Accurate measurement is a fundamental skill, yet many installers do not know how to do it.
Using these tools are a key skill needed for security install work:
- Tape Measures
- Architectural Scales
- Laser Distance Finders
- Measuring Wheels
- Estimating Using Common Features
In this report, we cover the tools used for installation measurement and how to accurately use them.
Measuring Tapes Examined
One of the most basic tools use in security installation are tape measures. While most know the basics of how to use and read the tape, junior installers who do not are often afraid to ask! We cover the basics below:
Reading Tape Scales
The graduated lines on a tape tell you everything. In terms of significance, each minor mark signifies a portion of a major line unit, and each major mark is labeled with a number showing total length to the end of the tape.
Taking measurements involves placing the end of the tape at the point to be measured, and then 'reading' how much length has been reeled out to measure total distance.
For countries using feet-inch units, notice how each line represents at least 1/16" of an inch, with graduations eventually stacking to show 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", 3/4" and so on. The image below labels the graduations between all labeled inch marks:
The length of minor lines usually are varying lengths for easy recognition. Once the basic segment breakdown is learned, measurements can be made in seconds based on familiarity with the standard tape mark lengths.
Metric lengths can be measured with tapes as well, typically in centimeters:
Usually, tapes themselves are bright yellow with dark contrasting numbers for easy visibility. Some numbers may be color coded to common lengths for quick checks, for example, red marks every 16" for checking stud spacing commonly on 16" centers.
Applications Using Tape Measures
Because of their portability, tape measures are useful for most install tasks. Especially for hanging cameras and cabling work, tapes are easy to carry, compact to use, and useful for measuring length up to about 100 feet.
However, longer measurements take larger tape wheels, and growing beyond 25 feet may make using tapes unwieldy. Other options are therefore typically used for such applications.