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NSCA Updates Labor Installation Standard

NSCA has released updated Labor Installation Standard guidelines for 2018, providing information that systems integrators can use to accurately estimate labor units—the biggest factor impacting project profitability, according to the company.

As the result of a thorough, months-long peer review by a team of experts from around the country, the new guidelines detail the amount of time it takes to complete project-related tasks, factoring in time spent on material handling, examining drawings/layouts and equipment installation. The guidelines include labor units required for installation of specific systems, which are divided into categories, such as Access Control, Cabling, Digital Signage, Fire Alarm Systems, Healthcare Communications and Security/Life Safety Systems.

For each technology system, labor units are provided in three different levels—normal, difficult and challenging—so they can be adjusted based on project difficulty (higher ceiling heights, for example), installer experience and/or site conditions.

The 2018 report also includes installation data on new technology platforms and systems prevalent in the market since the last report update, and adjusts labor hours for existing technology systems based on current installation methods and efficiencies.

“Interestingly, the time it takes to install low-voltage technology systems has not necessarily improved over the years,” Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director, said. “Even with the many labor-saving devices we use today, installation hours are the same—or, in some cases, longer. It’s important that integrators know and understand this, and use the Labor Installation Standard guidelines accordingly. Project labor estimates are vital to get right to ensure profitability.”

For more information about the Labor Installation Standard, go to or call 800.446.6722.

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