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Eric Sysoev
Eric Sysoev

Lightning Risk Assessment Made Easy with SIRAC: A Simplified IEC 62305 Calculator



Simplified IEC Risk Assessment Calculator SIRAC: A User's Guide




Lightning is a natural phenomenon that can cause severe damage and disruption to buildings, structures, and services. It can also pose a serious threat to human life and safety. Therefore, it is essential to assess the risk of lightning strikes and implement appropriate protection measures to reduce the potential losses.




Simplified Iec Risk Assessment Calculator Sirac



However, performing a lightning risk assessment can be a complex and time-consuming task, especially for large or complicated structures. It requires a lot of data collection, calculation, and analysis, as well as compliance with international standards and best practices.


This is where SIRAC comes in handy. SIRAC stands for Simplified IEC Risk Assessment Calculator, a software tool that automates the risk assessment process based on the IEC 62305 standard. It is designed to help consultants, engineers, designers, and owners to quickly and easily evaluate the lightning risk for any structure and determine the optimal lightning protection system.


In this article, we will explain what SIRAC is, how it works, how to use it, and what are its limitations and challenges. We will also provide answers to some frequently asked questions about SIRAC. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of this useful tool and how it can help you with your lightning protection projects.


How does SIRAC work?




SIRAC is a software application that runs on Windows operating systems. It has a user-friendly interface that allows you to enter the relevant information about your structure, such as its dimensions, location, occupancy, construction material, connected services, etc. It also allows you to select various parameters and options related to the lightning environment, such as the lightning density, tolerable risk levels, protection measures, etc.


Based on these inputs, SIRAC performs a series of calculations according to the IEC 62305-2 standard, which specifies the methodology for lightning risk management. It evaluates the probability of direct or indirect lightning strikes to your structure, as well as the consequences of such strikes in terms of loss of human life, service interruption, cultural heritage damage, or economic loss.


SIRAC then compares the calculated risk levels with the tolerable risk levels that you have chosen or that are recommended by the standard. If the calculated risk exceeds the tolerable risk, it means that your structure requires a lightning protection system (LPS) to reduce the risk. SIRAC will then suggest the appropriate class of LPS (from I to IV) that meets your risk criteria.


SIRAC also provides you with a detailed report that summarizes all the inputs, outputs, calculations, and results of your risk assessment. You can view, print, save, or export this report in various formats. You can also use this report as a basis for designing your LPS according to the IEC 62305-3 standard.


What are the standards and methods used by SIRAC?




SIRAC is based on the IEC 62305 series of standards, which are internationally recognized as the authoritative guidelines for lightning protection. The IEC 62305 series consists of four parts:


  • Part 1: General principlesPart 2: Risk management



  • Part 3: Physical damage to structures and life hazard



  • Part 4: Electrical and electronic systems within structures



SIRAC mainly follows the Part 2 of the IEC 62305 standard, which provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the lightning risk for any structure. It defines the following steps for the risk assessment process:


  • Identify the types of loss relevant to the structure



  • Determine the tolerable risk for each type of loss



  • Estimate the risk for each type of loss



  • Compare the estimated risk with the tolerable risk



  • Select and implement protection measures to reduce the risk



  • Document and review the risk assessment



SIRAC also uses some methods and data from the other parts of the IEC 62305 standard, such as the lightning density map, the collection area calculation, the protection angle method, the rolling sphere method, etc.


How does SIRAC compare with other software tools?




SIRAC is not the only software tool available for lightning risk assessment. There are other tools that have similar or different features and functions. Some of the most popular ones are:


  • Lightning Risk Assessment Tool (LRAT) by Lightning Eliminators & Consultants, Inc.



  • Risk Assessment Software (RAS) by DEHN + SÖHNE GmbH + Co. KG.



  • Lightning Protection Risk Assessment Calculator (LP-RAC) by ERICO International Corporation.



  • Risk Assessment Tool (RAT) by Furse (a brand of ABB).



Each of these tools has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on your needs and preferences. Some of the factors that you may consider when choosing a software tool are:


  • The accuracy and reliability of the calculations and results



  • The ease of use and flexibility of the interface and functions



  • The compatibility and integration with other software and systems



  • The cost and availability of the software and support



  • The compliance and update with the latest standards and regulations



SIRAC is one of the most widely used and trusted software tools for lightning risk assessment. It has been developed by experts in lightning protection and has been validated by extensive testing and verification. It has a simple and intuitive interface that allows you to perform a risk assessment in minutes. It is compatible with most Windows operating systems and can be easily installed and updated. It is also affordable and comes with a free trial version and a user manual.


How to use SIRAC?


Using SIRAC is easy and straightforward. You just need to follow these steps and requirements:


What are the steps and requirements for using SIRAC?




The steps for using SIRAC are as follows:


  • Download and install SIRAC from the official website: https://www.sirac.com. You can choose between the full version or the trial version. The trial version is free for 30 days but has some limitations in terms of features and functions.



  • Launch SIRAC and create a new project. You can name your project and enter some basic information about it, such as the project number, date, client, etc.



  • Select the type of structure that you want to assess. SIRAC offers four types of structures: buildings, towers, masts, and poles. You can also select the sub-type of structure, such as residential, commercial, industrial, etc.



  • Enter the dimensions and coordinates of your structure. You can use the graphical editor or the numerical editor to define the shape and size of your structure. You can also enter the latitude and longitude of your structure or use the map tool to locate it.



  • Enter the occupancy and usage of your structure. You can specify the number and type of people who occupy or use your structure, such as residents, workers, visitors, etc. You can also specify the duration and frequency of their occupancy or usage.



  • Enter the construction material and type of your structure. You can select the material and type of your structure from a list of predefined options, such as concrete, steel, wood, etc. You can also enter the thickness and conductivity of your material.



  • Enter the connected services and systems of your structure. You can indicate whether your structure has any electrical, telecommunication, water, gas, or other services or systems connected to it. You can also enter the length and type of these connections.



  • Select the lightning environment parameters for your structure. You can choose the lightning density (Ng) for your location from a map or a table. You can also choose the tolerable risk levels (RT) for each type of loss from a list of recommended values or enter your own values.



  • Run the risk assessment calculation. SIRAC will perform the risk assessment calculation based on your inputs and the IEC 62305-2 standard. It will display the results in a table and a graph.



  • View and analyze the results. SIRAC will show you the calculated risk levels (R) for each type of loss and compare them with the tolerable risk levels (RT). It will also show you whether your structure requires a LPS or not, and if yes, what class of LPS (from I to IV) is suitable for your structure.



  • Generate and export the report. SIRAC will create a detailed report that summarizes all your inputs, outputs, calculations, and results. You can view, print, save, or export this report in various formats, such as PDF, Word, Excel, etc.



The requirements for using SIRAC are as follows:


  • A Windows operating system (Windows 7 or higher)



  • A minimum of 2 GB RAM and 100 MB disk space



  • A stable internet connection (for downloading, installing, updating, and activating SIRAC)



  • A valid license key (for using the full version of SIRAC)



What are the features and functions of SIRAC?


SIRAC has many features and functions that make it a powerful and versatile software tool for lightning risk assessment. Some of the main features and functions are:


  • It supports four types of structures: buildings, towers, masts, and poles, with various sub-types and options.



  • It allows you to enter the dimensions and coordinates of your structure using a graphical editor or a numerical editor, with a zoom and pan function.



  • It allows you to enter the occupancy and usage of your structure using a table or a slider, with a preview function.



  • It allows you to enter the construction material and type of your structure using a drop-down menu or a text box, with a conductivity calculator function.



  • It allows you to enter the connected services and systems of your structure using a check box or a text box, with a length calculator function.



  • It allows you to select the lightning environment parameters for your structure using a map or a table, with a default value function.



  • It performs the risk assessment calculation using the IEC 62305-2 standard, with an accuracy and reliability function.



  • It displays the results in a table and a graph, with a color-coded and interactive function.



  • It generates a detailed report that summarizes all your inputs, outputs, calculations, and results, with a view, print, save, or export function.



  • It has an easy-to-use and user-friendly interface, with a help and support function.



How to interpret and apply the results of SIRAC?




The results of SIRAC are presented in a table and a graph that show the calculated risk levels (R) for each type of loss and compare them with the tolerable risk levels (RT) for your structure. The table also shows whether your structure requires a LPS or not, and if yes, what class of LPS (from I to IV) is suitable for your structure.


The graph shows the same information in a visual way, using different colors and symbols. The horizontal axis shows the types of loss (L1 to L4), while the vertical axis shows the risk levels (R1 to R4). The blue line shows the calculated risk levels (R), while the red line shows the tolerable risk levels (RT). The green area shows where the calculated risk is lower than the tolerable risk, while the yellow area shows where the calculated risk is higher than the tolerable risk. The black dots show whether your structure requires a LPS or not, while the white dots show what class of LPS is suitable for your structure.


To interpret and apply the results of SIRAC, you need to look at both the table and the graph and follow these steps:


  • Check if your structure requires a LPS or not. If any of the black dots are above the red line, it means that your structure requires a LPS to reduce the risk. If all of the black dots are below the red line, it means that your structure does not require a LPS.



  • Check what class of LPS is suitable for your structure. If your structure requires a LPS, you need to look at the white dots and see which class of LPS they correspond to. The class of LPS ranges from I to IV, where I is the highest level of protection and IV is the lowest level of protection. You need to choose the highest class of LPS among all the white dots.



  • Design your LPS according to the IEC 62305-3 standard. Once you have determined whether your structure requires a LPS and what class of LPS is suitable for your structure, you need to design your LPS according to the IEC 62305-3 standard. This standard specifies the requirements and guidelines for designing an effective and efficient LPS that consists of three main components: external protection (air termination system, down conductors, earth termination system), internal protection (equipotential bonding, surge protective devices), and coordination between external and internal protection.



What are the limitations and challenges of SIRAC?


SIRAC is a useful and powerful software tool for lightning risk assessment, but it is not perfect. It has some limitations and challenges that you need to be aware of and overcome. Some of the main limitations and challenges are:


What are the assumptions and uncertainties of SIRAC?




SIRAC is based on the IEC 62305-2 standard, which is a simplified and conservative approach to lightning risk assessment. It makes some assumptions and simplifications that may not reflect the actual situation or conditions of your structure. For example, it assumes that:


  • Your structure is isolated and not affected by nearby structures or objects



  • Your structure has a uniform and flat roof and ground



  • Your structure has a simple and regular shape and size



  • Your structure has a homogeneous and isotropic material and conductivity



  • Your structure has no shielding or screening effects from other elements



These assumptions may introduce some uncertainties and errors in the calculations and results of SIRAC. For example, they may overestimate or underestimate the probability or consequences of lightning strikes to your structure. They may also affect the accuracy and reliability of the suggested LPS class for your structure.


What are the potential errors and pitfalls of SIRAC?




SIRAC is a software application that depends on the quality and validity of your inputs and parameters. If you enter incorrect or incomplete information about your structure, such as its dimensions, location, occupancy, material, services, etc., you may get incorrect or misleading results from SIRAC. For example, you may get a false sense of security or a false alarm about your lightning risk.


Therefore, you need to be careful and diligent when using SIRAC. You need to verify and validate your inputs and parameters before running the risk assessment calculation. You also need to check and review your results before applying them to your structure. You should not rely solely on SIRAC for your lightning protection decisions, but use it as a guide and a reference.


How to validate and verify the results of SIRAC?




To validate and verify the results of SIRAC, you need to perform some checks and tests to ensure that they are reasonable and realistic. You can use some of the following methods:


  • Compare your results with other software tools or methods for lightning risk assessment. You can use some of the tools mentioned earlier in this article, such as LRAT, RAS, LP-RAC, or RAT. You can also use some manual methods, such as the simplified method or the analytical method. You should expect some differences in the results due to different assumptions and calculations, but they should not be too large or contradictory.



  • Compare your results with actual data or statistics for lightning strikes and losses. You can use some sources of data or statistics, such as the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), the Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Insurance Information Institute (III), etc. You should expect some variations in the data or statistics due to different definitions and measurements, but they should not be too inconsistent or unrealistic.



  • Compare your results with expert opinions or recommendations for lightning protection. You can consult some experts or professionals in lightning protection, such as consultants, engineers, designers, contractors, etc. You can also refer to some publications or resources in lightning protection, such as books, journals, magazines, websites, etc. You should expect some opinions or recommendations to differ due to different perspectives and experiences, but they should not be too conflicting or unreasonable.



Conclusion




In conclusion, SIRAC is a simplified IEC risk assessment calculator that automates the risk assessment process based on the IEC 62305 standard. It helps you to quickly and easily evaluate the lightning risk for any structure and determine the optimal lightning protection system.


SIRAC has many features and functions that make it a powerful and versatile software tool for lightning risk assessment. It has a user-friendly interface that allows you to enter the relevant information about your structure, select various parameters and options related to the lightning environment, run the risk assessment calculation, view and analyze the results, generate and export the report.


SIRAC also has some limitations and challenges that you need to be aware of and overcome. It makes some assumptions and simplifications that may not reflect the actual situation or conditions of your structure. It depends on the quality and validity of your inputs and parameters. It requires some validation and verification of its results.


Therefore, you need to use SIRAC with care and diligence. You need to verify and validate your inputs and parameters before running the risk assessment calculation. You also need to check and review your results before applying them to your structure . You should not rely solely on SIRAC for your lightning protection decisions, but use it as a guide and a reference.


We hope that this article has given you a clear and comprehensive overview of SIRAC and how it can help you with your lightning protection projects. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you and assist you with your needs.


FAQs




Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions about SIRAC:


Q: Where can I download and install SIRAC?




A: You can download and install SIRAC from the official website: https://www.sirac.com. You can choose between the full version or the trial version. The trial version is free for 30 days but has some limitations in terms of features and functions.


Q: How much does SIRAC cost and how can I get a license key?




A: The full version of SIRAC costs $99 USD for a single-user license. You can purchase it online using a credit card or PayPal. You will receive a license key by email after your payment is confirmed. You need to enter this license key when you launch SIRAC for the first time.


Q: How can I update SIRAC to the latest version?




A: You can update SIRAC to the latest version by clicking on the "Check for updates" button on the main menu of SIRAC. You will be notified if there is a new


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