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Thread: Physical Damage Protection for Elec. Vehicle Charging Station in Ex. Parking Garages

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    Physical Damage Protection for Elec. Vehicle Charging Station in Ex. Parking Garages

    Per NEC 110.27(B), electrical equipment that can be exposed to damage must be protected by enclosures or guards.

    For electrical vehicle charging stations and associated electrical equipment being installed in existing parking garages on elevated decks, my opinion is that bollard protection is an acceptable method.

    However, IBC Section 1607.8.3 says vehicle "barriers" must resist a concentrated load of 6,000 lbs.

    How can the NEC and IBC applicable code sections be applied together to determine best design practice?

    Adding a bollard (or any type of guard for that matter) capable of resisting a horizontal force of 6,000 lbs in an existing parking garage will most likely affect the concrete deck integrity if actually hit with a force of 6,000 lbs. I.E. an anchored bollard/baseplate design, typical design seen in most garages.

    My opinion is to install bollards with small, shallow anchors in front of the electrical equipment that acts as a deterrent and adds some protection to the electrical equipment when hit at slow speeds. These bollards would be designed to fail under a certain load condition as to not affect concrete deck integrity.

    What are your thoughts?

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    What is the definition of a "vehicle barrier?" Does the protection of the electrical equipment need to meet the standards of a "vehicle barrier," which may be something far greater for preventing a vehicle from driving off an elevated surface, or something like that.

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    Based on what I found, vehicle barrier is more to prevent a vehicle from falling out of the parking garage, and all the IBC says is vehicle barrier. The NEC says equipment must be protected. So how do you interpret the two different codes to line up with one another and come up with a design that will provide protection to the public and also meet all applicable codes?

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    A short curb could be installed on the floor, far enough ahead of the charger that it would stop a tire before the vehicle body demolished the charger. I don't think that would compromise the deck's structural integrity, no matter how hard it was hit.

    Or maybe a short stub of chain-link fence that extends well above eye level. It wouldn't physically stop a vehicle but would be a strong psychological barrier.

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    Thanks for the response. We also thought about that, and but in my opinion an electrical plan reviewer would prefer bollard over curb. What the electrical plan reviewer doesn't know (or maybe he does) is that the bollard is not designed to resist a 6,000 lb horizontal force.

    The issue at hand is almost beyond plan review, and more about safety of public, and liability issues if someone was to crash into the equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargedUp View Post
    Thanks for the response. We also thought about that, and but in my opinion an electrical plan reviewer would prefer bollard over curb. What the electrical plan reviewer doesn't know (or maybe he does) is that the bollard is not designed to resist a 6,000 lb horizontal force.

    The issue at hand is almost beyond plan review, and more about safety of public, and liability issues if someone was to crash into the equipment.
    It seems to me that the 6000 lb horizontal force requirement needs to be supplemented with the specification of the height (distance from the mounting surface) at which the force is applied.

    A given design that withstands 6000 lb applied 6” from the deck may fail if the 6000 lb is applied 3’ above the deck.

    Perhaps it is implied that it must withstand 6000 lb at the full height of the bollard?

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    ASCE 7-10 section 4.5.3 says that the 6000 lb load on vehicle barrier systems shall be assumed to act at heights between 1'-6" and 2'-3".

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargedUp View Post
    ASCE 7-10 section 4.5.3 says that the 6000 lb load on vehicle barrier systems shall be assumed to act at heights between 1'-6" and 2'-3".
    Thank you...makes sense.

    And I learned something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChargedUp View Post
    Based on what I found, vehicle barrier is more to prevent a vehicle from falling out of the parking garage, and all the IBC says is vehicle barrier. The NEC says equipment must be protected. So how do you interpret the two different codes to line up with one another and come up with a design that will provide protection to the public and also meet all applicable codes?
    How is the NEC saying that the equipment protection must meet the standards of the IBC's "vehicle barrier?" Does the IBC require a "vehicle barrier" at electrical equipment? If not, than only your AHJ needs to approve what is protective of the electrical equipment, per the NEC, and they should not be using the standard of a "vehicle barrier."

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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    ..., and they should not be using the standard of a "vehicle barrier."
    ...or at least they are not required to.

    @ChargedUp
    If bollard protection is acceptable in your opinion, why shouldn't it be in the opinion of the AHJ?

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