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#144472 - 12/02/05 10:25 AM Spanish Building Codes  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
I'm doing some work on a 60Hz system on a US installation in Rota, Spain, and wanted to reference the local building and electrical codes. Normally in cases like this, we just do the installation IAW NEC 2005 as if we were stateside, since we're not exactly going to have local building inspectors coming on base, but I'd still like to cover ourselves legally, should something arise. And unfortunately, I don't speak spanish beyond "Dos cerveza, por favor". What relevant codes do Spain use?

We'll be doing mechanical work as well, with crane service, if you happen to know those codes too? Thanks!

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#144473 - 12/02/05 01:13 PM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
C-H  Offline
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,497
Stockholm, Sweden
The Spanish codes will probably be ill suited to American 60 Hz equipment. If this is a US military base, embassy or similar, it would in my humble opinion be better to use the NEC and put a note saying that is was done in accordance with the NEC.

If your are working on Spanish property (with Spanish electricans), you will...ummm...have an unique opportunity to learn something radically new. [Linked Image]

The Spanish codes consist of the ELECTROTÉCNICO PARA BAJA TENSIÓN\" and the standard UNE 20460 "Instalaciones eléctricas en edificios".

If the title doesn't make any sense to you, a slight comfort could be that the standard is based on the same document as the British wiring regs. Some introduction to this can be found on the net. Apart from the language, the EU member states have their own variations that are greater than the local variations in the US.

#144474 - 12/02/05 07:07 PM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
Wolfgang  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
the very West of Germany
Either you're working on American ground and under US laws, then keep to the code!

or not, then

Hands off, you're neither licensed nor able to combine American material with any European code.

#144475 - 12/02/05 09:46 PM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
Ah, thanks guys. Maybe I would be better off just not listing it at all, my predecessors never bothered to [Linked Image] Nor were the spanish codes listed in the contract when we did another job at this same location last year. Maybe I'll just reference them vice fully invoking them, at least it will be listed. To be honest I'm not sure if this building is US leasing Spanish federal land or considered US sovereign territory, but nobody ever bothers us. I thought I might have a chance to make an improvement to the contract but now that it's come to it, I'm very hesitant to invoke a code I can't even read aside from a poor babelfish translation...

I won't be the man with my hands in the switchboard on this, but I'm ultimately the engineer at the top of the pyramid and responsible for it all. I've got some good technicians that keep me straight, should the contractor try to pull stuff, and they always do. We like to ensure we've got our bases covered in the contract up-front so we can point out everything they did wrong. I know full well I'll have to pay to fix it (one way or another), but pointing fingers when something goes wrong makes you feel better, right??

[This message has been edited by SteveFehr (edited 12-02-2005).]

[This message has been edited by SteveFehr (edited 12-02-2005).]

#144476 - 12/03/05 03:53 AM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
Wolfgang  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
the very West of Germany
Just curious:

Where do you get the 60 Hz from. Is it an independant grid?
This issue has nothing to do with the code topic being rather a philosophical issue.

#144477 - 12/03/05 05:20 AM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
All I can say mate is best of luck and keep us posted on what is going on there.
You don't need a whole grid to have a 60Hz system.
A supply system can be as large or as small as you want it to be.
As long as it is independant of any other gear around it, what's the problem?.

#144478 - 12/03/05 06:19 AM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
Wolfgang  Offline
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 153
the very West of Germany
Maybe it is just a wrong word. In German I would use "Netz" for everything from 10 receptacles up to the Western European power grid.

As a matter of fact more or less all American bases here in Europe have their own 60 Hz power system, sometimes both parallel. I just do not know whether it is typically done by a separate own generator or by a motor / generator coupling to the local power grid or both or whatever.

#144479 - 12/03/05 08:42 AM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
Alan Belson  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Mayenne N. France
C-H got it nearly right when he said "...ummm.." What he should have said was "Arrrgggghhhh!"


Wood work but can't!

#144480 - 12/03/05 12:16 PM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
If it's a U.S. base with American equipment on its own 60Hz supply, then I would wire to the NEC and not worry about local codes.

Your installation is practically guaranteed to be far safer than the wiring in a typical Spanish building (note "typical", not "to Spanish code.")

#144481 - 12/03/05 03:54 PM Re: Spanish Building Codes  
djk  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,237
That's a really dodgy area. although, I don't think that Spain was historically that strict.

I wouldn't try it in Northern Europe.. you could find yourself in deep trouble should anything go wrong.

In Ireland you'd immediately leave yourself 100% liable to enormous legal implications if there was a fire/accident/shock related to the installation as it would be completely unapproved to any known irish reg.

Basically you could be sued until you were VERY VERY broke!

We don't have US bases etc.. so there would be no reason to do anything to anything other than the national codes.

Spanish regs are fine, the bad experiences of spanish wiring usually come from cheap and nasty 1950s/60s holiday apartments aimed at low budget tourists !

Any modern / proper spanish installation I've ever seen has been pretty similar to German standards.

Embassies thesedays usually don't bother to try and implement their own country's codes within the embassy building unless they're in a very underdeveloped place or connecting some very specialised equipment from home.

The US embassy in Dublin for example had plenty of BS1363 outlets on the walls and 230V everything.

It would make very little sense to have to request 120V lightbulbs from the Dept of State everytime one blew in Dublin [Linked Image]

Although I could see why a North American embassy might want 60Hz 120V available in Europe for specialised equipment or why a European Embassy in the US or Canada might want 230V 50hz available for the same reasons, but for the vast majority of things it makes more sense to just stick with local codes.

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 12-03-2005).]

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