Construction Maintenance Electrician

What Electrician Diploma Students Should Know About Reading Layouts

October 08, 2019

As an electrician (particularly a construction electrician), it’s important to be able to understand how to read electrical blueprints or layouts. With these layouts, you will have a better understanding of how electrical systems are to be built, and where all the various parts (eg. light fixtures, switches, wires) need to go. That said, they can be a bit complicated to look through at first. Luckily, it’s easier to get the hang of than you might think.

Regardless of all the symbols and more specialized aspects you may encounter while reading them, there are ways you can effectively interpret an electrical plan without too much trouble. Here’s what you should know about reading layouts if you’re studying to become an electrician.

Read What’s in the Architectural Layout Before the Electrical One

When you look at the floorplan for the building’s architectural layout first, you’ll get a good sense of how much space you have to work with, where things are, and where electrical parts should logically go. Not only that, but you’ll have information about the layout that isn’t necessarily in the electrical portion of the plan. This can help you identify potential conflicts between the architectural and electrical plans that you may not have noticed by only looking at the electrical plan. Either way, you’re going to need to understand what sort of parameters and space you have to work with, since you’ll have to work within them to make sure all the wires are in the right place and able to deliver power throughout the building in ways that are safe for everyone and compliant with bylaws and regulations.

Electrical plans can be full of symbols and diagrams an electrician needs to fully understand

Familiarize Yourself With the Wiring Diagrams and Symbol Legend Before Getting Started

In many electrical layouts, there will be symbols representing various parts, and it’s important to study the symbol legend before you start working. Once you understand the symbols legend, you’ll be able to work faster and more efficiently. The legend will help you understand what the symbols are, what they mean, and where various components need to be. The plans for the project’s electrical components will also likely show diagrams of the paths the wires will take between the different pieces of equipment—important to keep in mind since you will be learning about residential wiring in your maintenance electrician training. This will show you the breakers running each wire, as well as which items within the house (eg. lights) are grouped or phased together onto one breaker.

It will take proper training as an electrician to have a fundamental understanding of blueprints

Your Electrician Training Will Help You to Read Blueprints

All instructions of the electrical layout have to be followed exactly as written—or drawn—and sometimes the information presented can be overwhelming and will require specialized knowledge on electrical components. For example, you’ll need to understand how power across lines will be distributed, as well as the circuit’s flow and critical points where separate wires connect. It sounds like a lot to take in, but it is important information to remember so that the job is done effectively and so that fire, sparks or other hazards can be avoided. Fortunately, in electrician training you will learn how to read blueprints and building layouts, as well as the fundamental principles of electricity. At the end of the day, no part of the layout can be misinterpreted or ignored, and learning about plans and layouts will help you become a better electrician.

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