At present the home construction industry does not produce an electrical design. The architect drafts up reflected ceiling plans that show locations of light fixtures, receptacles and sometimes locations of light switches. The builder will forward these drawings to the electrician to complete the electrical construction. What is missing from these reflected ceiling plans is the electrical control aspect. An electrical design will incorporate this electrical control aspect.
When an electrician starts to wire the lights in a room he has to decide where the lights will be switched from and also how many groups of lights will there be in that room. For example; four recessed pot lights around the perimeter of the room, two wall scones on either side of the fireplace, two picture lights on a wall and a center chandelier. The electrician now decides to put all the light switches by the entrance or throughout the room at various locations. In the first case the light switches are ganged together in a large unsightly panel and in the second case to turn all the lights on/off in that room would require walking around the entire room finding all the light switches. Now this example is only one room in a home; multiply this by eight.
Outside/landscape lighting is another electrical control concern. There is no direction given to an electrician on how to connect the outside/landscape lights. In most cases if the outside lights are on the house, the light switch is brought inside the house next to the room switches. This adds more switches to the already large unsightly panel. Also, switches are distributed throughout the house to accommodate outside lights on upper and lower levels. Landscape lights on the other hand are put on timers that need to be adjusted seasonally and are not able to be switched from inside the home.
Security is an important issue with homeowners these days. What better way to enhance security by including the lighting as part of the security system. Electricians can only isolate specific lights that are dedicated for security purposes. (motion sensors) Homeowners can also buy timers and connect them to lamps in the home to give a false lived in look. Wouldn’t it be nice if various rooms lights came on/off on a schedule to give a true lived in look.
Other electrical considerations are fireplace and motorized drapery controls. Most fireplaces have a switch located on a wall to turn the fire on/off. Motorized drapery also requires switches to be located on walls to raise/lower the blinds. Now add these switches with the light switches and what do you have; a very large unsightly panel of switches.
An electrical design will gather all switching requirements for the home. Determine what level of control is acceptable and propose an electrical control system to meet these needs. Prepare drawings and specifications for construction and provide inspection services to ensure the electrical control system is installed properly.