NSCA, a not-for-profit association representing the commercial low-voltage electronic systems industry, released updated Labor Installation Standard guidelines for 2018, providing information that systems integrators can use to accurately estimate labor units — the biggest factor impacting project profitability.
As the result of a thorough, months-long peer review by a team of experts from around the country, the new guidelines detail the amount of time it takes to complete project-related tasks, factoring in time spent on material handling, examining drawings/layouts, and equipment installation. The guidelines include labor units required for installation of specific systems, which are divided into categories such as:
- access control
- digital signage
- fire alarm systems
- healthcare communications
- security/life safety systems
For each technology system, labor units are provided in three different levels — normal, difficult and challenging — so they can be adjusted based on project difficulty (higher ceiling heights, for example), installer experience and/or site conditions.
The 2018 report also includes installation data on new technology platforms and systems prevalent in the market since the last report update, and adjusts labor hours for existing technology systems based on current installation methods and efficiencies.
“Interestingly, the time it takes to install low-voltage technology systems has not necessarily improved over the years,” said Chuck Wilson, NSCA executive director. “Even with the many labor-saving devices we use today, installation hours are the same — or, in some cases, longer. It’s important that integrators know and understand this, and use the Labor Installation Standard guidelines accordingly. Project labor estimates are vital to get right to ensure profitability.”
Pat Vaughn, vice president of service delivery for Simpatico, described his experience with the document: “This document quickly became the most valuable tool I had to ramp up my level of expertise and experience with commercial installations. Sometimes deals get to the razor’s edge. Instead of just guessing about everything, we now have a tool to start from. We use the Labor Installation Standard guidelines on every project. You don’t want to leave anything on the table, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short. This tool helps find the middle ground.”
The Labor Installation Standard guidelines are free to download for Gold and Platinum NSCA members. Silver and Bronze NSCA members can download a copy for $199. The report can be purchased by non-members for $399. Or non-members can become NSCA members for only $595 and receive the report as part of their membership, which offers access to discounted education and training opportunities, updates on regional and national government affairs issues, free monthly industry webinars, business tools and resources, and other exclusive industry research.
For information about the Labor Installation Standard, or to join NSCA, visit www.nsca.org or call (800) 446-6722.