ELECTRICAL DISASTER A COMMON OUTBREAK
By Darlington Okoka
It happened that on the 12th of January 2018, a very hot afternoon I went to Warri in Delta State which was barely an hour thirty minutes drive from Benin City where I reside. We went for a site supervision on a site where the electrical piping was on going to ensure that our electrical designs were strictly adhered to. It was a successful journey as our trained electricians actually did the piping as specified except for some few vital corrections, at the conclusion of the supervision and signing of the approval form to commence the casting of the permanent slab, we proceeded back to Benin.
However, on our way before approaching JAKPA Junction a popular junction after airport road in Warri we saw a very big residential building in flames, we almost drove passed but we had to carefully park to see if we could render any assistance, unfortunately the gate to the affected building was locked and its occupants had all gone to work.
From my experience with my journalist friends, I have made it a point of duty to have emergency numbers on my phone (Police control room, Road Safety, Fire Service etc) I immediately went through my phone for the fire service number but the one I had was for Edo State, but since I hadn’t any other option I decided to dial the number to inform them of the incidence and where my location was, given that I was in Delta they apologized that it is a distance for them and immediately sent me a number for that of Delta State which I called and to my utmost surprise within ten minutes of my call they were already on the scene, they passed their hose over the fence, jumped the fence and tried to rescue the little they could as the inferno had almost consumed the entire building, they however did their best and rescued the building to some extent.
From their investigation, they ascertained that it was an electrical fault that caused the disaster since the fire only affected the roof top which suggests a spark from any of the cables, it was noticed that the building was wired via half conduit design. The under rated cable must have been overloaded and not being able to carry the required current as its carrying capacity have been exceeded or they would have been a joining of cable within the ceiling that was not properly insulated. These must have melted the cable and the ceiling which is PVC that is mostly not fire resistant must have caused the fire outbreak. (Note that at this time the occupants had finally arrived, went in and came down to thank all for their efforts).
It should be noted that this incident could have been prevented if there was a professional electrical design for the building which www.delwit.com can do competently and the electricians supervised to follow the drawings of the design efficiently. Electrical Designs are key requirements of every building construction from its conceptualization stage, be it a residential apartment or a commercial building. I have tried to outline some reasons why you need an electrical design in any of your building project:
- It helps to illustrate the path in which cable passes during the wiring for ease of future maintenance.
- It helps to give the accurate ratings of all cables to be used at various points.
- The ways/rating of the distribution board (DB) as well as its protection can be ascertained.
- The drawings helps to indicate which particular circuit breaker controls a particular point/equipment.
- The design also helps to ascertain that the earth path has the lowest resistance by ensuring that the earth resistance test is carried out.
- Load balancing of the various DB is considered in the design.
- The design helps to envisage the rating of the Generating set to be used in the building and other equipments expected.
- With the Electrical design, any Electrical Engineer or Electrical Technician (Electrician) can in future troubleshoot for any electrical fault with utmost ease as all the paths and points will be indicated in the drawing.
- Finally, it ease the work of the quantity surveyor and also help the client to know the quantity of electrical materials needed to complete his building.
There are many other benefits, but for the sake of this article, we shall streamline to these few and advise that an electrical design be carried out prior to the commencement of the construction of your building. I have observed that only contract projects adhere to this call for electrical design, most residential buildings don’t see reasons why it should be done but with this article, I believe your mindset will change totally for good.
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