. 

There’s an old adage, however, that say, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” and while we’ve certainly enjoyed a great relationship with the people of the Pikes Peak region over the years, it can be easy to think of a longtime fixture in the community as a bit quaint and maybe not up to speed. Clients that really know us, however, know that couldn’t be farther from the truth! 

Even though you may know our name, you may not really know our work. We thought it might be helpful to get to know your hometown commercial electrical company, so here are a few of the commercial projects we’ve worked on.

  • PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Outpatient Clinic (C.S. VA Clinic: Construction of a new 96,000 square-foot, 1,322-occupancy clinic for U.S. military verterans with state-of-the-art medical care set against awe-inspiring views of Pikes Peak. Our work included installing a wide variety of electrical, data communications, life safety and security systems. All of the electrical activity is now supported by a 3,000 amp, 277/480-volt electrical service which required nine electrical rooms, an emergency generator for the smoke evacuation system, mechanical equipment, a sophisticated lighting control system, and other electrically-related items. It also can support the radiology suite, which contains three x-ray rooms as well as MRI, CT and mammography equipment and site lighting.
  • ST Francis Medical Center: This is a six story hospital that can be expanded up to 600,000 sq ft with the present plans representing 459,768 sq ft. the project has a Central Utility Plant (CUP), four floors of medical facilities, mechanical located on the 4th and the 6th floor. The hospital has three 4,000 amp 480 volt services with an emergency system consisting of 8,000 amp 480 volt paralleling switch gear, two 1,500 KW generators, future for two generators, automatic transfer switches, switchgear and distribution. It includes a 4,000 sq ft commercial kitchen, 3,800 sq ft servery and 5,000 sq ft dining room. The kitchen is fed with an 800 amp 480 volt service with five subpanels.
  • Seven Falls Lighing and the 1858 Restaurant: This unique project included installatioin of infrastructure piping and wiring throughout the 4,000 foot long canyon to include (100) stream side LED lights, (30) under stair mounted High Output LED fixtures to wash the main falls, (18) Underwater fixtures to light the trout pond, (10) parking lot pole lights, and assorted tree and rock formation accent lighting. Lighting control panels and override switches throughout the canyon for automatic and manual control of all fixtures. Power needs included a 12,470/480 volt utility transformer to provide power for the Eagles Nest elevator, pumps, and mechanical equipment. The 1858 Restaurant required all new power, fire alarm, specialty lighting and controls.

There is some fairly technical information in those project descriptions, and some of it may not mean that much to you. The point of all this is that Berwick has the capabilities to tackle jobs of just about any size and complexity. And while we still insist on providing “hometown” service and value, we also work diligently to stay on top of the latest innovations in the industry—something our certifications and qualifications confirm

Our founder, J. Douglas Berwick, may have started out as a small business owner back in 1921, but as the region’s needs for commercial electrical service grew, his company stayed at the forefront. No matter what your electrical needs may be, you can trust the service, knowledge, and expertise of the “hometown kids.”

 3 Signs Your Data Comm System Needs An Upgrade

Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, experienced electrical contractors in Colorado, Colorado Springs commercial electric capabilities

Limiting Your Liability: Electrical Issues for Commercial Properties

Posted by James Rockhill on Mon, Sep 14, 2015

Limiting-your-liability-electrical-safety-for-commercial-propertiesIf you lease commercial property to another business, liability for electrical safety may be the last thing on your mind. You’ve got plenty of other issues to deal with, including heating, air conditioning, lighting, and general maintenance. And while you surely care about the safety of your building’s occupants—it’s something that’s easy to take for granted . . . until something happens. 

Then you can have a serious problem on your hands. If someone is injured on the job because of faulty electrical work you could be facing huge consequences—especially in today’s litigious environment. 

It’s not just lawsuits for personal injury you have to worry about either. If a business isn’t able to perform properly because of an inadequate or unsafe electrical system, you could be on the hook for loss of income as well. So how do you limit your liability—and ensure the safety of your tenants? Here are a few simple steps you can take. 

  • Perform Regular Inspections: A qualified electrician can test your system for potential overloading, improper wiring, faulty connections, possible hazards, and code violations. Your electrician can then summarize anything that needs to be addressed and provide you with an accurate estimate of what repairs or fixes will cost.   
  • Install Emergency Lighting: It’s easy to assume that emergency lighting is in place, but you should make sure you have a back-up plan for safe evacuation of tenants if your building’s electric service fails —for whatever reason. Emergency lighting should automatically kick in even during power outages and provide tenants with safe egress. Again, this is something your electrician can set up for you and test on a regular basis. 
  • Perform Simple Safety Checks Yourself: Sometimes you really don’t need an electrician to perform some safety checks. A good commercial electrical company can bring you up to speed on simple checks you can perform yourself to ensure your safety. 
  • Set Up Smoke Detectors: Smoke detectors are an inexpensive way to add another layer of safety. And many newer detectors also check for the presence of CO2 as well. Of course they only “detect” when they’re working properly. So even if you have smoke detectors installed make sure they’re tested regularly and powered. 

If you’re taking over a new building, or if you’re just not sure about the status of the electrical system in an existing building, it just may make sense to have a certified electrician evaluate your building. It only takes a little time and money to limit a great deal of liability.

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Topics: commercial electrical contractors, Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, liabilities for commercial property owners

Providing More Than Power: Empowering Our Community

Posted by James Rockhill on Sat, Sep 12, 2015

Providing-more-than-power-empowering-our-communityBerwick Electric doesn’t just work in the Colorado Springs area; we live here as well. Since 1921 we’ve called Colorado Springs home. For us, this is more than just a place where we park our trucks and sleep at night. And while we’ve been helping provide electrical power to help this city grow, we’ve always believed in empowering our community to grow in other areas. 

We believe we have a corporate social responsibility. That’s why we’re involved in the Colorado Springs community in ways that go far beyond providing excellent, efficient electrical service. And we bring the same commitment and effort to those endeavors as we do to any electrical project we work on. That’s why it was so special to be awarded the Outstanding Corporate Philanthropic Program Award in 2012. 

We were nominated by Special Kids Special Families because of work we did with them in relocating and renovating their facility. Here’s what their Executive Director, Lind Ellegard had to say: 

Doug Berwick, Jim Peterson, and the employees at BEC designed and created our adult day program space around the needs of the adults with disabilities that we serve. We could not ask for a better facility. 

Our commitment to enhancing the community doesn’t stop there. Berwick Electric is also a supporter of a number of other great community organizations, including: 

  • Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers
  • The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region
  • Defenders of Freedom Veterans Recognition Ride
  • Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center
  • James D. Berwick Scholarship (through The YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region) 

You can click here to read more about how Berwick is involved with these wonderful community organizations (and perhaps get involved yourself!). We consider it a privilege and a responsibility to be involved in the community we call home. We think it’s essential to not only provide electrical power for the commercial and residential needs of the Colorado Springs community, but to empower the citizens of the community as well. And we’re grateful to our clients, whose support enables us to do just that.

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Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, Community involvement, community organizations in Colorado Springs, Corporate involvement in Colorado Springs

Is Your Commercial Building’s Electrical System Overloaded?

Posted by James Rockhill on Thu, Sep 10, 2015

Is-your-commercial-buildings-electrical-system-overloaded_Whether you own the building your business operates from —or lease space to another business—you may not be thinking about it, but you’re responsible for providing efficient and safe electrical service for the occupants. What happens if you or your tenants overload the electrical system? And how does that even happen? 

Essentially, you can overload your system when you run more amperage across an electrical circuit or outlet than it can handle. Here’s an example: say an electrical outlet in your commercial building is designed to safely carry 50 amps of current and it is protected by a 50-amp circuit breaker. If you connect an electrical appliance requiring 60 amps of current to the outlet, the breaker may allow the outlet to deliver 60 amps to the appliance—but the wire and breaker will start to heat up, and that can lead to an electrical fire. The same thing can happen if you connect multiple devices through that same circuit. 

Some pieces of equipment require higher amounts of energy, and too often businesses simply aren’t aware of how much energy their devices are pulling. To ensure optimum performance—and safety—you really want to be sure that your system is designed to handle the load you put on it, and equipment that consumes high amounts of energy should be on dedicated outlets. 

Your system can be also be overloaded by loose or corroded wires and connections. That can be caused by exposure to moisture or a bad splice—things you might not even be aware of. You can end up constantly tripping the breakers, damaging equipment—or worse. 

So how do you avoid the problem? If you’re finishing out space that you’re going to lease, have a reputable electrical contractor review your energy requirements. Talk about what kind of equipment (and how much equipment) you anticipate using. Then you can look at your building’s electrical system and see if it’s designed to handle that load. Will it take a little bit of time? Yes. Will it cost you something? Sure, but less than you might think and it’s nothing compared to the cost (financially and otherwise) of overloading your system. A little bit of time and money up front can really pay off in productivity and safety down the road.

 3 Signs Your Data Comm System Needs An Upgrade

Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, Protecting against electrical dangers, electrical issues for commercial buildings

Electrical Systems: Part of the Bigger Process

Posted by James Rockhill on Fri, Sep 04, 2015

electrical-systems-part-of-the-bigger-processIf you’re planning to build a new commercial property—or looking to expand or upgrade an existing property, your electrical system may not be the first thing on your mind. But electrical systems are a key element of every new construction or renovation project. Businesses rely on reliable and robust electrical systems to get business done. That’s why Berwick Electric Co. works closely with owners and general contractors to design and install high quality, cost effective electrical systems. 

Here’s a bit of what a quality electrical company brings to the table. 

Design-Build / Design-Assist Expertise

By partnering with the owners, designers, engineers, and the construction team during the pre-construction phase, a professional electrical company contributes unique expertise in planning and cost estimating to develop “best-value” solutions to meet each customer’s exact specifications. Design-build and design-assist are excellent ways to expedite the overall construction process and deliver projects that meet critical electrical standards within the owner’s budget and schedule. To discover more about design-build and design-assist, click here.

Sustainability / Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

A great electrical contractor should offer extensive experience in sustainability projects, including government projects that receive SPiRiT and LEED certification.  That should include an in-house LEED Accredited Professional to provide oversight for your sustainability projects. 

Schedule Performance

A good electrical contractor—who is involved in planning from the beginning—should ensure the delivery of high quality service on schedule. You don’t want building or renovation held up because the general contractor and the electrical contractor weren’t on the same page. A good electrical contractor expedites through proper scoping, a well-trained and efficient staff, and critical path schedules that allow for flexibility and positive working relationships with the design and construction teams. 

To ensure control of the quality of your overall project, your electrical contractor needs to clearly delineate the responsibilities, procedures, processes and resources with his part of the project, so that expectations are met—or exceeded.  Much of that comes from hiring and retaining qualified individuals and making sure that they are properly trained and adhere to the highest standards. 

First and foremost, we understand that the project isn’t about us. “It’s about working together as part of a team—as part of a bigger process—to deliver an overall solution that’s best for the end customer.”James D. Shirley, formerProject Director for Gerald H. Phipps, Inc. had this to say about working with us on Columbine Hall at CU Colorado Springs. 

Berwick Electric's unique capabilities are in all aspects of electrical sub-contracting. They have strong pre-construction capabilities, excellent power quality people, strong field supervision and technically competent journeymen. Their quality control is second to none. They do it right and do it right the first time. 

If you’re looking to build or renovate a significant commercial property, make sure your electrical contractor understands what’s involved in being part of a team and a process that will deliver the quality and value you expect.

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Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, electrical sub-contracting, electrical systems as a vital part of commercial

Veterans in Electrical Installation Help Deliver State-of-the-Art Care at Veterans Affairs Clinic

Posted by James Rockhill on Wed, Aug 12, 2015

veterans-in-electrical-installation-help-deliver-state-of-the-art-care-at-veterans-affairs-clinicIn 1921, J. Douglas Berwick received Electric Contractor License Number 11 from the state of Colorado, and Berwick Electric Company was born. After 94 years of outstanding service, you could say that the personnel at Berwick Electric are bonafide veterans in the electrical contracting business. 

Not long ago, however, we were able to do some significant work on behalf of another group of veterans to whom our country owes a great debt.  The Veterans Affairs Clinic, located at the corner of Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street in Colorado Springs, Colorado, offers care to many veterans in the Pikes Peak region. 

Now, thanks to a new 96,000 square-foot, 1,322-occupancy clinic, U.S. military veterans can expect state-of-the-art medical care set against awe-inspiring views of Pikes Peak (you can see the Peak reflected in the glass of the building’s lobby in the photo here).

We were delighted to be involved in installing a wide variety of electrical, data communications, life safety and security systems required for the new clinic. Those who have given so much for our country now have access to radiology/biomedical, counseling, behavioral health, rehabilitation, physical therapy, optometry, audiology, dental and pharmaceutical services. 

To help meet the diverse client needs, we needed to install six kiosk units in the main lobby, so that visitors could check in and then be directed to the appropriate services area within the facility. Berwick Electric was also responsible for the installation of the fire alarm system, as well as the integration of the sophisticated smoke evacuation system. 

All of this activity is supported by a 3,000 amp, 277/480-volt electrical service requiring nine electrical rooms, an emergency generator for the smoke evacuation system, mechanical equipment and a sophisticated lighting control system, as well as other electrically-related items. The electrical service also supports the radiology suite, which includes three x- ray rooms, MRI, CT and mammography equipment and site lighting. 

The Colorado Springs VA Clinic project required a tremendous amount of upfront and ongoing engineering to provide systems that would integrate with the primary head-end system located at the Denver VA facility. That means Berwick needed to coordinate the much-needed customer meetings to flesh out the details of the installation to provide optimum system integrity. 

One of the unique challenges of this project was that there were quite a number of additions to the scope of the project, and yet we were able to finish on time with no delays. 

We look forward to the benefits that the VA Clinic will provide for the community. Those who have served and sacrificed so much for our country deserve the best!

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Topics: Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, New Veterans Affairs installation, providing services for American Veterans

When “Good Enough” Isn’t Good Enough: Penrose St. Francis Medical Center

Posted by James Rockhill on Mon, Aug 10, 2015

when-good-enough-isnt-good-enough-penrose-st-francis-medical-centerFrankly, we think “Good Enough” is unacceptable in any situation, but there are certain instances where a lack of attention to detail and quality can have dramatic—life-impacting—consequences. Healthcare is one of those industries, in which “good enough” simply isn’t good enough. Things have to be done properly and expertly, or there can be disastrous consequences. 

That’s one reason Berwick Electric was selected to install the electrical system for the Penrose St. Francis Medical Center.  This is a place where people’s livelihoods—and lives—depend on reliable, uninterrupted electrical service. 

There was, of course, a lot more involved than simply “running electrical lines” and installing outlets. This six-story facility encompasses nearly 465,000 square feet of space, including the full-service, 522-bed acute care facility. This was a major project with many intricate and interacting parts that included a Central Utility Plant (CUP), four floors of medical facilities, and mechanical areas located on both the fourth and sixth floors. 

The hospital required three 4000 amp 480 volt services with an emergency system consisting of 8000 amp 480 volt paralleling switch gear, two 1500 KW generators, future for two generators, automatic transfer switches, switchgear and distribution. 

There is, of course, more to the hospital than just operation theaters and patient rooms. The facility also includes a 4,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, and a 5,000 square foot dining room. 

If you have an electrical installation project that’s large, complicated, or simply needs to be done right because “good enough” just isn’t good enough for your needs, we’d love to help you out. We don’t believe it’s good enough until it meets our exacting standards and requirements—and you’re happy with the end result. 

Here’s a snippet of what the Project Manager said about the work completed: “Berwick Electric’s workmanship and attention to detail on this project, as well as meeting strict schedule and budget constraints, was unparalleled! It was a pleasure to be able to work with them and hope to do so again in the very near future!

3 Signs Your Data Comm System Needs An Upgrade

Topics: commercial electrical contractors, Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, Exceptional commercial electrical services

7 Questions to Ask Before You Hire Your Colorado Springs Commercial Electrician

Posted by James Rockhill on Wed, Jul 08, 2015


As a business owner, the last thing you want to think about is your electrical system. It should just work the way you want it to.

In reality, however, there’s a lot riding on your electrical system. If it doesn’t work properly it can seriously impact your ability to do business—and it can even put your employees at risk. 

Not all electrical contractors are created equal. That’s why hiring the right commercial electrician for your Colorado Springs business is such a big deal. Here are seven key questions to ask before you hire a contractor to work on the electrical system in your business.


1. How Long Have You Been In Business?

Experience matters when it comes to major installations and upgrades. You want a contractor who has been around and knows the ropes. And if you’re re-fitting an older property, you want someone who knows how to upgrade an older existing system safely and effectively. On top of that, you want to deal with someone you can rely on for years to come—someone who’s got roots in the community. 

2. Is He Licensed and Insured? What Does Your Local BBB Say About The Company?

A lot of companies can “run wire” from one end of your building to the other. But that’s really a minor part of the job. You want a certified master electrician on the job to make sure things are done right. That means you end up with a safe system that delivers reliable performance for years to come. 

3. Who Have You Done Work for In the Past?

References are a big deal. If you’re checking out potential candidates for work on your business, make sure you get an adequate number of references—and check them out! Find out what past clients have to say about the quality of the work and about what it was like to work with the contractor. You’ll want to find a contractor who is easy to work with and responsive to your needs. 

4. Have You Done A Project Like Mine Before?

This is really critical if you have a large or complicated project. It doesn’t matter if an electrician has done hundreds of installations if the scope and complexity were on a much smaller scale. You’ll want to make sure you hire someone who is comfortable and confident with the kind of job you have in mind. 

5. How Long Will My Project Take?

An experienced contractor has a pretty good idea of what’s going to be involved in the project. He ought to be able to walk you through the process and tell you how long each phase will take. That’s important because you need to know how to plan around completion. Unforeseen delays can happen, but if a contractor is too vague about the amount of time needed to complete your job, beware. It could mean he’s in over his head. 

6. Can You Walk Me Through Your Cost Structure?

Let’s face it; price is an important part of the process when it comes to electrical work. It’s important that you understand what you’re getting and what it’s going to cost. A low up-front price is really no bargain if there are all kinds of add-ons at the end. A good contractor should be able to give you a clear understanding of what your job will cost. 

7. What Else Do I Need to Know?

A good contractor will be thinking about how the work impacts you. He or she may bring up issues that you haven’t thought about—not to “up-sell” you on the job, but to make sure that you get what you really want and need. 

It’s your business. Make sure you hire an electrical contractor you’re comfortable with and who has the skills, experience, and training to meet your needs.

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Topics: hiring commercial electrician, Colorado Commercial Electrical Company, what to look for in commercial electrician