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Low Voltage systems would include data, telephone, security (CCTV), television (CATV), intercom, cabling, fiber optics, keyless access, and fire alarm. Systems include cabling and (or) equipment needed to make a system operational.
Low voltage systems change daily (new products, improvements in existing products). A system integrator must stay abreast of new products and changes. Most are in contact with Manufacturers on a daily or weekly basis to learn about new products or changes.
Electrical Engineers do not have the time to keep abreast of both the electrical and low voltage systems and design buildings.
Many low voltage systems can use the same cabling system and need to be planned that way.
The market includes a lot of different type of cables and fiber optics, a RCDD/NTS would be more likely to know what class of cable would need to be used in different environments.
Low voltage started under electricians but has evolved and advanced to a point that electricians are unable to keep abreast of technology. The low voltage technology is completely different than technology for electrical contractors.
In the future most low voltage systems will be IP based and will require someone that is trained and understands IP systems and VPN’s. The designer must understand how systems that are being designed will work with the equipment being installed.
The owner needs someone that knows the industry to review submittals so the owner receives the products that were specified.
The owner needs someone to be sure that the final installation meets specifications. This industry has multiple levels of quality in products and all have a Cat6 or Cat5e or some other name but different levels of quality.
Specifications should be written in order to insure the owner will get a product installed by a qualified installer.
Owner should have a long term manufacturer warranty.
A system integrator has installed systems and is aware of problems missed during the planning stage of construction.
Architects require that a MEP firm has certified engineers designing their respective systems. In structured cabling the RCDD is the only recognized certification for a low voltage solution. Structured in the same way as many other professional engineers’ accreditations (testing, continuing education credits).
The designer needs to be up to date on the latest NEC (as it relates to low voltage), TIA, ISO and BICSI recommendations for a low voltage solution. RCDDs are qualified to do so.