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. 

There is an old saying that liars figure and figures lie, which implies that the truth can be a challenge to discern from both people and data. At a recent standards-making conference, I encountered some examples of this concept that seemed worth sharing.

For electrical contractors with a low-voltage or security division—or for any company involved in physical security and surveillance—keeping pace with new technology is one of the greatest challenges.

When I entered the business, I “sold” fire alarm systems. Codes at the time had begun to require that such systems be installed in some occupancies.

In its paper, “Intelligent Efficiency: Innovations Reshaping the Energy Efficiency Market,” Greentech Media notes that efficiency is an untapped energy resource that is already embedded in every commercial building, manufacturing facility and corporate campus.

More on Systems

Control Cables in Cable Trays

Cable trays can be a very convenient method of transporting large numbers of signaling, communications and control cables, as well as other cables, from one location in a facility to another. If cable trays are to be used, however, some specific requirements must be followed.

Communication Systems Offer Routine Emergency Services

A hostage situation can occur almost anywhere, anytime. But communication systems alert a building’s occupants to evacuate or take other appropriate action.

Dealing with Obsolete Components

It may seem unbelievable, but fiber optic links and networks have been used for over 20 years. The first telco networks were installed in the late 1970s and data links were already in use by 1980, when there were few personal computers (PCs) and computer networks.

Fire Pumps and Alarm Systems, Circuits, Services, and More

CODE CITATIONS Article 100—Definitions Article 210—Branch Circuits Article 230—Services Article 695—Fire Pumps Article 725—Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 Remote-Control, Signaling, and Power-Limited Circuits Article 760—Fire Alarm Systems Article 770—Optical Fiber Cables and Raceways Article 800—Comm

Calculating Fiber Optic Power Budgets

After a fiber optic cable plant is installed, it may be used with several different types of fiber optic networks. Computer networks, telephone signals, video links, and even audio can be sent on the installed fibers. Each network type has a performance requirement for the fiber optic cable link.

Seizing Opportunities to Install Open Systems

“In 1998, I saw a presentation about integrated systems at a [National Electrical Contractors Association] NECA seminar. This year we’re going to do close to $7 to $8 million on integrated systems, not including the additional sales generated for the electrical side of our company.

Review Metal-clad Cable Requirements

There are a number of changes in the 2002 National Electrical Code (NEC) regarding Metal-Clad (Type MC) Cable that should be reviewed before your next electrical project. In the 1999 NEC, Article 334 covered Type MC Cable; however, in the 2002 NEC, Type MC Cable has been relocated into Article 330.