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Thread: Semantics of "Area Classification" and who should determined Areas

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strathead View Post
    Perhaps law is not the right term. I mean it should be spelled out in the State building code. And the why, is because it is one thing I have seen poorly done over and over, and also have had major trouble getting properly done when necessary. To me, it equates to say, fire alarm design. It is clear in my State who can and can't design a fire alarm system.
    fire alarm systems are often poorly designed. just having a license does not mean it will be done right any more than having an electrician license means electrical work will be done any better. we want to think it works that way, but there are a lot of licensed hacks in a lot of fields.

    look at the medical field. just about any employee in the same building as a patient is licensed yet medical malpractice is the number one cause of preventable deaths.

    in any case, the state building code generally has the force of law.
    Bob

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    fire alarm systems are often poorly designed. just having a license does not mean it will be done right any more than having an electrician license means electrical work will be done any better. we want to think it works that way, but there are a lot of licensed hacks in a lot of fields.

    look at the medical field. just about any employee in the same building as a patient is licensed yet medical malpractice is the number one cause of preventable deaths.

    in any case, the state building code generally has the force of law.
    Agreed, but if the code designated who was responsible it would make my job easier, even if it just meant you had a person to point the finger at, while correcting their mistakes, like fire alarm.


    I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strathead View Post
    Agreed, but if the code designated who was responsible it would make my job easier, even if it just meant you had a person to point the finger at, while correcting their mistakes, like fire alarm.
    Presumably the contract designates this. Why not look there instead of trying to pass another unneeded goofy law?
    Bob

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    Presumably the contract designates this. Why not look there instead of trying to pass another unneeded goofy law?
    It obviously often doesn't or this thread would have been a one post response.


    I know what I don't know, and I know where to go to find it!

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strathead View Post
    It obviously often doesn't or this thread would have been a one post response.
    then it would seem to make sense that when accepting a contract one would make sure one is aware of these kind of details and get some clarification on just who is responsible.
    Bob

  6. #16
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    I’ve been following this thread with some interest. I’m going to cite a few excerpts of the NEC and other Standards. I've added a few underlines for emphasis and ellipsis (…) for omitted but irrelevant material.

    From the NEC:

    ARTICLE 500
    Hazardous (Classified) Locations,
    Classes I, II, and III, Divisions 1 and 2
    InformationalNote: Rules that are followed by a reference in brackets
    containtext that has been extracted from NFPA 497-2012,
    Recommended Practice for the Classification ofFlammable
    Liquids, Gases, or Vapors and of Hazardous(Classified)
    Locations for Electrical Installations in ChemicalProcess
    Areas, and NFPA 499-2014, Recommended Practice for the
    Classification of Combustible Dusts and ofHazardous
    (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installationin Chemical
    Process Areas. Only editorial changes were made to the
    extractedtext to make it consistent with this Code.

    500.1 Scope - Articles 500 Through 504. Articles 500
    through 504 cover the requirements for electrical and electronic
    equipmentand wiring
    for all voltages in Class I,
    Divisions I and 2; Class II, Divisions 1 and 2;
    and Class III, Divisions 1 and 2 locations where fire or explosion
    hazards may exist due to flammable gases, flammable
    liquid-produced vapors, combustible liquid-produced vapors,
    combustible dusts, or ignitible fibers/flyings.
    500.4 General.
    (A) Documentation. All areas designated as hazardous
    (classified)locations shall be properly documented. This
    documentation shall be available to those authorized to design,
    install, inspect maintain, or operate electrical equipment
    at the location.
    (B) Reference Standards. Important information relating
    to topics covered in Chapter 5 may be found in other publications.


    Informational Note No. 1: It is important that the authority
    having jurisdiction be familiar with recorded industrial experience
    as well as with the standards of the National Fire
    Protection Association (NFPA), the American Petroleum
    Institute (API), and the International Society of Automation
    (ISA), that may be of use in the classification of various
    locations, the determination of adequate ventilation, and the
    protection against static electricity and lightning hazards.
    RBALEX NOTE: Depending on the NEC Edition there are five or six FPN/INs. All are important; FPN/IN No.2 particularly for this discussion since it deals with many specific external reference Standards. Again in particular NFPA 497 (listed in the Article 500 IN/FPN) and API RP 500 are among the external Standards listed in FPN/IN No.2

    From NFPA 497:

    NFPA 497
    Recommended Practice for the
    Classification of Flammable Liquids, Gases,
    or Vapors and of Hazardous (Classified)
    Locations for Electrical Installations
    in Chemical Process Areas

    Chapter 1 Administration
    1.1 Scope.
    1.1.1 This recommended practice applies to those locations
    where flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, or combustible
    liquids are processed or handled; and where their
    release into the atmosphere could result in their ignition by
    electrical systems or equipment.
    1.1.2 This recommended practice provides information on
    specific flammable gases and vapors, flammable liquids, and
    , whose relevant combustion properties
    have been sufficiently identified to allow their classification
    into the groups established by NFPA 70, National Electrical
    Code® (NEC®), for proper selection of electrical equipment in
    hazardous(classified) locations. The tables of selected combustible
    materials contained in this document are not intended
    to be all-inclusive.
    From API RP 500

    Recommended Practice for Classification of Locations for Electrical Installations atPetroleum Facilities Classified as Class I, Division 1 and Division 2
    1 Scope
    1.1 Purpose
    1.1.1 The purpose of this recommended practice is to provide guidelines for classifying locations Class I, Division 1 and Class I, Division 2 at petroleum facilities for the selection and installation of electrical equipment. Basic definitions given in the 2008 Edition of NFPA 70,
    National Electrical Code (NEC), have been followed in developing this recommended practice. This publication is only a guide and requires the application of sound engineering judgment.

    1.1.2 Electrical installations in areas where flammable liquids, flammable gases or vapors, or combustible liquids are produced, processed, stored or otherwise handled can be suitably designed if the locations of potential sources of release and accumulation are clearly defined. Once a location has been classified, requirements for electrical equipment and associated wiring should be determined from applicable publications. Applicable publications may include NFPA 70 and API 14F. Reference Section 2 for publications for other possible applications.
    1.2 Scope
    1.2.1 This document applies to the classification of locations for both temporarily and permanently installed electrical equipment. It is intended to be applied where there may be a risk of ignition due to the presence of flammable gases, flammable liquid-produced vapors, or combustible liquid-produced vapors, mixed with air ,under
    normal atmospheric conditions (identified throughout this document as “gases and vapors”). Normal atmospheric conditions are defined as conditions that vary above and below reference levels of 101.3 kPa (14.7 psia) and 200 °C (68 °F)provided that the variations have a negligible effect on the explosion properties of the flammable materials.


    I basically endorse petersonra’s initial answer: Call the required [Section 500.4(A)] documentation what you want and have a qualified individual do it.
    Some personal observations:
    Note NFPA 497 and API RP500 clearly state their purpose is for selecting electrical installations. If you use the documentation for anything else, that’s fine, but, if I created it and you want to use it for road ways, smoking areas, fire proofing structures, etc., don’t ask me to modify it – I create electrical area classification documentation.
    Last edited by rbalex; 12-07-17 at 07:02 PM.
    "Bob"
    Robert B. Alexander, P.E.
    Answers based on 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  7. #17
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    My kind of issue is why should the electrical engineer bear the responsibility and hold the liability of determining the hazardous area class of a facility. Is it not the process engineers who have the most familiarity with the process equipment and process conditions.

    I feel like when I see area class drawings that were/are done by our EPC's all that was done was copy and paste the application of the API figures without any actual true understanding of the process and what the actual literature of API says in determineing the extent of the areas.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJLH View Post
    My kind of issue is why should the electrical engineer bear the responsibility and hold the liability of determining the hazardous area class of a facility. Is it not the process engineers who have the most familiarity with the process equipment and process conditions.

    I feel like when I see area class drawings that were/are done by our EPC's all that was done was copy and paste the application of the API figures without any actual true understanding of the process and what the actual literature of API says in determineing the extent of the areas.
    I don't think the title of the person(s) making the determination matters much. What matters is if he/she/they are competent to do so.

    If you believe an area classification is in error you certainly should bring your concerns to the attention of someone who is in a position to do something about it.
    Bob

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    I don't know quite how "I'm drawing plans for our products" or "I'm the one making the selection" is meaningful in context of the question the OP posed. Neither comment would seem to have anything to do with determining whether an area should be classified or not, and if so what it should be classified as.
    Part of the original discussion was who should be responsible for area classifications, I was expanding on the topic as it applies to me, and I think needs to apply to many of us who work in the industry. I didn't however, ever imagine I would need to defend my comments.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    I don't think the title of the person(s) making the determination matters much. What matters is if he/she/they are competent to do so.

    If you believe an area classification is in error you certainly should bring your concerns to the attention of someone who is in a position to do something about it.
    This is the nub of the discussion. How would I, or anyone for that matter, prove competence? I have 11 years of experience dealing with chemical processes around nitroglycerin. Does that make me qualified? To answer honestly, I'd have to say "not necessarily". There are tons of training courses on NFPA 70E. I don't think I've ever seen one on 497, RP 500, or focusing on Article 500. Other than design, rinse, repeat, how can a designer maintain proficiency?

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