Architectural designs and electrical layouts need to cooperate

by | Nov 23, 2021 | Uncategorized

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Things should be planned at the design stage

There was a time when most homes were built with one ceiling light and one powerpoint to a room – perhaps two of each in the lounge. 

The wiring plans were simple, and so were the building plans. That was mere decades ago, but it’s light years away from the complexity of electrical systems and design considerations in today’s builds. 

The devices we rely on to make our lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable are no longer just in our buildings, they are increasingly part of them. Think digital networks, heating and ventilation, home entertainment and security systems, and EV chargers.

As buildings have become more technical, standards and regulations have also become stricter. Planning for these systems needs to happen at the design stage with coordination of the architectural plans and electrical layouts. 

Early involvement of the electrical trades can identify risks, assure compliance with code regulations, and ensure all electrical and electronic systems run safely, efficiently, and smoothly.

Coorperation for better design, energy efficiency & sustainability

It can also create opportunities for better design. While architects need to know some things about electrical set-ups and the electrical code, they are not electricians, and can benefit from the specialist’s technical and product knowledge.

An electrician might advise where to allow space or access for servicing HVAC systems or design a custom lighting solution to highlight an architectural feature. 

They may offer practical ways to future-proof a home, for example by specifying trunking for future cabling or removable skirting boards to allow wiring to be extended or upgraded.

On large commercial projects, the number and scope of electrical services makes effective coordination between architects and electrical trades even more important. A coordinated approach can prevent costly mistakes and delays and minimise hazards. 

The electrical layout for a commercial project will include lighting, network and communication systems, fire alarm and smoke-control systems, building automation, HVAC, water heating, security, specialised audio and video, refrigeration and possibly lifts and escalators. 

Architects and electricians working together can enhance energy efficiency and sustainability, and plan for future needs by installing additional conduits or draw wires and ensuring safe access to key service areas.

For example, if mechanical and electrical engineers are involved at the space-planning stage, they can advise where rooms are needed for their systems to run efficiently. The architect can then design mechanical and electrical rooms into the plans instead of squeezing them in as an afterthought.

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