May 20th, 2015

Best Practices in Residential and Commercial Electrical Installation: Things you must remember

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An electrician is responsible for providing professional work that meets the needs of the customers while complying with electrical codes, requirements and best practices electrical installation methods recognized within the construction industry. Electrical best practices consistently improve the standard for residential and commercial electrical installations.

General Best Practices

Each type of electrical installation has its own “best practices” methods. General best practices for any type of electrical installation include:

• Permits obtained and work complying with the most current national, state, and local codes,
• Installation of quality of materials,
• Meeting the particular project / job requirements and specifications,
• Installation performed by a qualified, knowledgeable, and licensed electrician,
• Conformance to established safety rules and practices in accordance with ES Act and the WHS Act,
• Final inspection, testing, approval, and acceptance by the permit authorities, and
• As-built electrical drawings.

Regardless if the installation is commercial or residential, new construction or remodel, the contractor is responsible for obtaining the permits necessary prior to performing any work. Additionally, all materials used must comply with job requirements and specifications designed to meet particular load capacities and installation locations and eventual use.

Residential Best Practices

Integrated installations provide greater flexibility and functionality in new construction and major renovations and help ensure installations do not become outdated as quickly. Multiple distribution boards have replaced fuse boxes. Additional conduit wires for sockets allow additional switching or dimming of sockets later.

Each outlet should be able to be configured for a particular function (telephony, data, radio, TV, etc.). A multifunctional, structured cabling with a data / communications patch box increases flexibility.

A resident’s needs, number of occupants, size of the home, and levels of comfort, communications and security must be determined in order to design the most functional electrical system.

There should be adequate and convenient sockets and switches to alleviate any need for extension cable. Manufacturers as well as the European Copper Institute (ECI) provide checklists for home electrical installations for apartments and houses. Appliances anticipated for use in each room are considered. Sockets should be placed at regular intervals along walls in all rooms. Multiple sockets must be installed to accommodate a variety of TVs, computers, video components, etc. And sufficient data connections must be provided, including behind the television for the audio chain for Smart TV, the digital TV box, and for Internet radio.

One or more motion detectors should be wired for passageways. There should be a minimum of one control point for one or more buttons at the entrance to each room, as well as subsystem buttons and controls to operate additional lighting, heating / cooling, shutters, LAN network components, etc.

Commercial Best Practices

Energy conservation is primary in commercial electrical construction. Energy audits is a beginning best practice. In addition to the general best practices (see above), increased expertise in grid and system design, installation, testing, and maintenance of solar and other alternative energy systems is necessary.

Electrical installations for malls, hospitals, retail and office, warehouses, factories, etc. must follow current codes and requirements for boxes, wiring, and other installations of lighting, switches, power / power backup, phone, emergency / exit, and data systems. Main switchboard, metering, lightning arrest and surge protection systems, tenancy distribution boards and metered sub mains must strictly comply with, and be inspected, tested, and approved by local permitting authorities, in compliance with national, state, and local codes. Standards for cabinets, cable / wire load capacities, connections and slack, routing, grounding, and terminals shall be met.

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