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Home / Technical Articles / Specific electrical design tips for a few most common types of commercial facilities

The design of commercial facilities

This technical article covers some specific considerations (modern power supply, electric distribution, transportation, lighting controls, and communication systems) for a few most common type of commercial facilities such as banks, colleges and universities, fire stations, health care facilities and office buildings.

Specific electrical design tips for a few most common type of commercial facilities
Specific electrical design tips for a few most common type of commercial facilities

Electrical designers of industrial and commercial buildings can organize their design criteria into three broad classes:

  1. Requirements set by relevant codes at a bare minimum
  2. Trustworthiness of service and backup plans adaptability to new circumstances
  3. Comfort, ease of use, and reliability of the system

The designer must have sound judgement and the ability to market their designs. The designer must convince the building owner and the electric utility company of the necessity of include the service capacity for anticipated future loads in the initial installation, as well as of making provisions for facility extensions at a later date.

The cost of installing new machinery after the building is done being constructed and all available space has been used might be double or treble what it would have been if the original design had accounted for these potential loads and expansions.

The appropriate regulatory codes often provide the minimum standards. The design engineer must first identify the authorities that have authority over the building, and then make contact with them to learn more about the local legislation that will be implemented.

Table of Contents:

  1. Banks
  2. Colleges and Universities
    1. Central Power Plant Inside Building
    2. School Classrooms
    3. School Labs
  3. Fire Stations
  4. Health Care Facilities
    1. Hospitals and Clinics
    2. Patient Safety
    3. Standby Generators, UPS and Essential Electric Systems
    4. Life Safety and “Defend in Place” Strategy
    5. Power Quality and Medical Equipment Issues
    6. Communication, Information, and Signaling Systems
    7. Special Lighting in Hospitals
    8. Clinics, Medical & Dental Offices, and Ambulatory Surgery Centers
  5. Office Buildings (Power Service, Loads, Locations)

1. Banks

We love them and we do hate them at the same time. However, the banks are likely to include expressive architecture. Banks nowadays typically have an open floor plan with movable partitions. Outdoor and indoor lighting should compliment the architectural design.

Floodlighting the building for ornamental purposes may necessitate provisions for supplying power away from the premises. The use of electric signs and directional indications for night banking may necessitate the installation of underground cable before to the construction of walkways and driveways. Lighting, connectivity, and closed-circuit television may be required for remote teller drive-in islands for banking directly from automobiles.

Electric heating, ventilation, and air conditioning are required as well.

Lighting, connectivity, and electric infrared heating may be required for teller outside walkup windows. Whether they are positioned on the bank’s external wall or in the lobby, unattended automatic banking equipment require power, lighting, communication, and electric heating and cooling.

Although not physically located in the bank, remotely located computers to allow customer transactions may necessitate many of the same amenities as indicated above.

General illumination in the main area is included in indoor lighting. Spotlights and floodlights can be used with high ceilings. Indirect lighting is another option. Because visual activities are taxing and computer monitor displays can be difficult to read, teller counters should be carefully lit to reduce shadows and glare.

Closed-circuit television provisions for banks with several branches should not be disregarded.

Figure 1 – An example of electrical layout of the bank

An example of electrical layout of the bank
Figure 1 – An example of electrical layout of the bank

Alarm and communication systems, both visual and audio, are critical in today’s bank. Security and alarm systems are typically not included in the construction contract; nonetheless, tight collaboration with bank-selected vendors is required to ensure that appropriate and correctly situated raceways are incorporated in the structure. Computer systems and huge data rooms should all have extensive communications provisions.

Specific power requirements, such as isolated grounds and dedicated grounds, may be necessary. Computer terminal equipment at tellers’ windows will almost certainly be necessary. Power and data circuits may be required as well.

Closed-circuit television is utilized for both money checks and guard observation and protection. Together with video capture, automatic still cameras are frequently used.

Banks want a pushbutton in each booth to call an employee in a safety deposit department that is open to the public. Banks also require an intercom system and ventilation in the vault in the event that someone become mistakenly locked inside. A signal system for summoning employees should also be available.

There could be a huge number of business machines in the accounting department. Power, data, and communication cables can be installed and rearranged using an underfloor duct system or a raised floor (access floor) system that is at least 6 inches high.

A central air-conditioning plant might serve the entire structure. Individual units may be employed in smaller buildings. Control centers should be utilized in central facilities to display the status of blowers, pumps, and compressor units, as well as temperatures, pressures, and so on.

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Edvard Csanyi

Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.

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