Design and plan your commercial wiring for optimal performance (part one)
Electrical design engineers can use methods to service loads in the commercial building and use wires, cables and buses. Several factors, such as jurisdictional requirements, new construction vs. renovation, project, owner’s choice or standards, building height or type, and future concept, directly affect commercial wiring design.
They will determine whether to use one method over another or a combination of methods. To select the types of wiring, cabling, or bus systems, the engineer or designer typically must consider trade-offs in performance, future availability, and first cost.
He must check all these before proceeding with the specification for project installation. To use wiring, cabling and bus methods according to the National Electrical Code of Canada, you must answer three following questions: “When,” “Where,” and “Why.”
Three types of commercial wiring design
Commercial wiring is essential in low or high-rise buildings. The right type of commercial wiring design is critical to getting the job done because you must ensure you have everything you need.
I recommend you contact KCS Group certified consultants to get answers to these questions quickly. They offer a variety of complete commercial electrical wiring, each suitable for different applications.
Electrical wiring in commercial buildings is slightly different from residential buildings. Office equipment, machinery and electronics may require additional wiring and cable organization than heavy machinery or warehouses.
In addition to electrical needs and usage, there are other considerations to consider when it comes to commercial wiring. Safety is one of the most important considerations, as any irregular electrical wiring can put employees at risk and stop business operations.
As a commercial building owner with extensive electrical wiring, you should regularly have professionals inspect it. It is the only way to ensure everyone’s safety. In the following article, you will learn the main types of commercial wiring design in commercial buildings and their special advantages.
1. Raceways and Conductors
The National Electrical Code is a set of rules which wants the wiring installed in homes and commercial buildings to be safe and fit for purpose. In addition to setting requirements for electrical wiring and connectors, the code requires you to test installations properly and keep all documentation on site.
You should also consider general requirements for wiring designs and materials, including raceways, cable joints and fasteners, surface-mounted devices, and non-metallic sheathed cables.
The Raceway and Conductor method is one of the most common methods for designing commercial wiring. In this method, you can use paths and conductors to conduct electric current using flexible or rigid non-metallic conduit and pipe in combination with an equipment ground conductor to complete the circuit.
Each installation is specifically designed based on your project’s blueprints and design specifications and is performed by professional installers, such as KCS Group technicians, so you can rest assured that your system is designed correctly and will work as planned.
THHN/THWN (high heat resistant nylon jacket/thermoplastic water resistant nylon jacket) or XHHW (high heat resistant and water resistant XLPE) in copper or aluminum are the most common types of conductors. Copper and aluminum conductors are usually suitable for branch circuits, while aluminum is used for feeders. The most common ones that you can use in commercial applications are:
- RMC Metal Raceways
RMC metal corridors are designed for natural and artificial light use in applications requiring maximum protection against physical damage. RMC Raceways are built with heavy-duty coatings and zinc coatings for added flexibility. The smooth-walled design is aesthetically pleasing, while the adjustable flange provides support and chewing options.
- Raceway is an IMC
Raceway is an IMC – Intermediate Metal Conduit, a thin-walled version of RMC with a corrosion-resistant coating on the inside and a galvanized exterior. The Raceway comes in several diameters and with several accessories.
- FMC Raceway
FMC Raceways are a great product because they are easy to install, flexible and inexpensive. Like electrical conduit, it does not conduct electricity and is available in many types of metal, such as aluminum and steel. You can install the FMC raceway by unskilled or semi-skilled workers, available in various shapes and materials.
EMT is the most popular Raceway for commercial and industrial applications. Using this non-threaded and reusable metal tube, you can safely transmit electrical energy over long distances. The EMTS is a secure enclosure for wires and cables and accommodates all lines, including fibre optics. EMT White has a coating on the inside and outside of the pipe that covers minor imperfections.
- PVC pipe
Wiring designers typically use PVC conduit for underground applications, where it is buried or encased directly in concrete. This tool is suitable for hot, dry environments and has better corrosion resistance than other types of conduit, especially in aggressive soils.
Pros of Raceways & Conductors
You can use IMC, RMC and EMT in places with physical damage or extreme temperature fluctuations. The advantage of Raceways is that you can easily use them for rewiring.
Other advantages include greater flexibility in installation, fewer openings for protection from the elements, greater ease of removal for maintenance and replacement, a faster installation where conductors are already run between buildings, etc.
VC underground raceway systems can save you money. Raceways are easy to install and come in many colours and sizes.
Cons of Raceways & Conductors
A flexible raceway system is expensive to install. Raceways are limited to the number of bends allowed before a junction box is required.
PVC has several limitations in terms of application. As a thermoplastic material, it tends to soften at high temperatures and is difficult to polish. It is also a poor electrical insulator; you should use it for something other than raceways that carry electrical currents.
Raceways are the most economical cable and wire management system. However, you cannot install some types in locations with physical damage.
So far, you have only been introduced to one type of commercial wiring design. There are other types of design that you can use for your commercial building. It would be best to read the following article by KCS Group on this matter.