This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
The item of Electric Wiring, while entirely within the province of the architect to lay out, is of such a mechanical nature that it is rarely advisable to include it in the general specification. Few general rules outside of a set adopted by the National Board of Fire Underwriters - called the "National Electric Code" - can be formulated.
The arrangement, location, and sizes of wires are problems of delicate adjustment in order to obviate danger from fire, to prevent loss of power, and to obtain a perfectly satisfactory service at all points under the maximum load, and yet keep the amount of material down so as not to involve unnecessary expense.
Expensive instruments are necessary for the testing of the system when complete, and a considerable experience is needed even for stating in a specification what tests are to be applied in each specific case. Therefore it is not deemed best to discuss the matter further here, except to state that, for work such as that under consideration, the services of an engineer in the employ of the Electric Light Company which is to furnish the energy can generally be obtained to lay out the system and test the completed work.
In studying the following outline specification, it is suggested that many trade papers and the general magazines advertise appliances used in building; and a [postal-card request to the advertisers will bring very useful information about the product advertised. In these lines, are cement, concrete work, stone, brick, paints, varnishes, plastering material, plumbing goods, and heating goods.
Catalogues of the two last are particularly to be obtained. If the influence of any such literature is such that the student finds himself impressed with the fact that the material or system under consideration is the best of anything in that line, then special attention should be given to the literature of other materials or systems which are used for the same purpose, until he finds some which he is satisfied are equal to it in every particular. The man who has only one material he can use, or one way of accomplishing a certain object, is sure to be either deficient in information or unduly influenced, for there is no one material, or one way of doing anything, that is "best" in all respects.
The student should also have a copy of some of the many handbooks of general information relative to materials. Of these, probably "Trautwine" will be found the most useful; for, while it is not so popular as some, it is a high authority, and in it will be found notes on every variety of material and construction.