Cable Trenching for Surveillance

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jul 17, 2013

Trenching cable for surveillance is surprising complex. While using shovels, picks, and hoes is not advanced technology, the proper planning, construction, and execution of trenched cable runs is underestimated. In this note, we look at the best practices of trenching cable for surveillance, discuss code requirements, and how best to avoid costly mistakes when trenching.

Disclaimer

***** ********* ** * *********** '*******' *****, ******** * ****** of *********** *** ****** **************. **** **** ******* ** * small ******* - *** ******* **** ***** *********. **** **** and **** ******* ***** ***** *** *** ********, ****** **** shielding, ******* ******, ***** *******, *************** ******** ************* **** ** ** **** **** *** *** ********* ****.

Site ******

********* ***** ********* *** ************ ** ****** **** ********** ****** cameras ******** ** **** ********** ******** ******** ********. *** ****** cable **** (****** ***, ***** *****, ****) ** ******* ** network ******, *** *** ******** ** ********* ** ************* *** same.

**** ******** *** '****** ****', ******** ******** *********** *********, **********/ permanent *******, *******-***** ******* *****, *** ******* **** ** *****, ******, or ****** ** * ********. ** **** *****, **** ***** ****** an ******** **** ******* *** ******. *** **** ****** ******** is *** ****** *** ********, *** ***:

  • Firm ******: Buried cable needs dirt surrounding it for support. Even rocky soil is prone to have fissures and voids that resemble 'airgaps' that can trap groundwater or shift over time. The ideal ground is not spongy or soft, and is composed of simple, compacted dirt.
  • Open ** ***: The trench has no overhead obstructions like tree canopies, buildings, or even powerlines. Stormwater runoff and service accessibility can be a problem when a trench is run under other things. 
  • Good ********: Water is a big enemy of cable. Not only can corrosion/electrical shorting occur with normal age, in colder seasons ice can break conduit. Water is also responsible for eroding bedding material. When planning trenches, avoiding standing water or high ground water tables is ideal, even if it means a longer cable/trench:

** ***** ** ********* '***** *********' ** *** ****, ******** ******** ************ ** ** ****** ** *******. **** ******* ** ********* free ** *** *********, *** ******* ********* * *** **** prior ** ******** ******. ***** ******** **** ***** **** ***** flags ** ********** ** ******* ******** ***** ******** ********* *** laid.

******* ***** ***** *** **** ***** ** *************** ************ *** have *********** **** *****, ** ****** ****** **** *********** *** 'cable-specific' ***********. *** *******,**** ***** *** * ****** **** ******,*** ** * ****** ** ****** **** ***** ***** ** sudden **** *******, ******** *** ******. 

** **** *****, ********* **** ** ******* ***** ***** *****. In **** ****, ******* ******** *** ******** ** *** ** frequently *********. *** **** **** ********** ********* *** ***** ** involved, *** ****** *********, ********** *****, ****** *******, *** ********* repairs **** ** ********. ***** ********, ********* ** **** **** is *****, ******* *** ********** ** ******* ***** ******** ******** can ******* ***** ****.

Trench *****

*** **** ** * **** ** **** ** ***** *** dig ** ******? *** ****** ** *** ** *** **** parts ** *** *****, ** ***** ** *** (******** ********** ****), **** ********** **. *** ******** ******** ********** ******** ***** ****-******* *********, *** ***** ** ** *** '**** *****' ********, ** represents * **** ********* ******** **** **** ******** *** ******** good ******* **********.***** *****************:

  • ****** ****** ****** ***** ** ****** * ***** ** ****** ­four (**) ******  
  • ***** ***** ******* ***** ** ****** * ***** ** *** (6) ******  
  • ************ ***** ******* ***** ** ****** * ***** ** *** (6) ******  
  • ***** *********** ******* (***) ******** *** ****** ****** ***** ** ****** * ***** of ******** (**) ******  
  • * ******* ****/****** ***** ** ********* ** *** ****** ***** direct ****** **** ** *********. ****** ****** ***** *** *********** installation.
  • ***** ***** ** ******** ****** **** ****. ******** ********** ***** or ********* ****** *** ** **** ** ******** *** ******.

****** *** ************ ****** ** *** **** ** ******* ** shielding *** **** *****, *** *** ****** ***** ** *** include *** ******* ****. *** *******, ** *" *** **** is ****, *** ****** ***** ****** ** ** **** **** 19" **** (**, *" ******* ******** + **" **** ****) The *** ********* "****** ******* **** ****", ******* ** * depth ** ~*" - *". **** ******* ***** **** **** depth ** *** ******. 

****** **** ***** ***** ******* ******* **** *** ** ****** at ********* ***** **** ****** ****** *****. ** **** *****, installers ****** '****** ******' ***** ********* ***** *** **** ** ********** *******, *** **** ** not ******** *** **** ** ********** ******* ** *********. 

*** ** *** **** ********** ******* ** ******* ***** ********* *** ****** **** ****. **** **** ** *** **** *** *****, ********** ******* a *** ****** ** ******** ****** ***** ** *** ****** ** topsoil. This **** ***** ***** ******* **** ***** *** ** ****** digging ** ******* ******* ** ********* ** *** ****. ***** are ********* ********** ** ********** ******* ************ ****** *****:

Lightning *********

* ****** ************* ***** ****** ****** ***** ** *** *************** to ********* *******. *******, **** *********** ***** ***** ** ************* *********/***** ******************* ** **** **** ** *** ****** *****. *****-**-****** ********* is ******, *** ********** ****** *** ***** ******** ** **** buried *****. **** *** ****** ***** ***** *******, *** ***** inside ***** ** ** ******** ********. 

**** ***** ***** **** ***** ***** ** *** ******* ***** protection *** ****** ** ******* ** ********. *******, ******** ******* is **** ******** ********** ** **** ** *** ******, ************ ****** *** ***** ** ********** ****. 

*********

**** *****, ******* * ****** ******** ****** ***** *** **** tools **** *******, ********, *** ****. ***** *********** ****, **** digging ** ** ************* **** ** *********, *** ****** ***** ****** install ******** **** ******* *** ** ******. **** ******* * trench **** **** ********* ** ****** * ***** *****, *** best *** ***** ********* ****** ** ****** *****.

*******, **** ********, ******* ************ ** ************* ********* **** ********* equipment. *** ********* ** ******** ******* & ****** (******* ** 1 ****/ **" *****), * '**** ******' **** ********* **** is ******. *********** * *****, ******** *** ******** ** *** a **** ****** **** *** ****, * **** ****** **** and * ******* ******** *** *** **** * **** ** trench ** * *******. **** ********* *** ** ******** ****** at **** ************ ****** ******* *** **** **** $*** *** day, *********** ** * ******* **** * ****** ***** *******, *** ******* mastered ** ** ******** **** ******* **********.

*** *****, **** ******, *** **** ********* ****** ** ********* is ***** ** * *************/*********** ****** *******. ** **** *************, ******** ** *** **** **** ** be ***/***, *** *** *********** ***** *** ****** ******* ** casing ******** **** *** ****. *** ********* **** ****** ***** runs, ** ********** *********** ********* **** ********, *** ********* ******** can ******* ***** ******** ** **** ** ***** ***********. *******, they *** ****** ** ****, ******* ******** ******** **********, *** run ** ***** ** *******, *** *** ********* ** ********* to ********. ****** *** ****** ** ****** ****** ** ******** in *****/**********, ** ** ******* *** **** ********* ** **** using ****.

****

*** ***** ***** ** ********* ******, *** ** ******** ** soil ****, *****/******* ******, *** ***** ****** ** **** ** dig **. *** **** ****** ********, * **** ****** ** dug **** * '**** ******' ******* ***** *** ** ***** workers, *** *** ** **** ***** ******* ** ******. ******** together, ******* *** **** '***** ************ ******' ***** ******* $** and $** *** ****.

********* **** ******** ** *** ******* **** *** ******* ******** cost. *** *** **** ** '********' ********* *******, *** ********* like *** ******** *****, **** ********** **** ****** **** ** clay, *** ******* ********* *** ****** ** ****** *** ***** to ~$*** ** ~$*** *** ****. 

Surveillance ********* ********

******* ***** ** ** ********* ****** ** ************. **** **** the ****** ** ****, ********* ** * ***** ****** ** many *******. ***** ********* ****** *** ** **** ****** *** certainly ******* **** **** **** ******* **** ******, * '**** wired' ******* ********** ** ********** **** ******** **** ******* *********, simpler ** ************, *** *** ***** ** *** ************* ****** that ****** ******** **********.

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

**** ****** ******** ******* **** *** *********** ******** ***** ********. For *******, ******* *** ******** ** ** ****** ******** ** better ******** ** * ****** ** **** ** * ****** ********* ****** than ** *** ********. ******** *** **** *** ** ******** directly **** ****, * ***' ******* ***** ~$*,*** ** ~$*,***.

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

** ***** *****, **** * ******* ***, *** **** ** any ********* *** ** ***** ****, *** ******* ******* * mini-storage ******** **** ******* ********** **** ********* * ** ******* per ********. ****** **** *********:

  • * *********, **** ********* * ****** ~**' ****
  • ~***' ******** ***** * $***/** 
  • ******** *****: ~$**,*** ****

*******, ** *** ********* **** ******* *****, **** ******* * 50' **** ******, ** ***** ** **** $**,*** *** *** same ******* ***.

Comments (7)

Good article. You go into detail on the intricacies of what is really involved in "the invisible trench". You correctly cite NFPA 70 code requirements and the differences between using rigid or PVC or direct burial etc. and of course common sense hand digging in tight areas. The timing is uncanny as I just completed many long trenching runs using PVC at 18" deep (24" deep under a roadway) with caution tape in the backfill etc. for a surveillance system following NFPA 70 code.

This is good information for IPVM members who are consultants or manufacturers where in the normal course of their business would not be exposed to that level of detail or information, or need to, but can appreciate it for what it is.

For LV Security Contractors who are seeing or hearing of this information for the first time......................No comment.

Good stuff Brian thanks!

Great article Brian! I know very little about trenching, and this is very handy to know. That being said, has there (or is there) ever a case where water is unavoidable? Would someone still recommend trenching, or search for an alternative?

Pneumatic piercing systems have also been growing in use. These systems can ram a pipe through the ground relatively short distances without disturbing the surfaces except at the insertion and extraction points. More sophisticated rams support relatively modest directional control as they function.

I've always wondered how you would survey to decide when it's better to pierce and when trenching is necessary.

Trenching in areas where labor, land, and/or permits are expensive, especially with existing roadways, sidewalk or other interfering utilities, trenching/wiring can get up to 10x the cost listed. ~$125 -->> $1,250 per foot especially on small projects where you can't get much savings from economies of scale.

A long trench in dirt on private property in many places can be cheap and easy.

A short trench under a parking lot/road/sidewalk, with utilities, restricted work hours, re-routing of traffic, political issues, permits, permits, and permits, other utilities, and such can really drive up costs.

Good luck!

Great article Brian. Really makes use of a trenching & boring subcontractor attractive. The use of a specialty sub can be as cost-effective as doing it ourselves and with fewer pitfalls.

Thank you Brian. Being an integrator who also has a fully equipted outside plant/utilities division, I can tell you that it is a lot more cost effective to put pipe in the ground with a bore rig rather than trenching (if you own the equiptment). The cost to put a 2" pipe in the ground can range from ~$20 to ~$30 per foot.

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

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...
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...
IP Camera Cabling Installation Guide on Aug 29, 2018
IPVM is preparing the industry's first Video Surveillance Installation book and our upcoming Video Surveillance Installation Course. We have...
Exit Devices For Access Control Tutorial on Aug 28, 2018
Exit Devices, also called 'Panic Bars' or 'Crash Bars' are required by safety codes the world over, and become integral parts of electronic access...
Inputs/Outputs For Video Surveillance Guide on Aug 24, 2018
While many cameras have Input/Output (I/O) ports, few are actually used and most designers do not even consider them. However, a good understanding...
Backup Power for Large Security Systems Tutorial on Aug 24, 2018
Choosing the right backup power system depends on system size. While small and medium systems greatly benefit from using UPS battery backup...
Backboxes for Video Surveillance Tutorial on Aug 15, 2018
Backboxes are a necessity in surveillance, whether for managing cable whips, recessing cameras, adding wireless radios. But it can be confusing to...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Aug 09, 2018
A camera's focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can cause important problems. In this guide, we explain focus issues and proper...

Most Recent Industry Reports

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...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...

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