Ground area generally refers to one of two things; the footprint of a structure at ground level or the area around a large power system where electricity bleeds into the ground. When talking about a structure, the ground area is often much larger than the structure itself. Many buildings have landscaping, parking lots, driveways or other such things that increase the size of the structure at ground level. A power-based ground area is often found around substations and large transformers. During a power spike, these systems will send a lot of power to ground, causing a ground potential rise.
In construction, ground area is often a point of major concern for builders. There are the obvious points, such as ensuring there will be enough parking, the look of the structure, and so on; but that is just the beginning of the ground area’s importance. There are many factors that are much more subtle that affect the ground placement of a structure.
Two of the more important points to consider are zoning and utility matters. Most places have laws that govern the placement of building. These laws don’t just talk about the building itself; they also talk about constructed portions of a complex. For instance, a paved driveway may need to be a certain number of feet or meters away from a neighbor’s property line.
When discussing utilities, providers may require that the building’s hookups be within a certain distance from the main system. This is especially true with above-ground systems, as you need to be a certain distance away for safety but within a certain distance to keep costs down. All of these factors affect the overall shape and construction of the final structure and, therefore, its ground area.
The electricity ground area refers to the grounding of power during a spike. This area is particularly common in and around electric substations where power is converted and transported. A metal fence, which both keeps people away from the dangerous machines and makes it less likely that a person is in their ground area, surrounds most large substations. Even so, in the case of a large spike, the area the electricity fills when grounded may be larger than the protected area.
This grounding creates something called a ground potential rise. In extreme cases, a person may be electrocuted because his two ground-touching feet complete a circuit. In addition, power may spike between the ground and large metal objects, such as cars or buildings. Lastly, nearby metallic objects like railroad tracks or household pipes may become electrified and deliver painful, or even life-threatening, shocks.