Member Discussion

Should All Security Wiring Be Run In Full Conduit?

I have run into clients in the past that insist on full conduit for all security wiring. In my opinion seems like alot of unnecessary cost, since most wiring is monitored for faults. Would love to pros and cons for each.


Conduit is a great idea but the thing that has always concerned me about putting all security wire through is if you have a drywall ceiling and your cable happens to fail, it can become costly to remove the drywall if you are not close to an access panel to change out thw wire

If the client is willing to pay for conduit, why not give them conduit? :)

That said, there's lots of times it's simply not necessary - yes, it CAN make it easier to pull out cable and/or add new cable later, IF there's enough room and/or not too many bends. Free-running through open warehouse ceilings, drop-tile ceilings, etc. (as long as it complies with local electrical codes) can save a lot of time and money, and potentially make future service easier since you have direct access to the entire length of the run.

Generally, I'll only use conduit where it's prudent, whether a code requirement, a client spec requirement (wires hidden for aesthetic reasons), or to protect the wires either from tampering or the elements. Sometimes with outdoor cameras as well, sealing the entire run is the most effective way to keep the elements from the camera's innards (although if it's not done right, it can also be very efficient at carrying water into the camera!)

Putting conduit is the proffesional approach, it depends on the design of the structured cabling for the particular project,

since optimization of cost is necessary - the client will have a word on that, then as proffesional we should make them understand the benifits.

The only times I recommend conduit are:

  1. Where the cable is susceptible to damage or vandalism.
  2. Where running it free air would leave it completely inaccessible later. Like in a drywall ceiling.

Other than that, you're wasting money. If you have an attacker willing to get a ladder and open a ceiling and cut a cable, and they succeed without anyone noticing, I don't feel like it's a far stretch that they could break open a conduit in little more time.

it would be nice if it was in conduit but really its all about the $$$$$. If you are building a new structure it maybe worth having certian access areas if you dont have conduit. A lot of old places we have took over had conduit and have made running new wire for install easier, but i would say its a 50/50 thing cause it depends on location and access to areas where you need to run wires. But i lean more toward having conduit especially where the panels are so that it goes straight to panel box so no one can tamper with wires. again it comes down to $$$$$.

At our facilities we run all access control wiring in conduit. Our video cable is run in conduit in some areas depending on camera location. Everything going outside is in conduit. Anything on the inside within the secured perimiter is free air.

Besides pros and cons, it may depend on the government regualtions for the site. For instance, certian goverment requirements call for all cabling to be in coduit- likely not because it is neat but because it is harder for someone to cut the cable.

There's also electrical and fire codes to consider - for example, around here, fire code requires conduit in plenum airspace for all cable rated less than FT6 (I think up to 3m can be exposed at the end of a run).

posts already cover the points ..mutiple factors to consider my preference is for conduit.

added security and protection for the cable from elements.for outdoor runs a must .

A perfect example of when conduit should have be used is on Class 9 Slides - 'Installation Counts' picture that shows how not to install external cameras. Each install should be looked at independently for environmental reasons before deciding on the need for conduit.

Here's that Slide:

There is no reason to run "all" security wiring in conduit. However, some installations may need to be run in conduit because of the AHJ's demands, local codes, the scope of work, or just to provide a means to protect the cable from damage.

as an installer I'd have to say that this would depend on the ease of access to the wire. If it's difficult for me to get to as the installer, then I say let it ride. If I can get to it in a relatively easy fassion and quickly...put it in pipe. Of course this would also depend on what I was trying to secure and how much of a potential threat actually existed as well.

We typically only use conduit on outdoor cable runs. I understand the benefit of using conduit, but the cost of both materials and labor outweighs the usefulness if it is an easy indoor run. Especially when there is not much space to work with, working the wire through the spaces, let alone a conduit as well, is going to be an adventure.

Definitely depends on the local authorities and the type of construction.

I agree with other comments here as far as if the wire is exposed or easily accessable. It also depends on what you are secureing. If what is being secured is critical I would recommend hardened conduit.

I agree with most of the others here. If we said yes to conduit - then what kind of conduit would be "good enough" to provide real extra security? I just wish we could get all installers to install cabling in a 'neat and workmanlike manner' using good sense. if it's exposed, put it in RGS, if not - install it concealed as best as possible with j-hooks and velcro and FOLLOW PERPENDICULAR BUILDING LINES!! ...you know who you are...

The decision would be based on code first. After that, if it is not required by code the customer's budget would dictate whether or not to have this added cost if it made sense.

Seen PVC conduits generally , and GI conduits for special cases, any way sometimes we face limitations to do conduits where the glass doors and some special kind of request are given by the customer. It is understood that the cost will be a matter of concern while goin for full conduits.

We will use conduit where ever possible but often cost/budget limitations cause the customer to prioritize the conduit out of the project scope

This does not seem like an easy yes or no but must first follow code then customer budget. I learn a lot from this discussion.

I say that if the wiring will be unaccessable for future service then yes, it should absolutely be ran in conduit. If the wire is easy to get to and replace in the event of something faulting the wire then no, simple as that.

On the other hand if the customer requests full conduit, then by all means, hard pipe it up.

we normally only use conduit in exposed areas and walls. if the wires are above a drop ceiling or sheetrock, then we usually dont use it.

There are several factors that affect the decision; code requirements, client budget, environment of installation, i prefer conduits as it provides good protection for cables.

As mentioned before, it is decided on by a few factors. But I think each factor either dictates using conduit or not over another factor. If code requires, then you best use it. If there is money in the budget for it, then probably best it's used. But then if for security of vandals and enviroment, it should be used in those areas. And then finally the least decision maker of all these, should be for esthetics. I think these factors should decide if conduit is used and I run through these factors when deciding if to use conduit.

I would only use conduit if wiring is exposed or succeptible to damage. Or, in a high-security area such as a prison which i would assume it would be required in such an environment.