There's no typical cost for a construction project. Everything depends on your project mandate, your industry, the scope of work, the length of the project, and a million other factors. But when you're focused on removing inefficiencies and cutting costs, you can lose sight of some of the strategic issues that could help you gain ROI in the long run. One such issue: Structured cabling installation.
Why Planning Cabling Installation First Saves You Money Later
When you start considering the infrastructure of a large construction project, it's easy to overlook data room locations. There's so much going on already that thinking about the telecommunication spaces and the backbone cabling may be at the end of your list. But it needs to be front and center so you can avoid infrastructure changes at the last minute, or larger cabling expenses down the road because you didn't future proof.
"There are a lot of companies that do not plan well enough for the telecommunications spaces in their buildings," says Dan Loveless, RCDD, senior infrastructure specialist at Twinstate. "Then the headaches start."
To avoid the headaches and the ongoing cost of moves, adds and changes, limit labor costs, which are the highest costs and, most certainly, where your money will go.
"If you plan to have a single cable installed at an end user's station to keep the construction project cost down, you'll end up spending more money in the long run," Loveless says. "The added labor to install more than one cable per location is minimal. Basically, you're just adding material costs for the project at this time. If you need to install extra cables later, though, you'll be paying for labor, again, for adding to the same location."
A Start to What to Think About During the Planning Stages of Construction
Because there's already so much on your list, we're going to cut to the chase and provide you with the most important cable infrastructure points to consider. Here's what you need to add to that list before you start building a new infrastructure.
- How many cables and what types of cables (horizontal) per work area location?
- What size telecommunication space for terminations and equipment?
- Once you establish where the data closets are, consider the limits of your media. You don't want closets to be too sparsely located for cabling to be effective.
- What types of backbone cables will be needed? (Fiber? Copper?) How many strands or pairs will be needed? You'll need to choose your cable type – but if you're confused about the terminology, here's a review.
- Keep station cabling from closet to user to 150 feet. That will keep the cost of your construction, add-ons and changes lower.
- Consider which people or processes you'll interrupt with a new install. Think about room layouts and pathways so you know how to future proof cabling installation, avoiding disruption for your technology and employees.
- Understand fire ratings, wall penetration and concrete disturbance. Says Loveless, "You do not want to have to make another pathway in the future."
- Account for cost of labor. This is where you can save; do more upfront.
We know this can be a lot to grab hold of, especially if you're not versed in network cabling infrastructure. But cabling is the foundation that supports your business at the core, and extending its lifespan makes for increased efficiencies and decreased costs in the long run. To get started, look for a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) trained by Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc. (BICSI). Contact Twinstate to speak with Dan Loveless, our BICSI-registered RCDD.
Originally published on 12/01/2016