What is an electrical plan?

An electrical plan is also known as an electrical drawing or a wiring diagram. It is a kind of visual representation which bears the blueprint symbols of all the electrical components in electrical house plans or various building construction projects. In other words, electrical plans describe electrical circuits and systems that build up the electrical house plans or building plans. An electrical engineer who works on various construction projects creates an electrical drawing. The engineer outlines the electric planning with different symbols and lines forming a detailed electrical circuit. These drawings are a means of representation for the clients, who will carry out the actual wiring process. In a nutshell, an electrical plan showcases the circuitry with the proper placement of electric components.

As a brief overview, a proper electrical plan contains the following details:

  • Interconnection of electrical wiring and other systems.
  • Connection of various apparatus and fixtures.
  • Detailed power lines representation bearing, voltage, power rating, capacity, etc.
  • Transformer details along with winding details.
  • Representation of main switches, miniature circuit breaker (MCB), and fuse switches.
  • Wiring of other appliances like air-conditioners, solar panels, batteries, generators, etc.
Wiring architecture of a start-run relay
CC SA 1.0 | Image Credits: https://en.wikipedia.org | Leonard G

Flow of electricity at home

Electricity is transmitted to a building or a residential home through overhead powerlines, or underground electrical wirings. Before entering a household, electricity passes through a watt-hour meter. This watt-hour meter is a small device that measures the amount of electricity consumed. It then continues and enters into the service control panel, or load center, where MCBs and fuse switches are located. The electricity is distributed throughout the home through branched circuits that power the ceiling fan, light switches that power the house's lightings, and other appliances.

Electrical symbols and wiring

The blueprint of the electrical plan should contain proper wiring and electrical symbols easily understood by the electrician. The electrical plan symbols are the standardized visual representation of the electrical components. It reduces the task of repeated writing of the name of components through the electrical plan.
Electrical symbols are majorly used in buildings to denote the type of appliance and exact locations of the components. These are drawn by an electrical engineer at the top of the building's floor plan. They specifically indicate lighting outlets, receptacle outlets, any special purpose outlets, fan outlets, air-conditioning outlets, geyser outlets, main switch outlets, and lighting switch outlets. For instance, the diagram below shows the symbol of a power source included in an electrical plan.

Symbol of a power source which forms a major symbol in an electrical plan

Outlets are the points in an electrical plan from where the appliances are powered. Outlets are generally of two types as indicated in an electrical diagram- receptacle outlet and lighting outlet.
One of the main characteristics of an electric plan blueprint is the dashed lines. These are drawn between the symbols and signify which switches control lighting and related receptacles. Lighting outlets show the direct connection of wiring to light fixtures, ceiling fans, and lamp holders. Receptacle outlets are those, which allow multiple installations of receptacles for attachment of sockets and plugs.

Steps for drafting a proper electrical plan

A properly drafted electrical and lighting plan, along with neat and clean electrical installation, ensures long-term efficient electricity flow throughout the building, ensures safety, and adds aesthetics to the interiors. A few methods used to draft a proper electric plan are:

1. Knowledge of layout

In this step, a scaled drawing of the rooms is drafted on a graph or through the software. The scaled drawing should include the detailed features and positioning of cabinets, furniture, counters, stove, bed, table, chairs, etc. It is similar to an architectural drawing hence, it should be drawn using proper symbols.

2. Planning

Proper planning is a must for the electrical wiring layout. A decision about the wiring before plastering saves time. It can run through the interior or exterior of the walls, or beneath the floors.

3. Initial point of planning process

The interior of a building is the starting point for the electrical installation. In a good plan, the switches for air-conditioners, ceiling fans, and lights are placed next to exits or entrances. Outlets are placed near the tables, cabinets, furniture, and table. The placement of switches for television, washing machine, computer, etc. should be planned accordingly.

4. Walkthrough

The plan is handheld and analyzed by making a physical walkthrough in the rooms and building floor. A thorough analysis points out and removes any bottlenecks in the drawing. Any additional features can be added to the sheet if required.

Purpose of an electrical plan

There is some essential purpose of drafting an electrical plan:

  • The diagrams are crucial for communicating and documentation purposes. It also helps in troubleshooting power plans on-site.
  • A properly planned and updated electrical drawing keeps the building under the guidelines and codes.
  • A plan's drawing is based on the building structure, therefore it ensures safety in the long run and ensures zero chance of short-circuiting.
  • It accurately distributes power and electricity to various appliances under their current rating.
  • An optimized plan saves money and resources.

Context and Applications

This topic is taught in many undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses like:

  • Bachelors of Technology (Electrical Engineering)
  • Bachelors of Technology (Instrumentation Engineering)
  • Master of Technology (Electrical Engineering)

Practice Problems

Q1. Which of the following component falls under receptacles?

a. Wall sockets

b. Lighting outlets

c. Switch outlets

d. Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)

Answer: Option a

Explanation: The wall sockets falls under the receptacle components.

Q2. Which of the following are the members of an electrical plan?

a. Lighting plan

b. Outlet positionings

c. Switch positioning and locations

d. All of these

Answer: Option d

Explanation: A proper electrical plan includes lighting plan, outlet positioning, switch positioning and locations.

Q3. Which professionals handles an electrical wiring project?

a. Electrical engineers

b. Electricians

c. Both a and b

d. None of these

Answer: Option c

Explanation: An electrical wiring project is handled by both electrical engineers and electricians.

Q4. What is the benefit of walkthrough?

a. It helps in determining the wiring bottlenecks and troubleshooting.

b. It helps in figuring out construction faults.

c. It helps to figure out proper positioning of furniture, beds, etc.

d. All of these.

Answer: Option a

Explanation: A walkthrough is the final step after drafting a wiring plan. It helps in determining the wiring bottlenecks and troubleshooting.

Q5. Where the electrical symbols are drawn by the engineers?

a. They are drawn above the floor plan.

b. They are drawn in an additional sheet.

c. They are drawn at the back of the plan.

d. Both a and b

Answer: Option a

Explanation: Electrical symbols are drawn above the housing floor plan by the engineers.

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