How to manage the NIBT safety standard in electrical installations for Switzerland?

NIBT 2020 standard

The Low Voltage Installation Standard (NIBT) is the most important standard for the electrical installation industry in Switzerland. The regulations concern the installation of new electrical installations as well as modifications and extensions to existing electrical installations.

The NIBT standard is very close to the IEC 60364 series of standards, from which it takes up the structure and much of the content. It incorporates certain national specificities, in particular for the calculation of admissible currents in cables, and offers interpretations to facilitate the choice of equipment and its implementation.

The installations must be designed in such a way as to ensure the safety of persons and property (protection of persons and fire protection). The NIBT 2020 version does not make any substantial changes to the dimensioning of the installations compared to the previous version (NIBT 2015). On the other hand, the designer will have to take into account the new rules on the choice of cables in hazardous areas (chapter 4) and pay attention to the recommendations on energy efficiency (chapter 8).

The assurance of a NIBT-compliant installation with elec calc™

NIBT Interface in elec calc

The calculation methods used in elec calc™ are based on the requirements for the safety of persons and property as defined in the NIBT 2020 standard. The software takes into consideration overcurrent and short-circuit protection, cable sizing based on the power balance established in real time from the single-line diagram of the installation. For the designers of low-voltage electrical installations in Switzerland, it is the assurance of a safe and compliant installation.

In addition to the Low Voltage part of the installations, elec calc™ enable the High Voltage part of these installations to be sized in the same project. An additional DC (direct current) module for low voltage installations (up to 1500V) is available. It meets to the sizing needs of the auxiliary networks (control, monitoring, etc.), and distribution of sockets and/or lighting.

elec calc™ can process Arc Flash analysis thanks to an additional module. Based on the operating scenarios described in a project and the data calculated by elec calc™, this module determines the incident energies and protective distances according to the IEEE 1584-2018 guide. It provides the user with labels to be applied to the equipment concerned.

elec calc™ also has a BIM module for the electrical projects to be integrated into a BIM process, giving priority to communication with the various stakeolders involved thanks to standard collaboration formats (IFC and BCF).

Written by Philippe Aupetit, Scientific Director.

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