From multi-story office blocks to converted old properties, each and every commercial building has its own special construction requirements. Especially when it comes to the electrical design for commercial buildings.
So what electrics does a commercial building actually need? And where should you even begin with your electrical design?
Electrical Design for Commercial Buildings
The electrical design of your commercial building will be dictated by its intended use. A hospital, for example, will have a very different requirement than a private office or shopping center. But there are some common factors for all commercial properties that fall into five categories.
1. Health & Safety Requirements
Whether your building is used by staff, clients, or members of the public, you have a responsibility to uphold health and safety requirements. That is to say, electrics do carry a great deal of risk, which is why it’s important to get your electrical design spot-on in the first place. That means:
- Providing sufficient levels of lighting for safe working: low lighting may cause eye problems
- Lighting particularly dark areas and stairwells, to mitigate the risk of falls and injury
- Ensuring a backup emergency lighting system is in place, in case of a mains outage
- Maintaining basic electrical safety, including plug sockets and cabling
- Safety systems in case of a fire; including smoke and fire alarms, as well as a sprinkler system
- PAT-tested appliances – including toasters, kettles, and refrigerators as well as office equipment
- Lightning protection
Voltage goes hand-in-hand with safety. Consequently, you need to understand the voltage class and the requirements of your building because different sizes and types will require specific voltages. As an example, a low voltage of under 1000 Volts will usually supply a simple residential building. But a bigger commercial building with higher electrical needs may require a medium voltage class of up to 20,000 Volts (20KV), which may be supplied by a substation.
It’s time to turn to security. A commercial building must be secure or it will risk serious repercussions: especially if a business has high-value products, expensive equipment or sensitive, confidential information on site. Security systems include CCTV, burglar alarms and an electronic access system. Security systems will diminish the risk of break-ins or internal security breaches.
Logistics is next. Your electrical design should ensure the property is actually usable. How will staff or customers reach the top floor? How will they communicate with each other? To answer these questions, you will need to incorporate:
- An efficient communications system, including external and internal telephone systems, teleconferencing facilities, broadband and WiFi
- AV systems (Audio-Visual Systems)
- A means for getting from A to B; whether that’s elevators or escalators.
The next consideration for your electrical design is the ambiance. Heating, air conditioning, and ventilation fall into the must-have category. You can turn to the decorative touches to achieve maximum enjoyment and comfort once the ‘essential’ boxes are checked. Elegant lamps, wall-mounted HD TVs or even exquisite coffee at the touch of a button. These are the final touches that will turn your commercial property into a first-rate business facility to be enjoyed by all.
Don’t Neglect The Specifics
Before you conclude your electrical planning, make sure you investigate the specifics of your property and its intended usage. In addition, there may be rules and regulations to bear in mind, and it is best to be made aware of these as soon as possible, so you can build with enough time and budget.
In other words, to ensure you are on the right track, the best course of action is to consult an experienced and qualified commercial electrician. They will be in a position to confirm your electrical design needs and provide advice and resource to get the job done. Without this insight, you may fall short of your electrical requirements, with the potential of problems down the line.
Call Our Design/Build Experts at East-West Electric Today!
If you are concerned about the electric design in your commercial building or would like some advice, East-West Electric can help. Our Clearwater, FL team of electricians is fully-qualified to ensure the delivery of our high standards and unrivaled level of customer service. For more information, take a look at our professional commercial electrical services or call on (727) 771-9403 today.