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Electrical Inspection

Electrical Systems Inspection: Types and Importance

Electrical inspections ensure long-term safety and functionality of your electrical system. Learn about initial and periodic checks to be conducted

Conducting electrical inspections, and doing so correctly, is essential to avoid any risks associated with poor installation, breakdowns, or malfunctions, and to maintain the efficiency and functionality of the system over time.

Even before conducting inspections on the already implemented system, it is crucial to remember the importance of proper electrical system design, done in compliance with current regulations. Especially for large-scale projects, the task is not entirely simple: the advice is to rely on 3D MEP modeling software for systems perfectly integrated with the building’s architecture and structure.

In this article, we provide an overview of the topic by analyzing the types of inspections and their relative importance.

Who Conducts and How Does Electrical Inspection Work?

Electrical inspection is carried out by a specialized technician who will verify that the system complies with the standards. The technician will check a series of requirements including:

  • Presence of a general emergency switch;
  • Requirement of at least two differential switches within the electrical panel of the relevant system;
  • Presence of at least two power supply units, one dedicated to lights and one to appliances;
  • Varying number of circuit breakers;
  • Grounding system and a circuit breaker in the main control unit;
  • Positioning and installation of voltage cables and conductors;
  • Verification of proper insulation from water and humidity;
  • Presence of simple and compound switches to control lights in various rooms;
  • Installation of emergency lights activated in case of blackouts or triggered circuit breakers.

What Are the Types of Inspections on an Electrical System?

Inspections conducted by qualified technicians on the electrical system are distinguished based on their purpose and timing.
Based on purpose, we distinguish:

  • Safety inspections: to ensure that the risk level associated with the use of the system is acceptable;
  • Functionality inspections: to verify technical quality and usability.

Equally important is the certification, which formally attests to the correspondence of the implemented system with the approved project and therefore with what was agreed upon contractually.
Based on the timing of the inspections, we distinguish:

  • Initial inspections: conducted before the system is put into service;
  • Periodic inspections of electrical systems: aimed at ensuring that the technical requirements initially verified have not been compromised;
  • Extraordinary inspections: carried out in case of substantial modifications or expansions.
Types of electrical installation verification

Types of electrical installation verification

What Do Initial Electrical System Inspections Entail?

In this initial phase, the specialized technician and installer of the system proceed to verify the system’s operation.
During the initial inspection, the technician will check:

  • Absence of defects in the electrical system and its components;
  • Proper functioning of the system.

What Do Periodic Inspections of Electrical Systems Entail?

Periodic inspections of the electrical system serve to ensure that the requirements and conditions verified initially remain unchanged over time.
Periodic inspections allow to:

  • Identify any malfunctions, possibly before they turn into breakdowns;
  • Maintain the functionality and consequently the safety of the system.

Periodic inspections of electrical systems are divided into two phases:

  1. Visual inspection: the first phase is called “visual inspection”. The visual inspection is further divided into:
    • Ordinary visual inspection: this examination is carried out with the naked eye to verify the absence of obvious and clearly visible defects such as broken, missing, or damaged parts, absence of identification plates, poorly secured conductors, etc.
    • Detailed visual inspection: this phase is supported by the use of some tools and serves to evaluate the system’s condition, the conditions of the environment in which it is installed, and the functionality and quality of the materials.
  2. Technical tests: these tests, performed after the visual inspections, serve to verify the conformity of the system. These tests are also carried out by a professional who, with the right equipment, will check:
    • Protective conductors;
    • Insulation resistance;
    • SELV and PELV electrical separation;
    • Differential switches;
    • Measurement of earth resistance;
    • Voltage drop verification.

Why Is Electrical Inspection Important?

Although the question may seem superfluous, it is important to underline the main reason that makes inspections on electrical systems, whether initial, periodic, or extraordinary, important, indeed fundamental.
Let’s talk singularly, about reason, because in fact, the importance of these checks is strictly related to one aspect: that of safety!

An electrical system that is not inspected can indeed pose a danger to the safety of people and buildings.

Having said that, there is another aspect that makes inspections indispensable and not negligible: the efficiency of the system itself.

Upon closer examination, efficiency and safety are closely interconnected. Initial and periodic checks ensure the efficient operation of the system and prevent breakdowns or malfunctions, the latter connected to the potential danger of a poorly maintained system.

Highlighting the importance of system checks for safety and the protection of people and properties, it is also worth emphasizing the usefulness of relying on 3D MEP modeling software.

If you haven’t yet implemented these tools into your design workflow, fear not, you can still do so by trying them out for free now!