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Swith Room Design Guide

Low voltage (LV) switchrooms are common across all industries and one of the more common spatial
requirements which need to be designed into a project. Main LV switchrooms will typically contain free
standing switchboards and Motor Control Centres (MCC), along with auxiliary equipment required for
the room to function (bus ducts & cable containment, distribution boards, lighting, small power, air-
conditioning equipment, fire fighting, etc.). In addition LV switchrooms often also house other related
equipment marshalling panels, UPS systems, control panels etc..

This article gives some design guidance for the correct sizing of these rooms.


In laying out the LV switchroom, actual switchboard dimensions should be used. Typical switchboard
dimensions would be:

height would be 2.2 m (2000 mm for the switchboard and a 200 mm plinth)

width 600 mm to 1050 mm depending on construction

depth 600 mm

weight 200 to 400 kg per panel

Room Dimensions

Switchroom Clearances
Clearances around switchboards should comply to local regulations. In the absence of other guidelines
the following minimums can be used:

Switchboards rear clearance

0 cm for front entry switchboard

75 cm for rear entry switchboard

Switchboard side clearance

100 cm for all switchboard

Switchboard front clearance

70 cm (150 cm preferred) for all switchboards

Vertical clearance above switchboard

400 mm (may require additional)

Design Considerations

access for personnel (normal and emergency)

access for equipment (installation, operation and maintenance)

regulatory compliance and approvals

cable containment and entries

earthing and grounding

water sealing (if below ground)

air conditioning, lighting & small power

fire detection, alarm and suppression

Environmental Category
Room climate is to IEC 60721-3-3
IR1 (indoor) - good heat insulation, air conditioned; office, shops, etc.

IR2 (indoor) - good heat insulation, air conditioned, heating/air conditioning may out of service for
several days

IR3 (indoor) - no heat insulation, not air conditioned

Medium Voltage Switchgear Room Design Guide

Many medium voltage (MV) indoor switchgear rooms exist worldwide. The complexity of these rooms
varies considerably depending on location, function and technology adopted by the owner. This article
provides general guidance on the factors to be considered in the design of a typical room

Typical Switch room Equipment


The positioning of indoor MV switchboards requires careful consideration. Suitable access around the
switchboard for maintenance, withdrawing of circuit breakers, safety and regulatory compliance needs
to be allowed. Under fault conditions many switchgear require a minimum clear space above for the
venting of gases. Attention needs to be given to the fixing down of switchboards and cable entry into
and out of the switchboards.:

Protection Panels
While relays can be incorporated within the switchboards, often they are installed in separate panels/racks.
Provision needs to be made for the installation of any protection panels and control cabling to the associated

Auxiliary Systems & Other Considerations

In addition to major equipment, there is whole host of other systems and issues which need to be considered in
the design of any given installation:
Earthing & Lightning Protection - given the high levels of fault current associated with MV switch
rooms, consideration of the earthing (grounding) is an important aspect of the design. Earthing systems
need to provide adequate paths for fault current, ensure sufficient current for relay operation and limit
step and touch potentials to safe values. Lightning protection if necessary needs to be installed and
coordinated with the earthing system to provide a safe means to discharge any strike to ground.

SCADA - modern relays, switchgear and automation rely heavily on SCADA systems for operation and
engineering access. These can become quite significant requiring equipment racks and associated cable

DC Systems protection relays often work with dc supplies. Space provision for suitable dc supplies
(rectifier, controls, batteries, etc.) needs to be considered in developing the switch room layout.

Cable Containment power MV cabling, low voltage cabling, control and SCADA cabling and optical
fibres all require to be routed between equipment as well as into and out of the building. This can
require significant space in terms of cable ladders and trenching. In many installation basement or
below floor space is utilized for cable containment.

Building Services - whilst the purpose of the switch room is to hold the MV equipment, building
services (lighting, small power, fire detection and protection, ventilation and air-conditioning, security
and access control all need to be considered and provided where appropriate. To provide the building
services an external low voltage supply will be required.

EMF - there is a growing concern over the effect of EMF on the human body. Where people have access
to areas surrounding switch rooms cable distribution paths it is necessary to establish that the
associated EMF levels are below recommended limits.

Switch room Layout

Switch rooms are built to house switchgear and associated systems (cables, dc systems, SCADA and
cable containment). Suitable provision should be made within the room for all these systems. In addition
requirements such as toilets, desks, telephones, security systems, etc. may need to be considered.

Much of the equipment located within the switch room is large and heavy. Suitable provision should be
made for access to the switch room, entrance into the room and moving the equipment around.
Installation and removal of individual items of equipment should be possible with the switchroom live.
Care needs to be taken around columns and other obstructions to ensure that clearance distances are

It is good practice (and a regulatory requirement in many countries) to provide at least two means of
emergency egress. Doors providing emergency egress should open outwards.

Entry/exit to the building needs to be considered carefully to ensure suitable access and that water does
not leak/enter the room.

Switchgear Room Dimensioning

Each switch room is unique and needs to be considered in relation to the specific equipment which will be
installed. As an illustration, the diagram below shows simple room layout consisting of a 22 kV switchboard, some
DC and SCADA panels (click for a larger image).

The layout illustrates some of the key dimensions and issues to be considered:

Circuits the room has been designed for a 22 kV system of five circuits and a bus-coupler, give a total
of seven panels (two for the bus-coupler). Depending on actual number of circuits the room width can
be easily expanded or reduced. Provision has also been made for the installation of future panels.

Switchboard Size the arrangement is based on 600x1000mm panels. Should the actual panels be
larger the necessary adjustments would have to be made.

Clearances minimum statutory clearances always need to be observed. In addition to statutory limits,
the designer needs to ensure there is adequate clearance for operational and maintenance
requirements often these would be larger than statuary minimums.

Front Entry the scheme shown allows for access to the rear of the switchboard. Should the
switchboard require only front access, the rear space could be reduced (to say 100 mm, just keeping the
switchboard from the wall).

Height sufficient height needs to be allowed to ensure adequate movement and operation of the
switchboards. In practice, a height of 3700 mm is typical. Depending on type of switchboard this may
need to be increased to allow for the exhaust of arc gasses during fault conditions.
Not shown on the example is lighting and air-conditioning systems. Given a room height of 3700 mm
and space shown as the front of the layout, there is sufficient space to easily accommodate these

CT selection guide

hii..I am a beginner .I am working on the CT saturation modelling in MATLAB.can anybody help me about
how could i select a proper CT for a given power system ?


The use of CTs -Metering or protection? I f for metering if it is electronic meters then secondary current
should be 1A, for electromagnetic type secondary should be 5A. The primary of CT should be capable of
carrying the full load current flowing in the circuit .For protection CTS protection ratings(5P10, 5P5)
should be considered. -

its very simple first off all see the main breaker current rating and and bus-bar size according
to current rating and select same rating of CT as like if main breaker is 100 A then you are
must b installed CT 100/5
IF 66kv CT with secondary 1 ampere is installed on 66kv line bay,What would be the 66 kv CT with
secondary for transformer bay,will it be 1 ampere or 5 ampere? -

You could make both work, but my suggestion would be to stick with 1 A.