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Today's commercial buildings are very susceptible to the destructive forces of Lightning. The increased use of delicate electronic and computerized systems makes a Lightning protection system a necessity for many building owners.

Commercial and Industrial Lightning Protection Systems are divided into 2 main categories:

1) Class I Lightning Protection Systems are installed on buildings up to 75 feet in height.

These systems are generally composed of 3/8" diameter copper or 1/2" diameter aluminum Lightning rods, called air terminals, which extend at least 10 inches above the roof. The air terminals are connected together with Class I cable, such as 28 strand 16 gauge pure copper cable or 26 strand 14 gauge aluminum cable. The cables and air terminals are installed on the ridges of peaked roofed buildings and around the perimeter of flat roof buildings.

Downlead cables are installed at the corners of the building and spaced at an average maximum length of 100 feet apart around the perimeter of the structure. 1/2" x 9' ground electrodes are driven to an extreme depth of 10 feet in the earth and connected to all downlead cables at a distance of at least 24 inches from the foundation. Aluminum downlead cables are changed to copper cable at a distance of at least 18 inches above grade, with a special bi-metal clamp, to prevent deterioration of the aluminum material. Multiple grounds or copper ground plates are used in rocky locations.

2) Class II Lightning Protection Systems are required for buildings which are more than 75 feet in height.

Class II Lightning protection equipment is one size larger than Class I equipment and is referred to as Heavy Duty equipment. 1/2" diameter copper or 5/8" diameter aluminum air terminals are used on Class II buildings and are at least 10" tall. Class II conductors are used, such as 28 strand 14 gauge pure copper cable or 30 strand 12 gauge aluminum cable. 3/4" x 10' ground electrodes are installed and connected with large bronze ground rod clamps that have stainless steel bolts for direct burial in the ground.

Woods Lightning gallery Hotel in Stamford, CT
Woods Lightning gallery Office Building in Darien, CT

Woods Lightning gallery Publisher in Oxford, CT
Woods Lightning gallery Church in Greenwich, CT

There are many types and styles of commercial buildings. Woods Lightning Protection installs a Lightning protection system in a very neat manner that best fits the architectural design of the building. When installed correctly, a Lightning protection system can be very inconspicuous and hardly noticeable to the casual observer. Woods carries a large variety of special fittings to accommodate all of the different surfaces found on today's structures. Some components are designed for installation on the outside of existing structures and other parts are for installation on the inside, during the construction of a new building.

Buildings with roof peaks or ridges may require air terminal bases called ridge saddles, strap saddles, which are mounted beneath the roof ridge cap shingles before a new roof is applied, or special concealed fittings, which are mounted from the inside with longer air terminals.

Flat roof buildings may need top mount air terminal bases on the parapet caps. Side mount or off-set side mount bases are used on the inside edge of parapet walls. Adhesive "paste-down" bases with matching adhesive cable holders are used on flat roofs with just a gravel stop or coping. Special adhesives are used on flat roof surfaces, which are compatible with tar or rubber membrane roofing materials.

If Lightning protection is planned for in advance, architects and engineers can incorporate the system into the structure, so that only the air terminals will be visible from the ground. In some cases, the building is composed of structural steel, which can be used in place of the downlead cables and converts the whole metal framework of the building into a Lightning conductor. In this type of system, the Lightning rod circuits on the roof are connected to solid rod thru-roof connector assemblies, which are sealed by the roofing contractor when the roof is installed. The thru-roof connectors are bonded to the structural steel in the upper floor ceiling of the building with 8 square inch contact surface area bonding plates. The structural steel columns of the building are connected at the base of the columns with copper cable and ground electrodes at an average spacing of not more than 60 feet apart around the perimeter of the structure. To qualify for using the building steel as a conductor, the structural steel must be at least 3/16" thick. Cadweld connections are sometimes used for connections at the base of steel columns.

Flat roofed commercial buildings usually require the installation of cable cross runs for connection to center roof air terminals, and air terminals mounted on roof top units, vents, penthouses and exhaust fan enclosures.

Smokestacks on large structures require special lead covered equipment to protect the equipment from acids in the smoke.

Church steeples require 2 downlead cables to ground on the steeple, and also Lightning rods and cable circuits on the roofs of the entire building.

All piping systems and building grounds must be interconnected to the Lightning protection system to prevent damage from differences of ground potential.

Buildings, such as schools, police stations, data centers, fire stations, office buildings and 911 call centers need to have high quality, fast responding surge protection added to the Lightning protection system to protect delicate electronic computerized equipment. Woods Lightning Protection can provide surge suppression units for Main Electric Panels, Sub Panels, Generators, Transfer Switches, Computers, Data Lines, Cable Lines, Security Systems and other low voltage equipment.