Construction may be slower to transform than some industries, but it still adapts to changing times. Even if contractors resist embracing new technologies in their own workflows, the same is likely not true for their clients. Buildings themselves are becoming more tech-centric, making low voltage contractors a valuable asset.
Low voltage contractors work with electrical equipment at 50 volts or fewer, which covers much of modern technology. Phone lines, internet cables, and CCTV systems typically all fall into this field and are all growing. As connected buildings and smart cities become increasingly popular, demand for low voltage infrastructure will keep climbing. Firms could try and handle the installation of such infrastructure themselves, but hiring a contractor is a better option.
Without an expert in this field, low voltage systems can slow projects down, leading to project delays and cost overruns. And that’s exactly why you need subcontractors with experience and certifications in low voltage systems to improve productivity on the job site.
Here are 5 ways low voltage contractors improve field and labor productivity.
Constructing a modern building is a multifaceted undertaking, sometimes involving dozens of distinct disciplines. You can’t expect every worker to be an expert in all these fields, but expertise saves time. A team of specialized subcontractors focusing on their specific disciplines ensures maximum productivity at the worksite.
When low voltage contractors take care of cabling, the rest of the team can focus on what they know best. Subcontractors can handle these tasks faster given their experience, which also frees other workers. When people don’t have to take on jobs they’re unfamiliar with, they’ll be more productive.
The U.S. construction industry employs more than 11.2 million people, encompassing a wide range of skill sets. That means there’s someone fit for every task, and you can take advantage of that. Contractors can handle the increasing amount of low voltage work as the rest of the crew focuses on their expertise.
Construction sites are prone to errors, contributing to the industry’s notoriously frequent cost and schedule overruns. You can avoid mistakes by spotting them before they happen, but this is often easier said than done. Specialists like low voltage contractors can help highlight potential issues that you might have overlooked.
Countless factors can impact how an electrical system works, so there’s lots of room for error. If a non-specialist tries to handle the wiring, they could make mistakes they don’t realize until later. Low voltage contractors ensure things work the first time, avoiding costly rework.
A low voltage contractor can also tell you when another design or construction choice will compromise the electrical systems. You can then stop or change a process before it gets in the way of wiring. Since rework can reduce yearly profits by 28%, avoiding these mistakes is crucial.
Construction is a highly regulated industry, and that goes double for anything involving electronics. Violation fines can cost more than $120,000 for a single offense, and that doesn’t include the cost of rework. Given these financial risks, you want to ensure all aspects of a project fall safely under relevant guidelines and restrictions.
Electrical work is complicated, so if you’re not an expert, you could easily miss potential regulatory violations. For example, low voltage wiring must be at least 6 inches underground, and lights can’t be closer than 5 feet to water. A specialized contractor will know all these regulations and can point them out before violations arise.
When teams don’t have to stop to review regulations, they can finish their work sooner. Compliance also means less time is wasted going back and fixing potential violations. Without a low voltage contractor on your crew, ensuring compliance could take far more time.
Material and equipment knowledge
Errors surrounding materials and equipment are another common source of lower productivity in construction. When workers bring the wrong tools for the job or use substandard materials, it can make things unnecessarily complicated. As low voltage wiring becomes more common in projects, you should ensure you have the right electrical equipment and resources.
Equipment selection might not seem like a prominent issue at first, but it can have considerable financial impacts. For example, the right PPE choice can lead to returns 48 times the initial investment once you factor in indirect savings. Low voltage contractors will know what to use for a given job, helping you see similar savings.
An experienced low voltage contractor will also know how to use their tools most effectively. They can take care of wiring faster, improving overall worksite productivity. As low voltage applications take up an increasingly substantial part of construction, these time savings will become more significant.
Cohesion and consistency
When you work with a low voltage contractor, you ensure higher overall project cohesion. Construction involves many areas that need to work together to produce a better final product. Low voltage electronics are making up a growing portion of construction projects, so experts in this area should be more involved in the process.
Low voltage contractors can review BIM models to address clashes related to wiring. Clash detection features may point these potential errors out, but it takes a professional to fix them. Involving subcontractors at this phase ensures you find the best possible solutions to these problems.
When low voltage contractors help from the beginning, they create a more cohesive plan. You’ll ensure that every aspect of the project fits together into a consistent, high-quality whole. This consistency and cohesion will mean less confusion in construction, leading to faster completion times and higher client satisfaction.
A mere 10% improvement in labor productivity leads to a 3.3% reduction in net annual expenses. As construction projects become increasingly tech-centric, low voltage contractors will significantly improve productivity. As a result, these subcontractors may prove to be an indispensable part of every construction team and project.
If you’re a low voltage contractor who’d like to learn how the Fieldwire platform can be used to improve productivity, read this blog post.