Cabling can be tough; from choosing the right tools to properly planning a project, an enormous amount of work goes into a well-constructed electrical system. It’s understandable therefore that engineers, amateurs and businesses alike tend to overlook a pivotal element of the process: cable management.
Simply put, cable management is the organisation and maintenance of cords, cables and other electrical wires, with the goal of ensuring that cables remain secure, tidy, clearly labelled and able to function effectively. The identification of cables enables electrical engineers to work safely and efficiently now, and in the future, whether they were the original installer or not.
This may sound straightforward; indeed, most engineers would claim they value cable management. But the reality is, cable management is often left out of the main scope of a project and simply tacked on at the end as a way of ensuring Health and Safety compliance.
Approaching projects in this way is a mistake; not only does it compromise the quality of a project it also undervalues the active benefits proper cable management can produce.
The Benefits of Proper Cable Management
The most commonly cited reason for prioritising cable management is safety; from tripping hazards to electric shocks, poorly managed cables can become a serious health risk – whether in a warehouse, retail outlet, office or the home.
Slips and trips over cabling are the cause of 28% of all non-fatal injuries and 16% of all accident claims in the workplace; in the home, children and pets are put in peril by poorly protected cables and cords – nearly 15% of all cable-related casualties involve children younger than five.
By using cable protectors, covers and a host of other cable management accessories, you can dramatically improve the safety of any project space.
As we’ve discussed previously, true professionals prioritise long-term quality and effectiveness when undertaking an electrical project – and a large part of that is ensuring proper cable management is maintained.
While it might appear to be a net loss – in terms of both time and money – cable management pays hefty dividends; from minimising the risk of damage (and therefore further costs) to ensuring future maintenance is more efficient, proper cable management pays for itself in the long run.
Using cable management systems, engineers can extend the life of their cables, minimise maintenance and create an easier experience for all future users – including themselves
Ease of use
Cabling can be hugely stressful – for professionals and lay-people alike. A mess of cords and unidentified cables makes even the simplest fix both more difficult and more infuriating; often, a single specific cable needs to be identified in order to repair or upgrade a system.
Quality cable management should emphasise user-friendliness and focus on organising systems as clearly and intuitively as possible; with cable identification accessories, even complex cabling networks should be easily navigable.
On a commercial level, how easy a cabling system is to make sense of is pivotal; while clients and customers clearly require your expertise, they don’t want to have to bother you every time they have to reboot their computer or change a bulb.
And this makes an electrical engineer’s job far easier in the long run, too.
Engineers of all kinds ought to take pride in the elegance and aesthetic quality of their work; indeed, a key aspect of any great electrical system’s design should be how its cabling is going to be managed.
Part of this is the choice of cable management products; while the market is vast, finding a single supplier can massively increase not just the ease of sourcing but the aesthetics of your final product.
Aesthetic uniformity and consistency aren’t just more attractive to look at – they also appear more professional and inspire greater trust for users.
Considering these benefits, it might be hard to see how any engineer could overlook cable management. But the problem isn’t usually that they consciously undervalue it – they simply aren’t aware of how to integrate it into their process.
It’s important to prioritise things like the quality of cables or crimping equipment, but doing so can cause people to get sloppy elsewhere. So, to ensure that you don’t fall into this trap, we’ve put together three simple principles you should keep in mind from the very beginning of any cabling project:
1. Pre-plan your cable management
Just as you would strategise about equipment, scope and all the rest before a project begins, you should remember to take the time to plan how your cables and cords are going to be managed.
That means considering what equipment and accessories you’ll need - like ties, identifiers, cable worms and mounting clips. But it also means thinking clearly about how you’re going to structure the system, and ultimately how the final product should look.
2. Identify every cable
While it might seem excessive, it is vital that you ensure every last cable is identified – not just because it makes specific cables easier to identify, but because it focuses you on the details many engineers overlook.
Having the mindset of ‘every cable must be identified from the beginning of a project will ensure you are properly prioritising cable management and forgoing short-term efficiency in the name of quality and long-term ease.
3. Invest in quality
Cable management equipment varies hugely in terms of both price and quality. While it may be more appealing to cut costs here, there are two basic reasons you should consider making an investment in higher range products:
First, the investment will help ensure you continue to value and emphasise cable management throughout the project. By cutting corners on cost, you’re immediately demonstrating that you don’t really care about ensuring you get the job done right.
Second, poor quality equipment fundamentally undermines much of the value cable management is supposed to provide; rather than giving you the security and long-term benefits you desire, poor quality ties or identifiers are likely to cause more problems than they solve.
Got a question about this post?
Our team are on hand to help. Give us a call on or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We're open from 8am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.