Cable Labor Estimate Standard - Ceiling Runs

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Nov 25, 2014

Running cabling is routinely one of the biggest costs on a new project, and being able to estimate basic costs is an important first step for end users and installers alike.

In the second entry from our IPVM Install Labor Estimate Standard, we focus on the most common and time consuming aspects for running new cable.

Two Common Scenarios

We asked survey takers to give us their typical installation manpower estimate for 50 feet of new cable run overhead, providing an image and text description:

Low Tile Grid Ceiling: "This location has no existing raceways or hooks, with no access from attic space above. How many hours would you estimate to run cabling in a 50' (~15m) length of the acoustic tile/drop grid, 9 foot high ceiling type below? Why?" 

High Hard Panel Ceiling: "This location has no existing raceways or hooks, with ample access from attic space above. How many hours would you estimate to run cabling in a 50' (~15m) length of the solid panel, drywall sheathed 12 foot high ceiling type below? Why?"

Inside, we provide estimates and color commentary on the key factors impacting those estimates.

******* ******* ** ********* *** ** *** ******* ***** ** a *** *******, *** ***** **** ** ******** ***** ***** is ** ********* ***** **** *** *** ***** *** ********** alike.

** *** ****** ***** **** *** **** ******* ***** ******** Standard, ** ***** ** *** **** ****** *** **** ********* aspects *** ******* *** *****.

Two ****** *********

** ***** ****** ****** ** **** ** ***** ******* ************ manpower ******** *** ** **** ** *** ***** *** ********, providing ** ***** *** **** ***********:

*** **** **** *******: "**** ******** *** ** ******** ******** ** hooks, **** ** ****** **** ***** ***** *****. *** **** ***** ***** you ******** ** *** ******* ** * **' (~***) ****** of *** ******** ****/**** ****, * **** **** ******* **** below? ***?" 

**** **** ***** *******: "**** ******** *** ** ******** ******** or *****, **** ***** ****** **** ***** ***** *****. *** many ***** ***** *** ******** ** *** ******* ** * **' (~15m) ****** ** *** ***** *****, ******* ******** ** **** high ******* **** *****? ***?"

******, ** ******* ********* *** ***** ********** ** *** *** factors ********* ***** *********.

[***************]

Low **** **** *******

"**** ******** *** ** ******** ******** ** *****, **** ** access **** ***** ***** *****. *** ***************** *** ******** ** *** ******* ** * **' (~***) length ** *** ******** ****/**** ****, * **** **** ******* type *****? ***?" 

**** ******* *********** **** ******** ** ********** *** ***********:

*******: **** **% ** *** ********* **** ******* *.* ** *.* ********. *** **** ****** ** ***** *****: 

************ ** ***** *****/*******: ******* **** ********

** *** *** ******* *** ******* ********* *** ******* ** requirements ** ********** * *** ** *****, ******* ******* ******* like **** ************, ** ***** ******* ******* ** ** *********** by *** *********. ** *******, *** ******* ****** ******* ***** and **** ******* *********** ********* ** ******* ***** *****. 

** ******* *****, *** ******** ** ********** ******* ** ***** doubled *** ********:

  • "******* ***** **** ******* **** ******* ***** **** *********** * hours. *** **** **** **** ** *** ****************** **** ****** *** ** **** *******. **** **** *** run **** ****** ***** *** **** **** *** ***** ********** structure ***** ******* *** *****."
  • "*.* *****. *. **** ******* *****, *. ***** *-***** ** other ***** **********, *. *** **** ******, *. **** *****, e. **** ***** **********, *. ******* ***** & ***** **."
  • "** *** ** **' ** * **** **** ******* *** existing ***** *****, *** ** ***** ****** **** * ***** if ** ******* **** ***."
  • "**** ******** ******..**** ** ****** *** ******** ***** *** *** cabling ** ****** ******* ******** **** *** ********** **** **** back *** **** *** *******. ** *** * ***** ******* plastic ******* ******* *** ******** *** *** ********* *** **** snap ** ****. * ******* *** ***** ******** **** ** the ****** **** **** ** * ********** ** **** ******* wire...been ****** **** ** **-**** ******* ***** **** **** *** hold****** ** ****."
  • "*.* *** *****. **** ******* "*** ****" ***** *** *" rings ** ****** **** ***** *'."
  • "**** **** ********** * ******* ***** ******** ** ** *** hour. ** ******** ******* ** ***** *** ** *** ****."

******* *** ****** ****

*******, ******* ********** ***** **** ******* ****** **** ** ****** them **** *****. ** **** *****, **** ******** ** *** permitted ** **** *** *** ** *** ****** ** ****** or * ****** ******, *** ** ******* ***** ********** ************ without ******* ********* ******* *****:

  • "*.* **** ** *** ** ***** **** ** **** ******* are *******. ***** *** *** ** **** ** ******** *** no ******* **** **."
  • "*** **** ** * ** ***** ***** ** *** ** the ***** ** ** ***. ** ** **********, **** ****** just *** *** * ***** ** *** **** ** ** cheap ** ********. * **** *** ******* **** **** ***** and **** ***** ****."
  • "** **** **** * *** **** ********** ** *** *** just ***** ****** ****** ** *** ******* ******* *** *** to *** **** ** **** **** ** ***** *****."
  • "*.************ ** *** ******* ****** ******** ** *** ******** ****.  It **** **** **** **** ** *** ** ******* *****."

*** ******* ** *** ******* ** *.** ******** *** **' ******* *** ***** * **** *******.

High **** ***** *******

**** ******** *** ** ******** ******** ** *****, **** ***** access **** ***** ***** *****. *** ***************** *** ******** ** *** ******* ** * **' (~***) length ** *** ***** *****, ******* ******** ** **** **** ceiling **** *****? ***?

*******: **** **% ** *** ********* **** ******* *.* ** *.* ********. *** **** ****** ** ***** *****:

*** ****** ******** *** ******** **** **** ********* ****** *** board, **** **% ** *** ******* ******** ****** * ***** rather **** * ****** *****. ** **** *****, *** *********** translated **** * ******** ******** ******* ******** ***** **** ** see *** **** *********:

****** ** *********

  • "*'** **** ******** ** ***** ***** ** ** ******* ******* first * ******** **** **** ***. "
  • "******** * ***** *** ***** ****** ** **** *** ***** space ****** **** *** *** ** **** ****** ********** ******* firewalls."
  • "* ***** ******** * *****. **** ****** *** ***** *** ample ****** *****, ** *** **** **** ** ** ******** about ******* ***** ** *** ***** **** *** ***** ****, there ** ****** ** ** *********** **** *******."
  • "* ***** ******** ******** ******** ** ** * ***** *** hours, ********* ** *** **** *** **** ** ** ******."
  • "** **** ** *** ****'* ** ***** ****** ****** * number. *****'* **** *** **** ********* ********* ****** *****."

***** ****** *********

**** ******* **** ********* *** ***** ******** ** ******* ** how **** ****** ****** ***** ***** ** **. ** *******, the ********** ****** ** * **** ******* ***** ********* ****** than * **** **** ***** ** *** **** ******:

  • "* ****, ** *** **** *** **** ****** **** *****"
  • "* *** * ***** **** - ******* ******* ***** ***** verses **** ****"
  • "* **** ** *** ***** *******. ***** **** ********* ** access ******* ** ****** *** **** ** **** ***** ******* ** just *** ** ******* ***** ** **** ***** ******. **** depends ** ************ ** *** ***** ** ** *** **** where *** ***** ***** ** *******. (*.*. ****** **** ** junk)"
  • "********* *** ******* ** **********, *** **** ** *****, *** cable *** ****** ** ****** *****."
  • "****. * **********. **** **** **** ******, ***** ***** ** run **** ******* *** ***********."

*** ******* ** *** ******* ** *.** ******** *** **' ** ***** *** ***** * ****/ ******* ******** *******.

Longer ******* *****

** ************ ***** *** ****** **** ** ******** ** **** runs, *** *** ******* *** **** ********* ***** *** ****** continuous *******.  *** *******, ******* *** **** ** ***** ** a ****/**** ******* ****** ********* ** ****** *** ** ********* at *.* - *.**********.

*** ********* ** **** ******* ***** ********* *** **** ************ like ********* ** ***** ******** ********** ************ **** ******** *** up. *** ** **** ********* *** ***** ** * '*****' run **** ** **** ************

Comments (1)

-Low Voltage License Holder-

Cable companies usually price this per "drop" (ie cable). They generally don't break it out into man-hours.

With materials and labor in a drop ceiling, in relaxed jurisdictions, it's about $150 per "drop". This is also considering there are several "drops" being installed at once. If a single drop is ordered, it is going to cost alot more for a guy to show up in his van, walk it over with the local contact, unload his stuff, make two trips up the service elevator, do the work, clean up the ceiling dust, wait 20 minutes for the local contact to sign his work order, then pack up and leave. That single drop is going to be more like $700.

Back to jurisdictions, some places like Chicago require conduit, even for low voltage. Other considerations are whether or not the work must take place after-hours. There is usually a higher rate for this.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Ladders For Installers Guide on Sep 25, 2018
Ladders are one of the most important pieces of worksite equipment for the surveillance technician. Too often, however, even highly experienced...
Favorite Access Control Reader Manufacturer 2018 on Sep 25, 2018
Favorite reader votes are in, and it is not close. A global access giant ran away with the votes in a one-sided contest. But for many, the...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Door Fundamentals For Access Control Guide on Sep 12, 2018
Assuming every door can be secured with either a maglock or an electric strike can be a painful assumption in the field. While those items can be...
IP Camera Cable Termination Guide on Sep 06, 2018
Terminating cables properly is critical to network performance, but it can be a tricky task with multiple steps. Fortunately, this task is easy to...
Access Control Course Fall 2018 on Sep 06, 2018
Registration IS CLOSED ends this Thursday. Register now. If you are looking to strengthen your ability to design and deploy access systems or...
Drain Wire For Access Control Reader Tutorial on Sep 04, 2018
An easy-to-miss cabling specification plays a key role in access control, yet it is commonly ignored. The drain wire offers protection for readers...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact