Electrical EquipmentElectricity 101

Electrical Contractor Pre-Fab Strategies for Increased Profitability

A variety of ways exist to quickly and efficiently complete an electrical installation. One method involves using pre-made and pre-fabricated conduits, cables, panels, and devices. Pre-fab strategies cut down on repetitive labor costs and scrap material waste.

Furthermore, pre-fabricated components are assembled in quality-controlled factories by highly trained technicians. This ensures that every device and termination is in working order and properly connected. These technicians work faster and cost less per hour than a journeyman electrician, therefore saving the contractor time and money.

Custom Bundled Cables

Pre-Fab StrategiesWhen pulling multiple wires into a conduit or tray system, wire organization can quickly become a problem. Tangles of wires pulled through pipes or in drop ceilings lead to damaged wires, wasted material, and unnecessary labor. One solution is custom bundled cables. These cables are made to order and can include any combination of wire sizes, colors, and labels. Instead of dozens of cable reels and hours spent carefully marking and wrapping wires, a single bundled reel accomplishes the same task. Multiple options exist for power wires, data and communications.  Fiber optics and multi-conductor control circuits are available for tray, conduit, or even direct burial.

Rough-In Ready Devices

Another option to increase efficiency involves using pre-wired devices. They can be used for repetitive tasks like receptacles, switches, light fixtures, data ports, or fire alarms. They save time by eliminating the need to terminate each device individually. Instead, boxes are made to order and ready to install. The desired length of cable is attached and ready to run to the nearest junction point. Simply attach the box, route the cable, and connect to the supply wires. Most suppliers prepare a custom quote, further reducing time spent by the foreman planning and ordering parts individually.

Pre-Wired Panels

Pre-wired panels are possibly the simplest way to save money, as they require no special tools. Wiring up a panel at the shop before heading to the job site allows you to function test it before installation. This ensures proper functionality. In addition, it keeps the interior of the panel away from weather and other possible sources of job-site damage. For larger or more complex panels, suppliers can be arranged and have the work performed by specialized technicians. Panels can even be ordered with pre-cut and pre-terminated lengths of cable or cord.

Pre-Fabricated Conduit

Most electricians have used pre-formed conduit, especially PVC which requires specialized tools to bend. However, entire runs of pipe can be custom ordered and pre-shaped. Especially useful in underground conduit networks or when complicated bends are required, these pre-made conduits drop in place and fit perfectly to the engineer’s prints. They also ensure that conduits are not damaged or kinked during the bending process and that no sharp edges or rough spots are left to damage wires or cables.

Pre-Fab Strategies for Buildings

Pre-Fab StrategiesIf the project demands it, entire buildings can be pre-made and pre-wired in a factory setting by trained technicians who specialize in quickly and efficiently preparing custom ordered buildings. Especially useful in industrial settings, these buildings come complete with all interior and exterior lights, switches, receptacles, and control wiring.

Often, motor control centers (MCCs) for large industrial installations are constructed this way. Therefore, on-site electricians are free to begin immediately running cables to motors and devices, with simple termination points inside a completed building. In addition to using fewer electrician hours, they also reduce required hours from other tradespeople such as welders or cladding installers.

Finally, pre-fab strategies are a great solution for reducing material waste, worker hours, and downtime while making deadlines a snap. Projects run smoother with fewer errors.