Commercial electrical concerns and costs

By Brian Edwards

A major consideration in the selection of new business premises is the capacity of the service to meet current and future needs. Upgrading can be expensive and time consuming depending on the equipment and procedures required.

Determining the required service size should be an important part of your relocation planning in conjunction with your staff and outside professionals if required.

Is your current service adequate for you present needs with a comfortable reserve capacity? Assuming that one reason for your move is plant expansion, will the new service provide adequate capacity?

If additional power may be required, is it available on the street or close by. Contacting the local hydro authority for answers.

The electrical room or main service location should be readily accessible and clear of storage or obstructions as required by applicable codes and work place safety legislation? If not, make sure required changes can be made easily.

An important next consideration should be the branch wiring distribution, sub panels or disconnects currently in use. Chances are most of this equipment is dedicated to current uses of the building, meaning removal expenses will be required before new equipment can be positioned and installed.

Experience has shown that older buildings especially those which have seen numerous and varied occupancies have a disturbing amount of abandoned or unused electrical systems which should be removed entirely before a facility can be safely and coherently rewired.

Energy efficient lighting requirements should form part of this planning so that upgrading can be completed as part of change use planning.

A back up power supply is a worthwhile consideration should a power failure interrupt key functions. Standby generators are available in various sizes and can be powered by gasoline or natural gas fueled engines. Roof top units are available which can solve the problem of where to put it when space or noise considerations are an issue.

A licensed electrical contractor should perform all work and major changes or upgrades should be subject to a permit and inspection process. Too often electrical work is done by well intentioned but unskilled “handymen” or maintenance staff with potentially dangerous results.

Article by Brian Edwards M.A.A.T.O, B.C.Q, President of Westbrook Building Inspections Ltd. hope this helps and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Century Office Building Conversion

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