Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs)The Inevitable Issues with Low Voltage Cabling and How to Prevent and Fix Major Messes in Your IT Room or Security Systems

Lindsay Scherr

 

By Lindsay Scherr,
Business Development Manager,
ASE Telecom & Data

There are both positive and negative reasons that we are brought into a company or building to fix their structured cabling or security systems after they have been installed. It’s exciting when a client is moving into a new space or restructuring their existing space to accommodate new efficiencies or employees in their workplace. We have clients that call us to run additional cable or to change access to various spaces in their offices and warehouses. The challenge happens when we are called in to fix the messes.  We have seen everything from stolen cameras, broken access controls, cable “spaghetti” (this is not the delicious kind!), and even the wrong kind of cable that has been installed or improperly labeled.  Anybody can pull cable, right?  Wrong.

There is the thought that every low voltage contractor does the same work in the same way. There are a few things that you want to make sure that you ask before signing on the dotted line so you don’t run into expensive, unnecessary MACs down the road:

  1. What is your experience with low voltage cabling? Do you have references? Even if you are hiring an electrical contractor, make sure they ask these questions to the low voltage sub. Some of our most expensive MACs have been because the electrical contractor chose the wrong sub.
  2. Are you licensed and insured? You would be shocked at how many fly-by-night contractors there are who don’t have licenses, BICSI certifications, or even insurance.
  3. What certifications do you have? Manufacturers will certify installers of their cabling so that they can test the cables to ensure proper installation. Security installers need to know their equipment thoroughly.  Furthermore, some members of our team are third party, certified by BICSI as Registered Communications Distribution Designers (RCDDs), which is an important way to distinguish the team’s expertise.
  4. Are you busy? This is a twofold question. If they are not busy, they may not be in business in six months. If they are too busy, they may not be able to give your project the attention it deserves. It’s important to understand your contractor’s history, current abilities, and reliability in the future.
  5. What are the latest trends in the industry? If they are talking about cat 3 cabling as the hottest thing out there, run.
  6. What are your suggestions for value engineering this project? A lot of times, contractors can come up with ideas to help you save money or increase security coverage by suggesting different camera or access scenarios.
  7. Can I see pictures of your last install? This is where you can figure out if the contractor knows what they are doing. Are the patch cables organized? Are the cables running through the ceiling bound together properly? If the answers are “no,” it’s probably a good idea to get a second quote.

Moves, adds and changes are part of the process when it comes to how you run your business. Make sure whomever you choose will support your IT objectives. It can be very expensive to have your structured cabling or security systems retrofitted because they weren’t installed properly in the first place. We hope these questions will prevent you from future challenges, and that the MACs you encounter will be the good kind!

For more information regarding ASE’s services, please visit ASETelecom.com or call (305) 471-9888.

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