“Common Electrical Problems in Commercial Buildings,” a report by San Luis Obispo, Calif., electrical contractor Electricraft Inc., details issues that can exist within older buildings and offers suggestions to consider when locating to newly constructed buildings.
The top concerns for newer buildings generally relate to whether the electrical system is going to support the intended use, according to the report. For example, wiring requirements for a medical clinic are different than those for an office building.
For new or newly remodeled commercial buildings, building managers set to occupy those buildings should ask to see the electrical inspection reports or specifications to ensure the electrical system is going to meet the needs of the intended use, the company wrote.
“Most likely, some electrical improvements have been made over time to meet the needs of past and current commercial occupants, but to be on the safe side, it’s best to not assume an older building’s electrical system is going to meet new business needs,” according to the report.
Electrical issues in older commercial buildings can include:
“Patchwork” wiring, where some of the wiring has been upgraded to meet the needs of some of the tenants, but other upgrades have not been done.
Old wiring that isn’t properly grounded or may be faulty in other ways
Not enough outlets
Insufficient dedicated circuits for operating specialized equipment
Electrical systems that don’t meet current electrical codes
Generally speaking, any building constructed before 1987 is considered an older building, according to the report.
“While most code enforcement agencies don’t require owners to keep their buildings updated to all current codes, technological advances in both electrical systems and business operations bring their own efficiency and safety requirements,” the company wrote. “At some point, depending on the age of the building and the age of any electrical upgrades, an inspection is in order to be sure the electrical system is safe and can support a growing business.”