10 Jan 2020

The Value Behind Section 10 Updates of the 2018 Canadian Electrical Code

For over 90 years, the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) has set the minimum standard for electrical installations. This code is core to keep all persons safe and minimize equipment damage.

Traditionally, the CEC has been updated every four years to keep up with new technologies, products, and situations in the electrical world. Yet, as industry innovations continue to advance on shorter timelines, we’ve seen this reduced to every three years, with the most current edition rolled out in 2018, containing over 260 updates and revisions.

The 2018 update has been one of the most impactful for Section 10, providing greater clarity on grounding and bonding, as it was completely revised. Reduced from 15 pages down to eight, duplicated information has been removed, while other items were streamlined, such as combining previous Tables 16A and 16B into one (now Table 16). The overall reason for this excellent rewrite is, in its most simple terms, to minimize risk and reduce severity of electrical shock through greater clarity of the code. While there are many technical changes within this update, there are key value-based benefits that will lead to improved client projects and communication across the board, particularly as they relate to oil and gas projects.

Clearer Map Forward
Section 10 is less challenging for individuals to transfer theory to applied knowledge due to its new order. The order now follows a logical sequence that aligns with how electrical equipment is installed. It is in the order of grounding, bonding, and equipotential, with the objectives for solidly grounded, impedance grounded, and ungrounded systems being clearly identified at the beginning of Section 10. This supports the design of projects as it reduces error in transferring knowledge to application, allowing for improved installation processes.

Ambiguity is Reduced
Previously, Section 0 defined the grounding and bonding definitions. Now, Section 10 introduces and defines terms that are used throughout the section. A list of these defined terms can be found here. This clarity on terminology within the section allows for improved collaboration through greater understanding and alignment.

Cost Savings Potential
Key changes to Section 10 now allow for either smaller conductors, reducing the copper requirements of specific projects, or the elimination of grounding and bonding that is no longer needed. This, along with updates to bonding bushing requirements, single identified conductors, transformers, and splicing highlight the potential for cost savings.

  • Bonding Bushings
    Bonding bushings was once a requirement on service cable connectors. Now, under some circumstances, if the bonding conductor is in direct contact with the cable’s metal sheath, it may not be necessary, eliminating the need for it.
  • Single Identified Conductors
    Section 10 now allows for a single identified conductor connection to the system grounding connector through a bonding jumper.
  • Transformers
    Transformers under 750v can now be grounded through the system bonding conductor on the primary supply side.
  • Splicing
    The wording regarding the splicing of the system grounding conductor has changed. This now allows it to be electrically continuous.

 

In effect for a little over a year, we are still seeing exactly what impact these 2018 revisions will have – both on client projects, along with the industry as a whole. Understanding why these changes were made, along with ensuring they are consistently adhered to, is crucial to keeping projects safely moving forward while remaining code compliant, both with the CEC itself and the specific provincial variances that will impact your project.

Having a partner who understands the ins and outs of these continually updated codes and standards will ensure your project has greater success. Curious to learn more about how these changes can positively support your next design project? Let us lead your next project to success. Click to get the conversation started.

 

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