Electrical: Circuit protection

June 28, 2023

The electrical engineer is responsible for designing power distribution systems for buildings. Understanding the full circuit-protection requirements will enable the engineer to design the safest and most reliable electrical distribution systems for buildings.

The electrical engineer carries a large responsibility to the public when designing power distribution systems for buildings. The design must protect against faults and overloads while also providing adequate personnel protection and minimizing disruption.

Unfortunately, there is not a clear, concise “recipe” to follow for such designs. Rather, it requires constant study of the ever-changing codes and standards that can be interpreted in various ways, and then properly applying them into an actionable design.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the different types of overcurrent protective device strategies to apply in building electrical systems.
  • Recognize the difference between ground-fault protection for equipment (GFPE) versus ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI; protection for personnel).
  • Review how to protect against the various types of faults.
  • Learn best practices for design via case studies and project examples.