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19 J AN 2011
139 Barnes Drive Suite 1
Tyndall AFB FL 32403-5319

SUBJ ECT: Engineering Technical Letter (ETL) 11-10 (Change 1): Electrical
Manhole Design Considerations

1. Purpose. This ETL provides technical guidance and criteria for the design of
electrical manholes, with electrical safety and arc flash considerations as a design input.
Associated underground distribution design criteria are also addressed. This ETL does
not apply to manholes associated with airfield lighting circuits.

2. Application. Recommendations in this ETL are optional. The recommendations
provided here apply to new designs.

2.1. Authority: Air Force instruction (AFI) 32-1063, Electric Power Systems

2.2. Effective Date: Immediately

2.3. Intended Users:
Major command (MAJ COM) engineers
Base civil engineers (BCE)

2.4. Coordination:
MAJ COM electrical engineers

3. Referenced Publications.

3.1. Air Force (available at
AFI 32-1063, Electric Power Systems
AFI 32-1064, Electrical Safe Practices
Air Force Occupational Safety and Health (AFOSH) standard 91-25, Confined
ETL 11-9, Electrical Manhole Entry and Work Procedures,

3.2. J oint (available at
Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) 3-501-01, Electrical Engineering
UFC 3-550-01, Exterior Electrical Power Distribution
UFC 3-560-01, Electrical Safety, O&M
Unified Facilities Guide Specification (UFGS) 33 71 02.00 20, Underground
Electrical Distribution,

3.3. Industry:
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 835, IEEE Standard
Power Cable Ampacity Tables,
IEEE C2, National Electrical Safety Code (NESC),
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70, National Electrical Code

4. Background.

4.1. AFI 32-1064, Electrical Safe Practices, states: Work on or near energized
distribution lines is prohibited except in rare circumstances and then only when
approved by the BCE. Work on or near energized electrical equipment in manholes
is extremely dangerous and requires all circuits inside the manhole to be
deenergized. UFC 3-560-01, Electrical Safety, O&M, states that all equipment inside
a manhole, including insulated conductors, should be deenergized before allowing
entry into a manhole. ETL 11-9, Electrical Manhole Entry and Work Procedures,
expands on these requirements and provides guidance for work activities that can
be performed inside electrical manholes containing energized circuits.

4.2. Because of the concerns regarding entry into electrical manholes containing
energized circuits, underground distribution system designs should address access
restrictions as a specific design consideration. UFC 3-550-01, Exterior Electrical
Power Distribution, provides tri-Service design requirements for underground
distribution systems, including electrical manholes. This ETL expands on the UFCs
requirements and provides additional recommendations for work inside electrical
manholes containing energized electrical equipment with arc flash as a concern.
Underground distribution system design is also addressed.

5. Definitions.

5.1. Duct bank. Two or more conduits (or ducts) routed together in a common
excavation with or without concrete encasement.

5.2. Handhole. An opening in an underground system containing cable, equipment,
or both, into which personnel reach but do not enter, for the purpose of installing,
operating, or maintaining cable, equipment, or both.

5.3. High voltage. For the purpose of this ETL, a class of nominal system voltages
greater than 34,500 volts.

5.4. Low voltage. For the purpose of this ETL, a class of nominal system voltages
less than or equal to 600 volts.

5.5. Manhole. A subsurface enclosure that personnel may enter, used for installing,
operating, and maintaining cable.

5.6. Medium voltage. For the purpose of this ETL, a class of nominal system
voltages above 600 volts and less than or equal to 34,500 volts.

6. Acronyms.

AFI - Air Force instruction
AFOSH - Air Force Occupational Safety and Health
BCE - base civil engineer (or equivalent)
ft - foot
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
m - meter
MAJ COM - major command
NFPA - National Fire Protection Association
UFC - Unified Facilities Criteria
UFGS - Unified Facilities Guide Specification

7. Requirements. UFC 3-501-01, Electrical Engineering, provides minimum
requirements for design analyses and calculations. UFC 3-550-01 provides minimum
requirements for underground distribution system design. The following subparagraphs
clarify these requirements and provide additional recommendations.

7.1. Formal Design.

7.1.1. Provide a formal design and design analysis in accordance with
UFC 3-501-01 for underground distribution systems.

7.1.2. Specify key features of the underground distribution system design and
installation. UFGS 33 71 02.00 20, Underground Electrical Distribution, is
recommended for use; edit the specification as necessary for base-specific
design features. UFGS 33 71 02.00 20 also addresses personnel qualifications
for performing conductor installation and splicingimportant for ensuring a
reliable installation.

7.2. Electrical Distribution Systems Without Manholes.

7.2.1. The installation of electrical manholes is not a standard design
requirement; underground distribution systems can be installed without the use of
electrical manholes. An underground distribution system without electrical
manholes is viable for installations involving a few circuits; however, electrical
manholes will usually be required when many circuits are involved.

7.2.2. UFC 3-550-01 allows the use of pad-mounted sectionalizing termination
cabinets only when switching, isolation, or electrical protection for the
downstream circuit is not required or anticipated. Sectionalizing termination
cabinets can be used instead of in-line splices in manholes or for minor loads
that do not warrant the expense of pad-mounted switchgear.

7.2.3. For a design that uses pad-mounted sectionalizing termination cabinets
instead of electrical manholes, specify the maximum allowed distance between
cabinets. UFC 3-550-01 requires the following for electrical manholes:
Separation on straight runs must not exceed 400 ft (120 m). In situations where
greater separation is desired and this greater separation is not prohibited by
either excessive pulling tension or site requirements, separation of up to 600 ft
(180 m) is permitted. Unlike a straight cable pull between two electrical
manholes, a cable pull between two pad-mounted sectionalizing termination
cabinets involves a minimum of two 90-degree bends. Confirm that the specified
pull distance 1) satisfies the required maximum pulling tension; and 2) is within
the ability of electrical shop personnel to replace, if necessary.

7.2.4. Install pad-mounted switchgear rather than pad-mounted sectionalizing
termination cabinets at all locations where load break switching and isolation
might be necessary.

7.3. Electrical Distribution System Configuration Preferences.

7.3.1. Minimize the number of circuits inside an electrical manhole. Installing
many circuits inside an electrical manhole will make it more difficult to deenergize
all affected circuits when working inside the manhole. It is preferable to have
more manholes with fewer circuits per manhole rather than fewer manholes with
more circuits per manhole.

7.3.2. Typically, the circuits installed inside an electrical manhole will share a
common duct bank. As more sets of conductors are installed in a common duct
bank, derate the ampacity of each set of conductors to account for the additional
heat-loading of multiple sets of conductors. NFPA 70, National Electrical Code
(NEC), provides a basis for conductor ampacity, and NFPA 70, Figure 310.60,
provides basic underground duct configurations to consider. IEEE 835, IEEE
Standard Power Cable Ampacity Tables, provides similar information and can
also be used as a guide.

7.3.3. Evaluate the cross-connect capability between circuits. Avoid installing
redundant circuits or circuits that provide alternate supply capability inside the
same electrical manhole or duct bank.

7.3.4. Consider 500-kcmil (thousand circular mils) conductors for the main run for
new or upgraded circuits. The intent is to improve cross-connect capability during
periods that circuits inside an electrical manhole must be deenergized.

7.3.5. Directional boring for underground distribution system installation is
authorized only to the extent allowed by UFC 3-550-01. Directional boring is not
authorized as a standard installation practice for an entire circuit.

7.4. Electrical Manhole Design.

7.4.1. Handholes are prohibited by UFC 3-550-01 for medium-voltage primary
distribution circuits.

7.4.2. Per UFC 3-550-01, the following equipment is prohibited inside electrical
Load junctionsthis includes load junctions with either load-break or
dead-break elbows;
Separable splices used to supply lateral circuits (bolt-T connections);
T-splices, Y-splices, and similar types of splices used to supply lateral
Power distribution equipment, including transformers and switches.

7.4.3. Design electrical manholes with personnel access and adequate interior
working space. Attachment 1 provides an example of an electrical manhole
design that provides a large access door for improved personnel access and
retrieval. The interior space also allows adequate working space. An electrical
manhole does not require an oversized design if a single circuit passes through

Note: An oversized electrical manhole with a large entrance from above is
intended to improve personnel safety from an arc flash event. However, active
work inside an electrical manhole containing energized circuits will still be
dangerous. AFI 32-1064, AFOSH Standard 91-25, Confined Spaces, and ETL
11-9 still apply.

7.4.4. Individually fireproof medium-voltage cables in all underground structures.

7.4.5. Label each conductor with the associated equipment identification, the
electrical phase, and the conductor size.

7.4.6. Install all conductors on cable racks. UFGS 33 71 02.00 20 provides

7.4.7. UFC 3-550-01 states: Route cable installations inside manholes along
those walls providing the longest route and the maximum spare cable lengths.
One complete loop of conductors is recommended.

8. Point of Contact. The authority having jurisdiction on all matters discussed within
this ETL is the Chief Electrical Engineer, HQ AFCESA/CEOA. To reach the Chief
Electrical Engineer, e-mail, call DSN 523-
6995 or commercial (850) 283-6995, or mail to 139 Barnes Drive, Suite 1, Tyndall AFB,
FL 32408-5319.

Acting Chief, Operations and Programs Support 1. Electrical Manhole Design
2. Distribution List

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A1.1. Electrical Manhole Size. If multiple circuits are routed through a single electrical
manhole, the manhole should be large enough to have all conductors secured on cable
racks with adequate working room near the conductors. Figures A1.1 and A1.2 show an
example of a manhole with large, hinged access doors for easier entry to and from the
manhole. Galvanized-steel, spring-assisted access doors are available in standard
sizes as large as 48 inches by 72 inches (1.21 meters by 1.82 meters). Figures A1.3
and A1.4 provide photographs of an installation.

Figure A1.1. Electrical Manhole Configuration

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Figure A1.2. Electrical Manhole Access Doors

Figure A1.3. Electrical Manhole Installed with Large Entrance

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Figure A1.4. Electrical Manhole Interior View

A1.2. Cable Racks. Cable racks are an important design and installation requirement.
Safe entry into an electrical manhole containing energized circuits is not possible if the
conductors are not neatly racked and out of the way. Figure A1.5 shows an electrical
manhole where safe entry is not possible. Furthermore, the conductors shown in Figure
A1.5 are not labeled in any way; there is no indication regarding which circuit is which.
Figure A1.6 shows a typical cable rack. The routing of conductors inside a manhole also
should be specified. Otherwise, there might not be any slack provided, as shown in
Figure A1.7; repair activities will be more difficult in this location.

Figure A1.5. Unsecured Conductors Inside an Electrical Manhole

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Figure A1.6. Typical Cable Rack Detail

Figure A1.7. Inadequate Conductor Slack/Loop Inside Manhole

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A1.3. Conduit Entrance. The conduit entrance design and installation should be
specified. Keeping the manhole clean and dry can be achieved if close attention is paid
to sealing all entrances.

Figure A1.8. Typical Conduit Entrance Detail

A1.4. Conductor Routing Details. The design should specify, and the as-built
documentation should confirm, the conductors installed inside each conduit. Labeling is
necessary to facilitate conductor identification. Figure A1.9 shows an example drawing
that details the location of each circuit.

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Figure A1.9. Duct Configuration Detail

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