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I'm looking to write out an SOP for a network installation project involving WAP installs back-hauling to existing telecom rooms/racks. It needs to be standards based, and I've found plenty of info from ANSI/TIA 568C as well as TIA TSB-162-A and UFC-3-580-01 (for DoD). These are all fine and dandy and more or less specify the same things regarding cable length, HZ/VZ cabling, etc. What I'm trying to hunt down is a draft of an installation SOP/Best Practices that can cite the required tools, techniques, and materials an installer should be required to obtain in order to carry out the installation. For example: a drywall saw, fiberglass mesh, spackle, and putty knife should all be things on that list. Also your punch down tool, crimper, utility blade, etc. I don't want to forget anything so I'm hoping somebody can point me to a document that would only need some revisions specific to my project. Thanks in advance.

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    Cabling is local jurisdiction-dependent. You must account for things like fire-stopping which can't be pieced together (you must use a complete system to pass inspection). Cable plants are best left to professionals that know all the laws for a particular location, else you may find a site closed by a fire marshal, or other local jurisdiction authority. A local jurisdiction may adopt the National Electric Code in whole, or in part, and add anything else they wish. Low-voltage cabling should be handled by a professional, and you should demand reports and test results.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 15:47
  • In addition to Ron's comments, different cabling manufacturers have different requirements (which may specify specific tools) and often have certification programs for those installing their products. So a CommScope/Systimax installation may have different requirement than a Panduit installation.
    – YLearn
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 15:57
  • I fully expect to bring on a pro team to do the install, but we might need to have on paper what is expected of them beyond the SOW. You have any links to what standards or certifications are available for this work?
    – solly989
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:01
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    For cabling, it is best to go to the source: Bicsi (bicsi.org). Bicsi is an accredited standard-setting body for the cabling industry, and they, at least used to, have some things similar and related to what you are asking for. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all; each cabling installation is a custom job. In a previous incarnation, I had to hire cable vendors. I became a Bicsi member, and I earned the RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer), which I have since let lapse since I no longer have anything to do with cabling.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:30

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Don't Overspecify the Work to a Professional

Assuming you're using a qualified professional to perform the install, you should be careful not to overspecify things that don't actually matter to you. After all, you are hiring them, in part, because they have innovative and up-to-date capabilities, techniques, and practices that you might not even know (or care) about. For example, discussion about tools that an installer uses is overspecification. You care about the product they produce, not how they produce it, right?

The most common consequence of overspecification that I have seen is that installers turn down your work. I have seen RFP/RFQ/SOW documents that included enough unproductive, irrelevant, unclear, or contradictory details that no installer who looked at it was interested in the work. The professional installers I've worked with don't take second looks at jobs that seem problematic; the first impression you make counts.

You can really get yourself into a bind with documents that overspecify work. If you widely distribute a badly-formulated RFP in your area you can easily burn through all the capable installers in your area.

Things you probably should specify

  • all work is required to comply with regulations of all levels of government
  • all work that requires a permit shall be performed only after a permit has been obtained
  • where permits are required (usually electrical and fire), who will be the permittee and who is responsible for ensuring the work is passes inspection
  • payment for the work is not due (or at least part of the payment) before the work has been documented to have passed inspection by the applicable regulatory authority (and documented to have been tested and certified, if applicable)
  • a plan view of the site showing all the relevant cable termination locations
  • a table listing each cable to be installed and the location of both ends of the cable
  • for ethernet cable, whether to use TIA/EIA-568 A or B color codes
  • how the cables and terminations will be labeled
  • the cabling standard that cable and terminations are required to comply with (eg. CAT5, CAT5e, CAT6, CAT6A, etc)
  • whether the installed cables and terminations are required to pass communication test and certification and, if so, what standard will be used for testing
  • wherever cables must be installed in finished walls, ceilings, or floors, what the method of installation will be (surface mount conduit? cutting drywall? fishing cable?), and who is responsible for returning any damage to its original finished state
  • some general statements about quality of workmanship and tidiness

Things you might specify

  • special site-specific cable requirements
    • I've specified plenum-rated cable because I knew some future changes might require old cable to have a better flame-test rating
    • I've specified stranded cable for cables ending in patch panels that are likely to be worked on regularly.
  • the location and amount of cable slack
    • where I expect cables to be re-terminated in future, I usually specific some extra length
    • if I think that a patch panel might be moved up or down in a rack, I usually specify the whole bundle to make some 'S' turns nearby or in the rack to provide the additional cable length

Things you should only specify if you have a really good reason for it

  • anything that might conflict with the electrical or fire code requirements
  • how the work must be performed
  • what tools must be used
  • specific part numbers or manufacturers of materials (specify materials by standards and properties if at all possible)

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