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. 

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.

Maintenance and renovation services don’t get much more complex, challenging or fluid than in data centers. As cloud-based computing pervades, data centers are becoming more plentiful, the data they collect and manage is growing, and security needs are becoming more critical.


More on Systems

 
New Opportunities In Access Control

Contractors and their customers­­ are looking at the specification possibilities for long-range transmission-reading technologies as a standalone solution or piggybacked on proximity (hands-free) and smart card access control.



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Design Interventions

Where do you begin? The technician inside all of us wants to immediately lay out the design on the plans, but that should not be your first move. Instead, determine what goals the owner and other relevant stakeholders want the building’s fire protection system to do.


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Weather Guard van upfit components
Cool Tools: Vehicle Upfits

No matter the trade, an organized and well-outfitted truck makes workers more efficient, enabling them to complete jobs faster and finish more tasks every day.



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Playing Small, Winning Big

Lloyd F. McKinney Associates, Hayward, Calif., may be a small business, but in the eyes of project manager Ty McKinney, its size is one of the company’s major strengths. However, the company isn’t small because it’s a new business with plans to expand.


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Raising The Bar

“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them.” I’ve heard Wayne D. Moore cite this Zig Ziglar quote many times during presentations, and, for me, it always hits home.


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Wiring Wireless

All of that dark fiber we have been discussing the last few months is getting used for some fast-growing applications, and the fastest may be connecting cell towers. Cell phones have evolved into mobile data devices. Smartphones and tablets consume vast amounts of data.


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Screaming For Ice Cream

A hot summer’s evening usually begets long lines at the local ice cream shop. Recently, at one such shop, the line grew extra long when the cash registers and credit card machines mysteriously powered off and on.


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