Commercial electricians work on electrical fixtures and systems used by commercial power consumers such as manufacturing plants. Since commercial entities typically use higher voltage electricity compared to residential power users, the skill level of commercial electricians are generally more skilled in comparison to their residential counterparts. Some of the tasks that commercial electricians perform include:
Installing Electrical Fixtures
A key service offered by commercial electricians is installing electrical fixtures. This includes installing electrical wiring, sockets, ground wires, switches, and connecting power to industrial machinery. Nevertheless, commercial electricians usually undertake projects that require permits and inspection. Additionally, commercial electricians with a good understanding of heavy machinery electrical systems offer bespoke services such as bobcat service and backhoe service.
The nature of electrical installations that require permits and inspections vary from one state to the next depending on factors like applicable electrical codes. For instance, most states require commercial electricians to obtain permits for electrical work that involves fire alarms, burglar systems, meterbases and masts, circuit wiring, panelboards, standby power generators, and telecommunications systems. In Illinois, commercial electricians are required to obtain separate licensing to install or maintain fire and burglar alarm systems according to the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
Complying With Electrical Codes
An important duty that an electrician new construction must fulfill is complying with electrical codes applicable at the national, state, county, or municipal level. According to the NECA, some states like Colorado have adopted and modified the National Electrical Code (ANSI/NFPA standard 70) to suit local commercial electrical power consumption needs. At the same time, some states have adopted the National Electrical Safety Code (ANSI/IEEE standard C2). It is also worth noting states such as have no electrical codes applicable statewide. In such cases, it is up to local authorities at the county and municipal levels to set and enforce codes governing electrical installations, repairs, and upgrades. As such, a commercial electrician must have a good grasp of the local electrical codes and regulations before accepting work from clients.
Diagnosing Electrical Faults and Problems
Over time, electrical fixtures in office buildings develop faults and problems such as short circuits and loose connections. Such problems, which are potentially dangerous, require a commercial electrician to diagnose the problem and recommend the right corrective measures. A good example of a fault diagnosis technique is the continuity test, which electricians perform using specialized equipment including ohmmeters. The aim is to identify the source of electrical power faults. To perform this task properly, one must be a licensed commercial electrical contractor and knowledgeable on local electrical codes. In Illinois, electrical contractors (both residential and commercial) do not require statewide licensing to offer their services to clients. Nevertheless, municipalities are authorized to license electrical contractors.
Electrical Repairs and Maintenance
After diagnosing electrical faults, commercial electricians can perform the relevant repairs. In addition, they can carry out regular maintenance checks on commercial electrical fixtures. Once again, repairs and maintenance must comply with regulations governing local electrical codes. Moreover, electricians must ensure repairs and maintenance undertakings comply with the Illinois Energy Conservation Code (IECC). According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the aim of this code is to reduce air pollution, cut energy demand, and stabilize energy costs. Illinois authorities reckon that adoption of this code can help commercial electrical power consumers cut energy usage by a whopping 32.1%.
Designing Electrical Systems
In many cases, commercial electrical contractors design the electrical systems installed in grocery stores, factories, large retail centers, medical facilities, and restaurants. Where necessary,these systems must comply with local municipal codes. For example, certain cities require commercial electricians to comply with the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS) and Section 6 of Article VII of the Constitution of the State of Illinois.
Cities that adopted the National Electrical Code (NFPA-70) have to design electrical systems that comply with NEC codes. If one flouts this code, an electrical inspector from the Inspection Department can require commercial building residents/owners to update their electrical systems. Unless satisfied with changes made, an inspector cannot issue a permit showing that electrical installations and systems comply with municipal electrical codes.
A commercial electrician will perform myriad tasks including designing electrical systems, installing electrical fixtures, diagnosing electrical faults, as well as carrying out electrical repairs and maintenance tasks. While performing these duties, they must comply with all the electrical codes adopted or enacted by local authorities.
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