BS EN IEC 62305 Lightning protection standard

The BS EN/IEC 62305 Standard for lightning protection was originally published in September 2006, to supersede the previous standard, BS 6651:1999. For a BS EN IEC 62305 Lightning protection standardfinite period, BS EN/IEC 62305 and BS 6651 ran in parallel, but as of August 2008, BS 6651 has been withdrawn and now BS EN/IEC 63205 is the recognized standard for lightning protection.

The BS EN/IEC 62305 standard reflects an increased scientific understanding of lightning and its effects over the last twenty years and takes stock of the growing impact of technology and electronic systems on our daily activities. More complex and exacting than its predecessor, BS EN/IEC 62305 includes four distinct parts – general principles, risk management, physical damage to structures and life hazard, and electronic systems protection.

These parts of the standard are introduced here. In 2010 these parts underwent periodic technical review, with updated parts 1, 3 and 4 released in 2011. Updated part 2 is currently under discussion and is expected to be published in late 2012.

Key to BS EN/IEC 62305 is that all considerations for lightning protection are driven by a comprehensive and complex risk assessment and that this assessment not only takes into account the structure to be protected but also the services to which the structure is connected. In essence, structural lightning protection can no longer be considered in isolation, protection against transient overvoltages or electrical surges is integral to BS EN/IEC 62305.

Structure of BS EN/IEC 62305Variances between standard BS 6651 and EN IEC 62305

The BS EN/IEC 62305 series consists of four parts, all of which need to be taken into consideration. These four parts are outlined below:

Part 1: General principles

BS EN/IEC 62305-1 (part 1) is an introduction to the other parts of the standard and essentially describes how to design a Lightning Protection System (LPS) in accordance with the accompanying parts of the standard.

Part 2: Risk management

BS EN/IEC 62305-2 (part 2) risk management approach, does not concentrate so much on the purely physical damage to a structure caused by a lightning discharge, but more on the risk of loss of human life, loss of service to the public, loss of cultural heritage and economic loss.

Part 3: Physical damage to structures and life hazard

BS EN/IEC 62305-3 (part 3) relates directly to the major part of BS 6651. It differs from BS 6651 in as much that this new part has four Classes or protection levels of LPS, as opposed to the basic two (ordinary and high-risk) levels in BS 6651.

Part 4: Electrical and electronic systems

within structures, BS EN/IEC 62305-4 (part 4) covers the protection of electrical and electronic systems housed within structures. It embodies what Annex C in BS 6651 conveyed, but with a new zonal approach referred to as Lightning Protection Zones (LPZs). It provides information for the design, installation, maintenance & testing of a Lightning Electromagnetic Impulse (LEMP) protection system (now referred to as Surge Protection Measures – SPM) for electrical/electronic systems within a structure.

The following table gives a broad outline as to the key variances between the previous standard, BS 6651, and the BS EN/IEC 62305.

BS EN/IEC 62305-1 General principles

This opening part of the BS EN/IEC 62305 suite of standards serves as an introduction to the further parts of the standard. It classifies the sources and types of damage to be evaluated and introduces the risks or types of loss to be anticipated as a result of the lightning activity.

Furthermore, It defines the relationships between damage and loss that form the basis for the risk assessment calculations in part 2 of the standard.

Lightning current parameters are defined. These are used as the basis for the selection and implementation of the appropriate protection measures detailed in parts 3 and 4 of the standard. Part 1 of the standard also introduces new concepts for consideration when preparing a lightning protection scheme, such as Lightning Protection Zones (LPZs) and separation distance.

Damage and lossTable 5 - Damage and loss in a structure according to different points of lightning strike (BS EN-IEC 62305-1 Table 2)

BS EN/IEC 62305 identifies four main sources of damage:

S1 Flashes to the structure

S2 Flashes near to the structure

S3 Flashes to a service

S4 Flashes near to a service

Each source of damage may result in one or more of three types of damage:

D1 Injury of living beings due to step and touch voltages

D2 Physical damage (fire, explosion, mechanical destruction, chemical release) due to lightning current effects including sparking

D3 Failure of internal systems due to Lightning Electromagnetic Impulse (LEMP)

The following types of loss may result from damage due to lightning:

L1 Loss of human life

L2 Loss of service to the public

L3 Loss of cultural heritage

L4 Loss of economic value

The relationships of all of the above parameters are summarised in Table 5.

Figure 12 on page 271 depicts the types of damage and loss resulting from lightning.

For a more detailed explanation of the general principles forming part 1 of the BS EN 62305 standard, please refer to our full reference guide ‘A Guide to BS EN 62305.’ Although focused on the BS EN standard, this guide may provide supporting information of interest to consultants designing to the IEC equivalent. Please see page 283 for more details about this guide.

Scheme design criteria

The ideal lightning protection for a structure and its connected services would be to enclose the structure within an earthed and perfectly conducting metallic shield (box), and in addition provide adequate bonding of any connected services at the entry point into the shield.

This, in essence, would prevent the penetration of the lightning current and the induced electromagnetic field into the structure. However, in practice, it is not possible or indeed cost effective to go to such lengths.

This standard thus sets out a defined set of lightning current parameters where protection measures, adopted in accordance with its recommendations, will reduce any damage and consequential loss as a result of a lightning strike. This reduction in damage and consequential loss is valid provided the lightning strike parameters fall within defined limits, established as Lightning Protection Levels (LPL).

Lightning Protection Levels (LPL)

Four protection levels have been determined based on parameters obtained from previously published technical papers. Each level has a fixed set of maximum and minimum lightning current parameters. These parameters are shown in Table 6. The maximum values have been used in the design of products such as lightning protection components and Surge Protective Devices (SPDs). The minimum values of lightning current have been used to derive the rolling sphere radius for each level.

Table 6 - Lightning current for each LPL based on 10-350 μs waveform

For a more detailed explanation of Lightning Protection Levels and maximum/minimum current parameters please see the Guide to BS EN 62305.

Figure 12 - The types of damage and loss resulting from a lightning strike on or near a structure

Lightning Protection Zones (LPZ)Figure 13 - the LPZ concept

The concept of Lightning Protection Zones (LPZ) was introduced within BS EN/IEC 62305 particularly to assist in determining the protection measures required to establish protective measures to counter Lightning Electromagnetic Impulse (LEMP) within a structure.

The general principle is that the equipment requiring protection should be located in an LPZ whose electromagnetic characteristics are compatible with the equipment stress withstand or immunity capability.

The concept caters for external zones, with the risk of direct lightning stroke (LPZ 0A), or risk of partial lightning current occurring (LPZ 0B), and levels of protection within internal zones (LPZ 1 & LPZ 2).

In general the higher the number of the zone (LPZ 2; LPZ 3 etc) the lower the electromagnetic effects expected. Typically, any sensitive electronic equipment should be located in higher numbered LPZs and be protected against LEMP by relevant Surge Protection Measures (‘SPM’ as defined in BS EN 62305:2011).

SPM was previously referred to as a LEMP Protection Measures System (LPMS) in BS EN/IEC 62305:2006.

Figure 13 highlights the LPZ concept as applied to the structure and to SPM. The concept is expanded upon in BS EN/IEC 62305-3 and BS EN/IEC 62305-4.

Selection of the most suitable SPM is made using the risk assessment in accordance with BS EN/IEC 62305-2.

BS EN/IEC 62305-2 Risk management

BS EN/IEC 62305-2 is key to the correct implementation of BS EN/IEC 62305-3 and BS EN/IEC 62305-4. The assessment and management of risk are nowFigure 14 - Procedure for deciding the need for protection (BS EN-IEC 62305-1 Figure 1) significantly more in-depth and extensive than the approach of BS 6651.

BS EN/IEC 62305-2 specifically deals with making a risk assessment, the results of which define the level of Lightning Protection System (LPS) required. While BS 6651 devoted 9 pages (including figures) to the subject of risk assessment, BS EN/IEC 62305-2 currently contains over 150 pages.

The first stage of the risk assessment is to identify which of the four types of loss (as identified in BS EN/IEC 62305-1) the structure and its contents can incur. The ultimate aim of the risk assessment is to quantify and if necessary reduce the relevant primary risks i.e.:

R1 risk of loss of human life

R2 risk of loss of service to the public

R3 risk of loss of cultural heritage

R4 risk of loss of economic value

For each of the first three primary risks, a tolerable risk (RT) is set. This data can be sourced in Table 7 of IEC 62305-2 or Table NK.1 of the National Annex of BS EN 62305-2.

Each primary risk (Rn) is determined through a long series of calculations as defined within the standard. If the actual risk (Rn) is less than or equal to the tolerable risk (RT), then no protection measures are needed. If the actual risk (Rn) is greater than its corresponding tolerable risk (RT), then protection measures must be instigated. The above process is repeated (using new values that relate to the chosen protection measures) until Rn is less than or equal to its corresponding RT. It is this iterative process as shown in Figure 14 that decides the choice or indeed Lightning Protection Level (LPL) of Lightning Protection System (LPS) and Surges Protective Measures (SPM) to counter Lightning Electromagnetic impulse (LEMP).

BS EN/IEC 62305-3 Physical damage to structures and life hazard

This part of the suite of standards deals with protection measures in and around a structure and as such relates directly to the major part of BS 6651.

The main body of this part of the standard gives guidance on the design of an external Lightning Protection System (LPS), internal LPS and maintenance and inspection programmes.

Lightning Protection System (LPS)

BS EN/IEC 62305-1 has defined four Lightning Protection Levels (LPLs) based on the probable minimum and maximum lightning currents. These LPLs equate directly to classes of Lightning Protection System (LPS).

The correlation between the four levels of LPL and LPS is identified in Table 7. In essence, the greater the LPL, the higher class of LPS is required.

Table 7 - Relation between Lightning Protection Level (LPL) and Class of LPS (BS EN-IEC 62305-3 Table 1)

The class of LPS to be installed is governed by the result of the risk assessment calculation highlighted in BS EN/IEC 62305-2.

External LPS design considerations

The lightning protection designer must initially consider the thermal and explosive effects caused at the point of a lightning strike and the consequences to the structure under consideration. Depending upon the consequences the designer may choose either of the following types of external LPS:

– Isolated

– Non-isolated

An Isolated LPS is typically chosen when the structure is constructed of combustible materials or presents a risk of explosion.

Conversely, a non-isolated system may be fitted where no such danger exists.

An external LPS consists of:

– Air termination system

– Down conductor system

– Earth termination system

These individual elements of an LPS should be connected together using appropriate lightning protection components (LPC) complying (in the case of BS EN 62305) with BS EN 50164 series (note this BS EN series is due to be superseded by the BS EN/IEC 62561 series). This will ensure that in the event of a lightning current discharge to the structure, the correct design and choice of components will minimize any potential damage.

Air termination system

The role of an air termination system is to capture the lightning discharge current and dissipate it harmlessly to earth via the down conductor and earth termination system. Therefore it is vitally important to use a correctly designed air termination system.

BS EN/IEC 62305-3 advocates the following, in any combination, for the design of the air termination:

– Air rods (or finials) whether they are free standingmasts or linked with conductors to form a mesh on the roof

– Catenary (or suspended) conductors, whether they are supported by free standing masts or linked with conductors to form a mesh on the roof

– Meshed conductor network that may lie in direct contact with the roof or be suspended above it (in the event that it is of paramount importance that the roof is not exposed to a direct lightning discharge)

The standard makes it quite clear that all types of air termination systems that are used shall meet the positioning requirements laid down in the body of the standard. It highlights that the air termination components should be installed on corners, exposed points and edges of the structure. The three basic methods recommended for determining the position of the air termination systems are:

– The rolling sphere method

– The protective angle method

– The mesh method

These methods are detailed over the following pages.

The rolling sphere method

The rolling sphere method is a simple means of identifying areas of a structure that needs protection, taking into account the possibility of side strikes to the structure. The basic concept of applying the rolling sphere to a structure is illustrated in Figure 15.

Figure 15 - Application of the rolling sphere method

The rolling sphere method was used in BS 6651, the only difference being that in BS EN/IEC 62305 there are different radii of the rolling sphere that correspond to the relevant class of LPS (see Table 8).

Table 8 - Maximum values of rolling sphere radius corresponding

This method is suitable for defining zones of protection for all types of structures, particularly those of complex geometry.

The protective angle methodFigure 16 - The protective angle method for a single air rod

The protective angle method is a mathematical simplification of the rolling sphere method. The protective angle (a) is the angle created between the tip (A) of the vertical rod and a line projected down to the surface on which the rod sits (see Figure 16).

The protective angle afforded by an air rod is clearly a three-dimensional concept whereby the rod is assigned a cone of protection by sweeping the line AC at the angle of protection a full 360º around the air rod.

The protective angle differs with the varying height of the air rod and class of LPS. The protective angle afforded by an air rod is determined from Table 2 of BS EN/IEC 62305-3 (see Figure 17).

Figure 17 - Determination of the protective angle (BS EN-IEC 62305-3 Table 2)

Varying the protection angle is a change to the simple 45º zone of protection afforded in most cases in BS 6651. Furthermore, the new standard uses the height of the air termination system above the reference plane, whether that be the ground or roof level (See Figure 18).

Figure 18 - Effect of the height of the reference plane on the

The mesh method

This is the method that was most commonly used under the recommendations of BS 6651. Again, within BS EN/IEC 62305 four different air termination mesh sizes are defined and correspond to the relevant class of LPS (see Table 9).

Table 9 - Maximum values of mesh size corresponding to

This method is suitable where plain surfaces require protection if the following conditions are met:Figure 19 - Concealed air termination network

– Air termination conductors must be positioned at roof edges, on roof overhangs and on the ridges of the roof with a pitch in excess of 1 in 10 (5.7º)

– No metal installation protrudes above the air termination system

Modern research on lightning inflicted damage has shown that the edges and corners of roofs are most susceptible to damage.

So on all structures particularly with flat roofs, perimeter conductors should be installed as close to the outer edges of the roof as is practicable.

As in BS 6651, the current standard permits the use of conductors (whether they be fortuitous metalwork or dedicated LP conductors) under the roof. Vertical air rods (finials) or strike plates should be mounted above the roof and connected to the conductor system beneath. The air rods should be spaced not more than 10 m apart and if strike plates are used as an alternative, these should be strategically placed over the roof area not more than 5 m apart.

Non-conventional air termination systems

A lot of technical (and commercial) debate has raged over the years regarding the validity of the claims made by the proponents of such systems.

This topic was discussed extensively within the technical working groups that compiled BS EN/IEC 62305. The outcome was to remain with the information housed within this standard.

BS EN/IEC 62305 states unequivocally that the volume or zone of protection afforded by the air termination system (e.g. air rod) shall be determined only by the real physical dimension of the air termination system.

This statement is reinforced within the 2011 version of BS EN 62305, by being incorporated in the body of the standard, rather than forming part of an Annex (Annex A of BS EN/IEC 62305-3:2006).

Typically if the air rod is 5 m tall then the only claim for the zone of protection afforded by this air rod would be based on 5 m and the relevant class of LPS and not any enhanced dimension claimed by some nonconventional air rods.

There is no other standard being contemplated to run in parallel with this standard BS EN/IEC 62305.

Natural components

When metallic roofs are being considered as a natural air termination arrangement, then BS 6651 gave guidance on the minimum thickness and type of material under consideration.

BS EN/IEC 62305-3 gives similar guidance as well as additional information if the roof has to be considered puncture proof from a lightning discharge (see Table 10).

Table 10 - Minimum thickness of metal sheets or metal pipes in air

There should always be a minimum of two down conductors distributed around the perimeter of the structure. Down conductors should wherever possible be installed at each exposed corner of the structure as research has shown these to carry the major part of the lightning current.

Natural componentsFigure 20 - Typical methods of bonding to steel reinforcement

BS EN/IEC 62305, like BS 6651, encourages the use of fortuitous metal parts on or within the structure to be incorporated into the LPS.

Where BS 6651 encouraged an electrical continuity when using reinforcing bars located in concrete structures, so too does BS EN/IEC 62305-3. Additionally, it states that reinforcing bars are welded, clamped with suitable connection components or overlapped a minimum of 20 times the rebar diameter. This is to ensure that those reinforcing bars likely to carry lightning currents have secure connections from one length to the next.

When internal reinforcing bars are required to be connected to external down conductors or earthing network either of the arrangements shown in Figure 20 is suitable. If the connection from the bonding conductor to the rebar is to be encased in concrete then the standard recommends that two clamps are used, one connected to one length of rebar and the other to a different length of rebar. The joints should then be encased by a moisture inhibiting compound such as Denso tape.

If the reinforcing bars (or structural steel frames) are to be used as down conductors then electrical continuity should be ascertained from the air termination system to the earthing system. For new build structures this can be decided at the early construction stage by using dedicated reinforcing bars or alternatively to run a dedicated copper conductor from the top of the structure to the foundation prior to the pouring of the concrete. This dedicated copper conductor should be bonded to the adjoining/adjacent reinforcing bars periodically.

If there is doubt as to the route and continuity of the reinforcing bars within existing structures then an external down conductor system should be installed. These should ideally be bonded into the reinforcing network of the structures at the top and bottom of the structure.

Earth termination system

The earth termination system is vital for the dispersion of lightning current safely and effectively into the ground.

In line with BS 6651, the new standard recommends a single integrated earth termination system for a structure, combining lightning protection, power and telecommunication systems. The agreement of the operating authority or owner of the relevant systems should be obtained prior to any bonding taking place.

A good earth connection should possess the following characteristics:

– Low electrical resistance between the electrode and the earth. The lower the earth electrode resistance the more likely the lightning current will choose to flow down that path in preference to any other, allowing the current to be conducted safely to and dissipated in the earth

– Good corrosion resistance. The choice of materialfor the earth electrode and its connections is of vital importance. It will be buried in soil for many years so has to be totally dependable

The standard advocates a low earthing resistance requirement and points out that it can be achieved with an overall earth termination system of 10 ohms or less.

Three basic earth electrode arrangements are used.

– Type A arrangement

– Type B arrangement

– Foundation earth electrodes

Type A arrangement

This consists of horizontal or vertical earth electrodes, connected to each down conductor fixed on the outside of the structure. This is in essence the earthing system used in BS 6651, where each down conductor has an earth electrode (rod) connected to it.

Type B arrangement

This arrangement is essentially a fully connected ring earth electrode that is sited around the periphery of the structure and is in contact with the surrounding soil for a minimum 80% of its total length (i.e. 20% of its overall length may be housed in say the basement of the structure and not in direct contact with the earth).

Foundation earth electrodes

This is essentially a type B earthing arrangement. It comprises conductors that are installed in the concrete foundation of the structure. If any additional lengths of electrodes are required they need to meet the same criteria as those for type B arrangement. Foundation earth electrodes can be used to augment the steel reinforcing foundation mesh.

A sample of LSP high quality earthing components

Separation (isolation) distance of the external LPS

A separation distance (i.e. the electrical insulation) between the external LPS and the structural metal parts is essentially required. This will minimise any chance of partial lightning current being introduced internally in the structure.

This can be achieved by placing lightning conductors sufficiently far away from any conductive parts that have routes leading into the structure. So, if the lightning discharge strikes the lightning conductor, it cannot `bridge the gap’ and flash over to the adjacent metalwork.

BS EN/IEC 62305 recommends a single integrated earth termination system for a structure, combining lightning protection, power, and telecommunication systems.

Internal LPS design considerations

The fundamental role of the internal LPS is to ensure the avoidance of dangerous sparking occurring within the structure to be protected. This could be due, following a lightning discharge, to the lightning current flowing in the external LPS or indeed other conductive parts of the structure and attempting to flash or spark over to internal metallic installations.

Carrying out appropriate equipotential bonding measures or ensuring there is a sufficient electrical insulation distance between the metallic parts can avoid dangerous sparking between different metallic parts.

Lightning equipotential bonding

Equipotential bonding is simply the electrical interconnection of all appropriate metallic installations/parts, such that in the event of lightning currents flowing, no metallic part is at a different voltage potential with respect to one another. If the metallic parts are essentially at the same potential then the risk of sparking or flashover is nullified.

This electrical interconnection can be achieved by natural/fortuitous bonding or by using specific bonding conductors that are sized according to Tables 8 and 9 of BS EN/IEC 62305-3.

Bonding can also be accomplished by the use of surge protective devices (SPDs) where the direct connection with bonding conductors is not suitable.

Figure 21 (which is based on BS EN/IEC 62305-3 figE.43) shows a typical example of an equipotential bonding arrangement. The gas, water, and central heating system are all bonded directly to the equipotential bonding bar located inside but close to an outer wall near ground level. The power cable is bonded via a suitable SPD, upstream from the electric meter, to the equipotential bonding bar. This bonding bar should be located close to the main distribution board (MDB) and also closely connected to the earth termination system with short length conductors. In larger or extended structures several bonding bars may be required but they should all be interconnected with each other.

The screen of any antenna cable along with any shielded power supply to electronic appliances being routed into the structure should also be bonded at the equipotential bar.

Further guidance relating to equipotential bonding, meshed interconnection earthing systems, and SPD selection can be found in the LSP guidebook.

BS EN/IEC 62305-4 Electrical and electronic systems within structures

Electronic systems now pervade almost every aspect of our lives, from the work environment, through filling the car with petrol and even shopping at the local supermarket. As a society, we are now heavily reliant on the continuous and efficient running of such systems. The use of computers, electronic process controls, and telecommunications has exploded during the last two decades. Not only are there more systems in existence, the physical size of the electronics involved has reduced considerably (smaller size means less energy required to damage circuits).

BS EN/IEC 62305 accepts that we now live in the electronic age, making LEMP (Lightning Electromagnetic Impulse) protection for electronic and electrical systems integral to the standard through part 4. LEMP is the term given to the overall electromagnetic effects of lightning, including conducted surges (transient overvoltages and currents) and radiated electromagnetic field effects.

LEMP damage is so prevalent such that it is identified as one of the specific types (D3) to be protected against and that LEMP damage can occur from all strike points to the structure or connected services -direct or indirect – for further reference to the types of damage caused by lightning see Table 5. This extended approach also takes into account the danger of fire or explosion associated with services connected to the structure, e.g. power, telecoms, and other metallic lines.

Lightning is not the only threat…

Transient overvoltages caused by electrical switching events are very common and can be a source of considerable interference. Current flowing through a conductor creates a magnetic field in which energy is stored. When the current is interrupted or switched off, the energy in the magnetic field is suddenly released. In an attempt to dissipate itself it becomes a high voltage transient.

The more stored energy, the larger the resulting transient. Higher currents and longer lengths of conductor both contribute to more energy stored and also released!

This is why inductive loads such as motors, transformers, and electrical drives are all common causes of switching transients.

The significance of BS EN/IEC 62305-4

Previously transient overvoltage or surge protection was included as an advisory annex in the BS 6651 standard, with a separate risk assessment. As a result, protection was often fitted after equipment damage was suffered, often through the obligation to insurance companies. However, the single risk assessment in BS EN/IEC 62305 dictates whether structural and/or LEMP protection is required hence structural lightning protection cannot now be considered in isolation from transient overvoltage protection – known as Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) within this new standard. This in itself is a significant deviation from that of BS 6651.

Indeed, as per BS EN/IEC 62305-3, an LPS system can no longer be fitted without lightning current or equipotential bonding SPDs to incoming metallic services that have “live cores” – such as power and telecoms cables – which cannot be directly bonded to earth. Such SPDs are required to protect against the risk of loss of human life by preventing dangerous sparking that could present a fire or electric shock hazards.

Lightning current or equipotential bonding SPDs are also used on overhead service lines feeding the structure that are at risk from a direct strike. However, the use of these SPDs alone “provides no effective protection against failure of sensitive electrical or electronic systems”, to quote BS EN/IEC 62305 part 4, which is specifically dedicated to the protection of electrical and electronic systems within structures.

Lightning current SPDs form one part of a coordinated set of SPDs that include overvoltage SPDs – which are needed in total to effectively protect sensitive electrical and electronic systems from both lightning and switching transients.

Lightning Protection Zones (LPZs)Figure 22 - Basic LPZ concept - BS EN-IEC 62305-4

Whilst BS 6651 recognised a concept of zoning in Annex C (Location Categories A, B, and C), BS EN/IEC 62305-4 defines the concept of Lightning Protection Zones (LPZs). Figure 22 illustrates the basic LPZ concept defined by protection measures against LEMP as detailed within part 4.

Within a structure, a series of LPZs are created to have, or identified as already having, successively less exposure to the effects of lightning.

Successive zones use a combination of bonding, shielding and coordinated SPDs to achieve a significant reduction in LEMP severity, from conducted surge currents and transient overvoltages, as well as radiated magnetic field effects. Designers coordinate these levels so that the more sensitive equipment is sited in the more protected zones.

The LPZs can be split into two categories – 2 external zones (LPZ 0A, LPZ 0B) and usually 2 internal zones (LPZ 1, 2) although further zones can be introduced for a further reduction of the electromagnetic field and lightning current if required.

External zones

LPZ 0A is the area subject to direct lightning strokes and therefore may have to carry up to the full lightning current.

This is typically the roof area of a structure. The full electromagnetic field occurs here.

LPZ 0B is the area not subject to direct lightning strokes and is typically the sidewalls of a structure.

However, the full electromagnetic field still occurs here and conducted partial lightning currents and switching surges can occur here.

Internal zones

LPZ 1 is the internal area that is subject to partial lightning currents. The conducted lightning currents and/or switching surges are reduced compared with the external zones LPZ 0A, LPZ 0B.

This is typically the area where services enter the structure or where the main power switchboard is located.

LPZ 2 is an internal area that is further located inside the structure where the remnants of lightning impulse currents and/or switching surges are reduced compared with LPZ 1.

This is typically a screened room or, for mains power, at the sub-distribution board area. Protection levels within a zone must be coordinated with the immunity characteristics of the equipment to be protected, i.e., the more sensitive the equipment, the more protected the zone required.

The existing fabric and layout of a building may make readily apparent zones, or LPZ techniques may have to be applied to create the required zones.

Surge Protection Measures (SPM)

Some areas of a structure, such as a screened room, are naturally better protected from lightning than others and it is possible to extend the more protected zones by careful design of the LPS, earth bonding of metallic services such as water and gas, and cabling techniques. However, it is the correct installation of coordinated Surge Protective Devices (SPDs) that protect equipment from damage as well as ensuring continuity of its operation – critical for eliminating downtime. These measures in total are referred to as Surge Protection Measures (SPM) (formerly LEMP Protection Measures System (LPMS)).

When applying bonding, shielding, and SPDs, technical excellence must be balanced with economic necessity. For new builds, bonding and screening measures can be integrally designed to form part of the complete SPM. However, for an existing structure, retrofitting a set of coordinated SPDs is likely to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution.

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Coordinated SPDs

BS EN/IEC 62305-4 emphasises the use of coordinated SPDs for the protection of equipment within their environment. This simply means a series of SPDs whose locations and LEMP handling attributes are coordinated in such a way as to protect the equipment in their environment by reducing the LEMP effects to asafe level. So there may be a heavy duty lightning current SPD at the service entrance to handle the majority of the surge energy (partial lightning current from an LPS and/or overhead lines) with the respective transient overvoltage controlled to safe levels by coordinated plus downstream overvoltage SPDs to protect terminal equipment including potential damage by switching sources, e.g. large inductive motors. Appropriate SPDs should be fitted wherever services cross from one LPZ to another.

Coordinated SPDs have to effectively operate together as a cascaded system to protect equipment in their environment. For example, the lightning current SPD at the service entrance should handle the majority of surge energy, sufficiently relieving the downstream overvoltage SPDs to control the overvoltage.

Appropriate SPDs should be fitted wherever services cross from one LPZ to another

Poor coordination could mean that the overvoltage SPDs are subject to too much surge energy putting both itself and potentially equipment at risk from damage.

Furthermore, voltage protection levels or let-through voltages of installed SPDs must be coordinated with the insulating withstand voltage of the parts of the installation and the immunity withstand voltage of electronic equipment.

Enhanced SPDs

Whilst outright damage to equipment is not desirable, the need to minimize downtime as a result of the loss of operation or malfunction of equipment can also be critical. This is particularly important for industries that serve the public, be they hospitals, financial institutions, manufacturing plants or commercial businesses, where the inability to provide their service due to the loss of operation of equipment would result in significant health and safety and/or financial consequences.

Standard SPDs may only protect against common mode surges (between live conductors and earth), providing effective protection against outright damage but not against downtime due to system disruption.

BS EN 62305 therefore considers the use of enhanced SPDs (SPD*) that further reduce the risk of damage and malfunction to critical equipment where continuous operation is required. Installers will therefore need to be much more aware of the application and installation requirements of SPDs than perhaps they may have been previously.

Superior or enhanced SPDs provide lower (better) let-through voltage protection against surges in both common mode and differential mode (between live conductors) and therefore also provide additional protection over bonding and shielding measures.

Such enhanced SPDs can even offer up to mains Type 1+2+3 or data/telecom Test Cat D+C+B protection within one unit. As terminal equipment, e.g. computers, tends to be more vulnerable to differential mode surges, this additional protection can be a vital consideration.

Furthermore, the capacity to protect against common and differential mode surges permits equipment to remain in continued operation during surge activity – offering considerable benefit to commercial, industrial and public service organisations alike.

All LSP SPDs offer enhanced SPD performance with industry leading low let-through voltages

(voltage protection level, Up), as this is the best choice to achieve cost-effective, maintenance-free repeated protection in addition to preventing costly system downtime. Low let-through voltage protection in all common and differential modes means fewer units are required to provide protection, which saves on unit and installation costs, as well as installation time.

All LSP SPDs offer enhanced SPD performance with industry leading low let-through voltage


Lightning poses a clear threat to a structure but a growing threat to the systems within the structure due to the increased use and reliance of electrical and electronic equipment. The BS EN/IEC 62305 series of standards clearly acknowledge this. Structural lightning protection can no longer be in isolation from transient overvoltage or surge protection of equipment. The use of enhanced SPDs provides a practical cost-effective means of protection allowing continuous operation of critical systems during LEMP activity.