- Features | June 11, 2018
Understanding Your Jobsite Environment
After last year’s bout of hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, and cold spells across the country, product resiliency is key for contractors and engineers in 2018 as they rebuild and renovate destructed areas to withstand these natural disasters. To keep facilities up and running through extreme weather situations, it is vital for industry workers to understand the environment they are building in to better utilize appropriate cables and conduits for safe construction. Whether renovating or rebuilding from ground up, the proper installation of cables and selecting conduits with appropriate insulation and jacketing should be the primary focus during redevelopment. While some damage is non-preventable, a large portion of issues and safety hazards can be avoided through proper cabling solutions suited for different environments. Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of potentially dangerous jobsite conditions, including wet environments, fire hazard areas, and extreme temperatures.
The definition of a wet location according to the National Electric Code (NEC) is: “Installations underground or in concrete slabs or masonry in direct contact with the earth; in locations subject to saturation with water or other liquids, and in unprotected locations exposed to weather’s elements.” Even locations considered “damp” and protected from the weather are still subject to moderate degrees of moisture and require appropriate cables and conduits to protect electrical products and the overall structure of the build. In most cases, the type of conduit insulation determines the application for dry, damp, or wet environments. It is important to note that while most wires approved for damp and wet locations can be utilized in dry environments, there are properties of dry location wires that do not possess the appropriate insulation suitable in wet locations.
DON’T let armored and metal clad cables lie in stagnant floodwaters after a hurricane or rain season. Floodwaters contain sewage and numerous contaminants, which can be hazardous to electrical products. These contaminates may have a detrimental effect on the insulation system that surrounds the electrical conductor causing the insulation to fail, or worse, become conductive. Always immediately replace armored and metal clad cables when exposed to extensive moisture and water resulting from hurricanes or extreme rain.
DO use a corrosion-resistant jacket and wet location-rated conductors in areas that are predisposed to these elements. A common jacket-style cable that complies with the NEC and is rated for wet locations is a metal clad cable with a PVC or PE jacket due to their durability, moisture, oil resistance, and flame-retardant features, as well as superior resistance to weathering and soil environments.
ENVIRONMENTS SUBJECT TO WILDFIRES
As contractors begin to rebuild properties after the mass destruction of wildfires in Western states, there are simple cabling decisions and product swaps that will improve the safety of individuals and equipment in the event of another wildfire or heat-related natural disaster.
DON’T use cables composed of halogen. Halogens are commonly found in the polymers used for conduit and cabl