Cable Labor Estimate Standard - Ceiling Runs

By: 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.

******* ******* ** ********* one ** *** ******* costs ** * *** project, *** ***** **** to ******** ***** ***** is ** ********* ***** step *** *** ***** and ********** *****.

** *** ****** ***** from *** **** ******* Labor ******** ********, ** focus ** *** **** common *** **** ********* aspects *** ******* *** cable.

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

** ***** ****** ****** to **** ** ***** typical ************ ******** ******** for ** **** ** new ***** *** ********, providing ** ***** *** text ***********:

*** **** **** *******: "**** location *** ** ******** raceways ** *****, **** no ****** **** ***** space *****. *** **** ***** ***** you ******** ** *** cabling ** * **' (~15m) ****** ** *** acoustic ****/**** ****, * foot **** ******* **** below? ***?" 

**** **** ***** *******: "This ******** *** ** existing ******** ** *****, with ***** ****** **** attic ***** *****. *** many ***** ***** *** ******** to *** ******* ** a **' (~***) ****** of *** ***** *****, drywall ******** ** **** high ******* **** *****? Why?"

******, ** ******* ********* and ***** ********** ** the *** ******* ********* those *********.

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

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

"**** ******** *** ** existing ******** ** *****, with ** ****** **** attic ***** *****. *** many************* *** ******** ** run ******* ** * 50' (~***) ****** ** the ******** ****/**** ****, 9 **** **** ******* type *****? ***?" 

**** ******* *********** **** question ** ********** *** environment:

*******: **** **% ** *** responses **** ******* *.* ** 2.0 ********. *** **** ****** is ***** *****: 

************ ** ***** *****/*******: Biggest **** ********

** *** *** ******* any ******* ********* *** methods ** ************ ** installing * *** ** cable, ******* ******* ******* like **** ************, ** cable ******* ******* ** be *********** ** *** responder. ** *******, *** biggest ****** ******* ***** and **** ******* *********** ********* ** ******* above *****. 

** ******* *****, *** addition ** ********** ******* or ***** ******* *** estimate:

  • "******* ***** **** ******* drop ******* ***** **** approximate * *****. *** most **** **** ** for ****************** **** ****** *** of **** *******. **** time *** *** **** issues ***** *** **** work *** ***** ********** structure ***** ******* *** cable."
  • "*.* *****. *. **** ceiling *****, *. ***** J-hooks ** ***** ***** management, *. *** **** string, *. **** *****, e. **** ***** **********, f. ******* ***** & clean **."
  • "** *** ** **' in * **** **** ladders *** ******** ***** trays, *** ** ***** easily **** * ***** if ** ******* **** new."
  • "**** ******** ******..**** ** tricky *** ******** ***** run *** ******* ** inside ******* ******** **** are ********** **** **** back *** **** *** hallway. ** *** * would ******* ******* ******* Panduit *** ******** *** dry ********* *** **** snap ** ****. * usually *** ***** ******** glue ** *** ****** face **** ** * precaution ** **** ******* wire...been ****** **** ** re-glue ******* ***** **** does *** ********** ** ****."
  • "*.* *** *****. **** provide "*** ****" ***** and *" ***** ** pencil **** ***** *'."
  • "**** **** ********** * usually ***** ******** ** ft *** ****. ** existing ******* ** ***** 100 ** *** ****."

******* *** ****** ****

*******, ******* ********** ***** they ******* ****** **** by ****** **** **** tiles. ** **** *****, this ******** ** *** permitted ** **** *** can ** *** ****** of ****** ** * safety ******, *** ** general ***** ********** ************ without ******* ********* ******* times:

  • "*.* **** ** *** as ***** **** ** drop ******* *** *******. Cable *** *** ** grid ** ******** *** no ******* **** **."
  • "*** **** ** * am ***** ***** ** put ** *** ***** in ** ***. ** my **********, **** ****** just *** *** * cable ** *** **** it ** ***** ** possible. * **** *** ceiling **** **** ***** and **** ***** ****."
  • "** **** **** * man **** ********** ** you *** **** ***** cables ****** ** *** dropped ******* *** *** to *** **** ** some **** ** ***** canal."
  • "*.************ ** *** ******* cables ******** ** *** shortest ****.  ** **** take **** **** ** run ** ******* *****."

*** ******* ** *** answers ** *.** ******** *** **' ******* *** ***** * grid *******.

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

**** ******** *** ** existing ******** ** *****, with ***** ****** **** attic ***** *****. *** many************* *** ******** ** run ******* ** * 50' (~***) ****** ** the ***** *****, ******* sheathed ** **** **** ceiling **** *****? ***?

*******: **** **% ** *** responses **** ******* *.* ** 3.0 ********. *** **** ****** is ***** *****:

*** ****** ******** *** answered **** **** ********* across *** *****, **** 30% ** *** ******* outright ****** * ***** rather **** * ****** value. ** **** *****, the *********** ********** **** a ******** ******** ******* actually ***** **** ** see *** **** *********:

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

  • "*'** **** ******** ** attic ***** ** ** without ******* ***** * honestly **** **** ***. "
  • "******** * ***** *** would ****** ** **** the ***** ***** ****** like *** *** ** gain ****** ********** ******* firewalls."
  • "* ***** ******** * hours. **** ****** *** attic *** ***** ****** space, ** *** **** time ** ** ******** about ******* ***** ** the ***** **** *** first ****, ***** ** little ** ** *********** with *******."
  • "* ***** ******** ******** changing ** ** * total *** *****, ********* on *** **** *** site ** ** ******."
  • "** **** ** *** what's ** ***** ****** giving * ******. *****'* just *** **** ********* obstacles ****** *****."

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

**** ******* **** ********* the ***** ******** ** subject ** *** **** access ****** ***** ***** to **. ** *******, the ********** ****** ** a **** ******* ***** estimates ****** **** * grid **** ***** ** the **** ******:

  • "* ****, ** *** sure *** **** ****** from *****"
  • "* *** * ***** each - ******* ******* attic ***** ****** **** tile"
  • "* **** ** *** cable *******. ***** **** depending ** ****** ******* ** ****** *** tech ** **** ***** ceiling ** **** *** up ******* ***** ** fish ***** ******. **** depends ** ************ ** the ***** ** ** the **** ***** *** attic ***** ** *******. (e.g. ****** **** ** junk)"
  • "********* *** ******* ** cumbersome, *** **** ** there, *** ***** *** should ** ****** *****."
  • "****. * **********. **** easy **** ******, ***** would ** *** **** quickly *** ***********."

*** ******* ** *** answers ** *.** ******** *** **' ** ***** *** ***** * hard/ ******* ******** *******.

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

** ************ ***** *** survey **** ** ******** 50 **** ****, *** the ******* *** **** typically ***** *** ****** continuous *******.  *** *******, running *** **** ** cable ** * ****/**** ceiling ****** ********* ** ladder *** ** ********* at *.* - *.**********.

*** ********* ** **** scaling ***** ********* *** when ************ **** ********* or ***** ******** ********** obstructions **** ******** *** up. *** ** **** estimates *** ***** ** a '*****' *** **** no **** ************

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

ISC East 2019 Show Report Day 1 on Nov 20, 2019
IPVM is in New York City covering the ISC East 2019 show. Inside this report, we cover: Traffic / Attendance Size / Layout Biggest Booth...
Open vs End-to-End Systems: Integrator Statistics 2019 on Nov 11, 2019
Preference for open systems is on the decline, according to new IPVM statistics. We asked integrators: For video surveillance systems, do you...
IP Camera Mount Shootout - Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Vivotek on Nov 04, 2019
Which manufacturers offer the best or worst mounts? We bought and tested ~50 IP camera mounts and related components from Axis, Bosch, Dahua,...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R3 Tested on Oct 30, 2019
Milestone has had problems over the last few years releasing significant new software. Now, in XProtect 2019 R3, Milestone is touting "one search...
Remote Access (DDNS vs P2P vs VPN) Usage Statistics on Oct 25, 2019
Remote access can make systems more usable but also more vulnerable. How are integrators delivring remote access in 2019? How many are using...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
Access Control Door Controllers Guide on Oct 22, 2019
Door controllers are at the center of physical access control systems connecting software, readers, and locks. Despite being buried inside...
Integrated IR Camera Usage Statistics 2019 on Oct 21, 2019
Virtually every IP camera now comes with integrated IR but how many actually make use of IR or choose 'super' low light cameras without IR? In...
Access Control Course Fall 2019 - Last Chance on Oct 17, 2019
Register Now - Fall 2019 Access Control Course. Thursday, October 17th is the last day to register. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access...
Altronix Claims Tango 'Eliminates Electricians' on Oct 15, 2019
Power supply provider Altronix claims its new Tango power supply 'eliminates the need for an electrician, dedicated conduit and wire runs'. In...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Axis "Best Of The Best" 4K Camera Tested (Q1798-LE) on Nov 21, 2019
Axis has released their "best of the best" Q1798-LE bullet camera, touting "4K without compromise" with a large Micro 4/3" image sensor, custom...
Glass Doors and Access Control Tutorial on Nov 21, 2019
One of the biggest access challenges are locking and securing glass doors. Unlike wood or steel doors that can be modified to work with...
Avigilon H4 Intercom Tested on Nov 20, 2019
Avigilon is well-known for video surveillance and access, but how well does the company's intercom work? We purchased and tested Avigilon's H4...
The Cowardly, Greedy "Leaders" of Video Surveillance - SIA on Nov 19, 2019
The video surveillance industry suffers from cowardly, greedy 'leaders' focused on maximizing easy money while undermining public trust. The...
Hikvision Dual Lens Face Recognition Camera Tested on Nov 19, 2019
Hikvision's Dual Lens Facial Recognition camera, claims that it "adopts advanced deep learning algorithm and powerful GPU to realize instant face...
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing 2019 on Nov 18, 2019
2019 has been an explosive year for video surveillance, with the world's two largest manufacturers, Dahua and Hikvision, being sanctioned for human...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to access. However, some companies claim to be able to detect...
Wyze Fires Back at JCI - Your Patents Are Invalid, Pay All Of Our Costs on Nov 18, 2019
Goliath JCI targeted startup Wyze this summer alleging the fast-growing consumer startup was violating a slew of JCI's patents. Now, Wyze has...
ADT Stock Surges - "Leading The Commercial Space" on Nov 15, 2019
Don't call it comeback... but maybe call it a commercial provider. ADT, whose stock dropped by as much as 2/3rds since IPOing in 2018, has now...