09/30/2002

Quality Assured

How to Require Quality Electrical Installations

 

Find a Contractor

 

Founded in 1901, NECA represents electrical, datacomm, and powerline contractors. A unique dues structure sees members pay hundreds to thousands of dollars annually to access NECA services.

Included with these is the Management Education Institute (www.neca-mei.org), which will train 6,000-plus contracting company executives this year. Additionally, NECA contractors fund a massive training effort: The investment nationwide in apprenticeship training (50,000 apprentices) and journeyman education (60,000 took “skill improvement” classes last year) tops $100 million.

Would the kind of contractor that is behind all this effort do a better job? To find such a company, go to (www.necaconnection.com).

How can you define “quality” in electrical and datacomm construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance work?

That’s a question electrical contractors have asked themselves for years. Why? By the time a building owner or manager discovers he or she has obtained a way-below-par electrical job, the project is already complete. There’s nothing that can be done, except spend more money to upgrade a shoddy job … or just ignore it.

So, to refine the question: How can the end-user specify quality before the job is performed, and require it as part of the electrical and datacomm systems contract?

Members of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Bethesda, MD, have debated that topic for years. Here’s their thinking:

1) NECA’s 4,600 members provide top-quality electrical work.

2) Many other contractors do not; therefore …

3) It would be best if the customer could require – before the job starts, when it is being bid or negotiated – an exact definition of “quality,” preferably in contract documents.

 

How to Require Quality

Can quality be required ahead of time? The National Electrical Code, which is the law in most U.S. locales (upon adoption by municipalities), is a safety code. It ignores quality.

That’s why NECA embarked in 1995 on an open-ended effort to create a library of quality specifications – the National Electrical Installation Standards® (NEIS). Here’s a shorthand guide to these standards:

  • Each covers a specific installation or maintenance task.
  • Creating the standards is a consensus voluntary effort under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, involving all interested parties.
  • Associations with specific expertise have worked with NECA on standards, including the National Electrical Manufacturers Association; the International Association of Lighting Designers; the Fiber Optics Association; and the telecommunications organization, BICSIAs of August 2002, there are 17 NEIS in print, with 11 in progress. One of the first NEIS, on fiber optics, is now being revised, with a second edition expected soon
  • Sample standard titles/topics include:
  • Standard for Installing Steel Conduit.
  • Recommended Practice for Installing Metal Cable Trays.
  • Standard for Fire Alarm System Job Practices.
  • Recommended Practice for Installing Indoor Lighting Systems.
  • Standard for Installing Commercial Building Telecommunication Systems.

How to Use NEIS

How can a building owner or manager use the NEIS? It’s simple – as it was designed to be. The relevant NEIS documents can be included by reference in bid documents or contract negotiations.

What’s the upshot? Electrical or datacomm contractors taking on the work will learn that quality isn’t just expected – it’s been specifically defined and required. Those that might not necessarily provide state-of-the-art electrical/datacomm installations will disqualify themselves.

In other words, any contractor taking on such a job will have to not only meet National Electrical Code standards, but the NEIS requirements that have been placed in the bid and/or contract documents as well.

For more information, see the NEIS website (www.neca-neis.org). If quality electrical work is of interest, subscribe to the free quarterly NEIS Bulletin newsletter.

Emilio J. Rouco (ejr@necanet.org) is director of public relations for the National Electrical Contractors Association (www.necanet.org), Bethesda, MD.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


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Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


 
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