Sunday, January 22, 2012

Metal-clad socket outlets

Many people consider exposed and metal-clad electrical socket outlets as one of those unnecessary objectionable sights in a building and practically put them in almost the same category as rain water down pipes and sanitary plumbing. If we have to have them, they need to be hidden away.


Photo 1 – Metal-clad electrical outlets


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In order to make these people happy, designers only use them in plant rooms, substations, mechanical and electrical risers, those kind of spaces.

The two 13A switched socket outlets in the above picture were installed inside an AHU room in an office building.

The logic behind having metal clad wall fittings inside such building spaces is obvious: toughness.

The metal casing of the unit provides better protection against possible damage caused by accidents and frequent usage.

The fact that the orange-colored wiring conduit have also been installed exposed here have nothing to do with toughness. In fact it is more to do with efficiency: technical efficiency and more importantly COST efficiency.

Normal users of the building, AND people who think of metal clad electrical sockets like rain water down pipes, rarely or never come into the plant rooms once the building construction has been completed and it is operational.

Therefore it is theoretically not cost efficient for the owner or the electrical contractor to spend the extra cost of hiding the steel conduit into the plant room concrete wall.

Then again some managers and engineers representing the owner may want only the best for the new building and would be willing to pay the little extra dollars to conceal the wiring conduit.

However, if I was in the picture and I could have my way, I would object to such move.

Personally I like exposed things. Exposed and protected.

Photo 2 – A zoomed out view

Photo 3 – Metal-clad light switch

No, this one is not a 13A socket outlet. It is a light switch that is also of a metal clad type.

It was installed in the same room as the metal clad power outlet.

So you can see that in plant rooms and non-public service areas, we go for toughness, practicality and ease of maintenance.

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