Low voltage systems include but are not limited to: access control, security, CCTV, burglary, fire, PA, intercom, nurse call, network, phone, data, and other local and remote notification systems. While progress has been made in wireless technologies, the primary, and most secure, and reliable installations, if not the most economical, are hard wired systems.
For commercial and industrial low voltage installations, the field wiring, device mounting, and panel installations are a major portion of the installation. While these tasks are required to be completed in accordance with customer specifications, local building, fire, electrical, and other codes, they are typically pretty standard and require little technical knowledge of the specific system terminations, power, testing and operation.
Most commercial and industrial low voltage system dealers, vendors and integrators have invested substantially in training their technicians on the technical aspects of installing, maintaining and operating the systems they promote. Depending on the work schedule, including service calls and maintenance contracts, using technicians for the basic wiring tasks may not be the best scheduling, financial and customer relations option. Unless business is in a slow period, and technicians need to be gainfully employed rather than not working, keep them scheduled on tasks that require their technical abilities and challenges their abilities.
The options for completing the routine wire and field device installation and mounting include hiring skilled but non-technical employees, using electrical contractors, hiring from a temp agency or finding a sub-contractor that knows and understands low voltage systems that can be trusted to install the systems when and the way you want them installed.
It is difficult to find Electricians of All Skill Levels that are 100% efficient in all fields but low voltage systems have to be handled by only those that know how to differentiate them from high voltage systems, which is incredibly rare to find but the routine wire and device installation can be handed to any electrical service in the vicinity as it is an easy task but it is your say that matters because it is being installed on your property.
As low voltage system technician, project manager, project engineer and finally area manager, I know the importance of the installation of the basics and how it can and will have an impact on the system operation. While hiring general skilled labor for the basic is a good option because it affords the opportunity to control the entire installation, this option drives up the overall cost of labor that canít be recovered when business is slow and these employees have limited project tasks.
Temporary agencies can provide the help required when business is brisk, but this is a crap shoot. You can provide the required abilities you are looking for, but what you get may or may not be able or willing to provide the services you need to accomplish the installation.
Electrical contractors have the knowledge, experience; know the codes, and wiring methods. They can provide the services you need but they may or may not be reasonably priced, provide their best people for your projects, or be able to meet your schedule.
The last and best alternative is to sub-contract with a company that has experience with low voltage systems, knows the requirements of customer satisfaction, building codes, installation methods, understands the relationship you have with your customers and the only cost is for actual services performed and has no additional costs when business is slow. This solution provides the best options of the electrical contractor, temporary agency, and non-technical employees.