Study of lightning protection. What does it consider? How is it carried out?

In every construction project it is essential to consider lightning protection in order to comply with standards. Aplicaciones Tecnológicas offers a complete service of lightning protection study which includes the necessary technical documents, calculations and plans to offer the appropriate project according to the needs and standards.

It is not only about complying to regulations, lightning protection systems are essential to prevent destructive effects such as damage to buildings or destruction of equipment due to overvoltage, fires or electrocutions. These damages can cause direct economic loss due to damages in buildings and equipment caused by lightning strikes or fires caused by discharges. Besides, they can also cause indirect damages. The interruption of a service, the downtimes in manufacturing processes and the starting and stopping of machinery if control equipment is affected by a lightning strike are consequences of poor management in lightning protection systems.

There are material risks, but mostly there are risks for the people who live or work in the buildings and who may suffer irreversible damage.

This is why lightning protection studies cover all possible risks, including internal lightning protection against overvoltage and earthing. Besides, these studies can establish the need or suitability of including lightning prevention systems for those cases considered in standards (IEC/UNE-EN 62793).

How is a lighting protection study carried out?

Aplicaciones Tecnológicas has been offering the best lightning protection study service for 30 years to construction companies, architecture studios, engineering companies, distributors and installation companies.

To carry out a lightning protection study it is necessary to gather information about the project characteristics ant its location.

lightning protection study from Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A

What data is requested in the external protection project?

  • Floor and elevation plan or section. Elevations of the building and plans in DWG, DXF or PDF formats.
  • Site or location of the building including environmental factors (height in relation to the surrounding buildings) or geological factors (type of ground).
  • Type of building structure (metal, concrete, wood) to determine the risk of damage and the down conductor system.
  • Occupancy, especially if there are going to be workers inside the building or if there is risk of panic.
  • The existence of toxic, explosive or flammable substances in the structure.
  • Whether or not the structure has a transformation station and if the service lines (electricity supply, telecommunications) are buried or aerial.
  • Definition of the area to be protected on the plan and information about the electrical supply and wiring.

Besides, to complete the information for the internal protection, the single line diagram of the building is needed. This has to consider the number of main and secondary switchboards, their voltage and phases as well as the data and telephone lines.

Along with the information included in plans and electrical diagrams, the roof of the building and the elements that protrude from it must be taken into consideration.

H2: What does this lightning protection study consider?

This study is carried out by the technical support department composed by lightning protections experts. Those who request it will receive a report which contains:

  • Study of risk calculation.
  • Basic indications of the installation
  • Study of coverage adapted to the building or group of buildings to be protected
  • Installation proposal
  • List of necessary materials.
  • Materials and labor budget.

Lightning protection consists of a capturing system (ESE lightning rods or Franklin rods and meshes) with down conductors and earthing systems, surge protection devices and other measures to minimize the destructive effects of lightning, such as equipotential bonding, shielding, etc.

Our experts study all the particular characteristics of each project and determine further proposals such as internal lightning protection or preventive protection, recommended for open areas or projects with flammable materials.

The project is usually carried out considering external lightning protection with ESE lightning rods.

external lightning protection with ESE lightning rods from Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A

ESE lightning rods base their operation on lightning physics emitting a continuous upward leader with time of advance to provide a safe path to the ground and capture it before any other object within its protection area. This protection radius is greater with our ESE lightning rod than with other solutions due to its particular mechanism. This wide protection radius allows to protect locations with opencast activities which often bring together a high number of people and personnel.

In these cases ESE lightning rods prove their greater effectiveness. With other lightning rods such as Franklin rods and meshes it is almost impossible to protect open areas effectively since their protection radius is much lower.

What is the applicable standard?

ESE lightning rods must be installed following the specific regulations. In Spain, the current standard is the second edition of UNE21186, published in 2011. For new buildings, it is required to carry out a risk study according to section SU8 of the Technical Code for Construction (CTE). In this section there are some basic rules for the installation of ESE lightning rods.

Other applicable standards for ESE lightning rods:

NF C 17-102:2011: «Protection contre la foudre – Systèmes de protection contre la foudre à dispositif d’amorçage» (France).

NP 4426:2013: «Proteção contra descargas atmosféricas – Sistemas com dispositivo de ionização não radioativo» (Portugal).

NA 33:2014: «Proteção contra descargas atmosféricas» (Angola).

IRAM 2426:2015: «Pararrayos con dispositivo de cebado para la protección de estructuras y de edificios» (Argentina).

TS 13709:2016:  Protection against lightning – Early Streamer Emission air terminals (Turkey).

If the protection is based on Franklin rods and meshed conductors, the applicable standard in Spain is the UNE-EN 62305 with the materials described in the UNE-EN 62561. In Spain, the basic rules for risk calculation are also included in the Technical Code for Construction (CTE).

The IEC 62305 standard is applied internationally for conventional protection.

In Aplicaciones Tecnológicas our group of experts work every day to innovate in lightning protection systems. It is currently necessary to protect higher structures and more expensive and sensitive equipment. Therefore, more advanced and technological protection systems are required.

For further information about our consulting services and project studies do not hesitate to contact us by following this link.