Safety should always be at the forefront of every electrical project, and electrical wiring is no different. For both commercial and residential properties, electrical wiring can be a complex project which requires the knowledge and expertise of a licensed electrical contractor, who can ensure that the work is completed safely and in compliance with the Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA) electrical code. Though completing electrical work in commercial and residential spaces are similar, wiring in commercial spaces requires more attention to detail, since the wiring needs to be configured to accommodate for any heavy equipment or machinery needed within the space.
The three main methods for electrical wiring in commercial buildings are cable assemblies, raceways and conductors, and busways.
The use of a cable assembly is incredibly common when it comes to electrical wiring in a commercial space. Cable assemblies usually contain an equipment grounding conductor with multiple insulated and neutral phase conductors. Cable assemblies can be custom ordered, and usually come with THHN/THWN (thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon jacket/thermoplastic heat and water-resistant nylon jacket) or XHHW-2 (XLPE high heat-resistant and water-resistant) copper or aluminum conductors.
Compared to the other wiring methods, a few advantages of using cable assemblies is a that the installation is cheaper and takes less time, in addition to cable routing flexibility. On the other hand, a disadvantage is that it is not possible to change the circuit configuration once installed, and as a result more planning is required during the cable procurement and configuration stages.
Raceways and Conductors
Using the raceway and conductor method is also common when it comes to electrical wiring. The use of raceways and conductors usually involves a tube or conduit with an equipment grounding conductor and multiple insulated phase. As with every type of electrical project, the actual design and installation will vary depending on the commercial property’s needs and specifications. Similarly to cable assemblies, the most common type of conductors are copper/aluminum THHN/THWN or XHHW. Usually, copper is used for branch circuits while aluminum is used for feeders.
An advantage of raceways and conductors compared to the cable assembly method is that it allows for changes in circuit configuration, and raceways can be easily used for remodelling projects. On the other hand, some disadvantages are higher installation costs compared to other wiring methods, and a complex installation process due to more rigid routing requirements.
The third most common method of commercial wiring is a busway, which is an enclosed raceway with factory-mounted busbars. Busways are compatible with either insulated or bare conductors, and are usually configured as either a plug in style, or feeder style. One of the biggest benefits of the busway method is that it is available in multiple ampere ratings ranging from 60 to 4,000 A, and compared to multiple conduits, it is smaller in size and more compact. In addition, the total voltage drop has a lesser impact with busways. In contrast, some of the disadvantages of using the busway method is a higher installation cost, and that the busways tend to be susceptible to failure if there are any water leaks within the property. Also, depending on the layout of the space, there may be limited space for the installation of bus plugs.
Though these three commercial wiring methods are most commonly used, there may be other alternative methods available. Here at Made Electric, we can guide you through all possible wiring methods and advise you on the best configuration for your commercial property. Don’t hesitate to contact MADE ELECTRIC today! We are an ESA licensed company with years of experience, and we provide quality service in both commercial and residential areas. Our team operates within Scarborough and the GTA, and we are committed to helping meet all of your needs.