Systems

 

 

Integrated electrical and low-voltage systems of all types—inside and outside a building—encompass the range of work that electrical contractors do. The articles in this section highlight different types of work, from security, fire and life safety, to traditional electrical power and distribution, to lighting, cabling and more. 

Electrical contractors (ECs) are bearing witness to dramatic changes in the physical security industry. Everything is moving to the network. Customers connect to systems and services with smartphone apps.

In my 40-plus years in fire protection, I have learned that electrical contractors (ECs) sell and install the lion’s share of fire alarm systems in medium- to large-size buildings. Most of these contractors also finish the installation, pass the acceptance test and move on to the next project.

There is no question today’s fire alarm systems are more complex than they were 20 years ago. More panels are addressable, which means programmers, installers and inspection and testing personnel need to be better qualified.


Do you know everything you need to about the specialty electrical systems you install? What about the new technology that appears on the horizon? Probably not, since you cannot build a profitable contracting business by being a jack of all trades and master of none.

More on Systems

 
Measuring Up

Imagine what would happen if you were working on a construction project and had to make a measurement. You used your tape measure and got a length based on the markings on the tape. A member of your crew showed up with a laser ranger and made his measurement.


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In the Zone

It is not a new cabling and wiring installation technique, but it has certainly come of age. Zone cabling is a little like the old multiplexed circuits of the early high-end burglar alarm systems (think New York jewelry stores) with a much more modern twist.


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Producing Effective Terminations

Some years back, fiber optic connector manufacturers started offering connectors that terminated fiber quickly without using adhesives or requiring polishing. The manufacturer glued a short stub fiber into the connector ferrule and polished it perfectly in the factory.


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To Host or Not to Host

It is a well-known fact that with popularity comes both praise and criticism—voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) is no exception. Whether or not to host VoIP is a question contractors need to start asking, because the decision may help close a deal or directly affect an installation.


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The ITS-Trained Worker

How important are information transport systems skills for the data-communications contractor? Being a professional data-communications (or low-voltage) contractor includes many components.


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Wind Power - Friends and Foes

Up to 2,500 megawatts (mw) of wind energy capacity are scheduled to come online in the United States this year, bringing new power to the equivalent of 700,000 homes and injecting more than $3 billion of investment into the power generation sector. Wind power has truly become a reality.


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Certification Programs and Your Career

The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts a 23 percent increase in new job opportunities for electricians by 2012.


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