For all building construction or remodeling building projects, the owner or occupant must first have a concept for the new design, and then the architector designer can produce a set of building plans. These plans convey all the required information to the local inspection authority and associated building trades so that the construction or remodeling can take place. Because commercial and industrial buildings contain a number of electrical systems, these plans include specific electrical designs and additional documentation to verify that the design conforms to all required building codes.
The Design Process
An electrical design goes through several important stages of development. First, the designer must understand the scope of the project. Then, the designer defines and designs each component (such as general office areas, specialized machinery, and power distribution equipment) to recognized industry standards. Finally, these individual components are compiled to form the final presentation for the design.
Understanding the Project Scope
Every electrical design has unique requirements, depending on the scope of the project. The project scope is determined by the customers’ requirements and the type of structure that the customer will occupy. For example, if the project requires new electrical systems for an existing building, then the electrical designer works to incorporate all the new electrical wiring into the existing system. The designer must evaluate the existing electrical system
to ensure that existing electrical systems can accommodate new additional electrical loads that will be imposed on them. When the design is for a new proposed facility, then the scope of the project is much greater. Electrical designs for these types of projects require an entirely new electrical system design.
- Defining Parts of the Electrical Plan
- Depending on the overall scope of the project, a design can include the following components:
- General electrical requirements (e.g., general purpose receptacles)
- Specialized electrical requirements (e.g., specialized office equipment or machinery)
- Lighting systems
Electrical distribution systems General Electrical Requirements General electrical requirements should be defined
first on any electrical design project. General electrical requirements are items such as the 120-volt general purpose receptacle outlets located throughout the commercial or industrial building. These receptacles are usually not specified to serve any particular load but rather are for general purpose use such as for desktop devices, standard wall receptacles, and desktop computer equipment with no special electrical requirements.
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