Data Center Ecosystem

Apr 12 2011   8:24AM GMT

Is “or equal” really equal?



Posted by: Carrie Higbie
Tags:
cabling
electrical
low voltage
specifications

Consider the following study.  Low voltage falls under high voltage in a lot of contracts, however, this may not be a smart decision for an enterprise.  There are certainly several low voltage and fiber choices on the market, but what does “brand A, or equal” really mean?   It is quite easy for a contractor or subcontractor to substitute one product for another, generally based on price in order to increase project profitability.  Certain specs are overlooked and another product is deemed “or equal.”

If you think of the number of companies that sole spec a switching product for instance, or equal takes on a whole new meaning!  So why would companies open up their infrastructures to an “or equal” product without some verification that it is in fact, equal.  When I took math = is finite.  It either is or it isn’t.

Before you turn your decisions over to another, make sure that the decision is in your best interest.  A good company will be able to provide you with services an support.  This may not be “equal” from a company that is substituted at the last minute to increase someone else’s profitability!  What happens when you are flipped?  Much of your support can also be flipped after the installation.  Stand your ground on your decisions.  Low voltage is increasingly moving into separate RFP’s to avoid these issues.  This is one way to assure that you receive not only the product you want, but also the follow on support that you expect.  Anyone can sell parts.  What you really want is a company that will be a business partner moving forward.

- More than 8 in 10 electrical contractors report having a “medium” or “high” ability to influence the overall electrical design or specifications with building owners or design team member

- 83% of electrical contractors report receiving any plans and specs that are incomplete (that is, where their firm is responsible for completing the design documentation). Electrical contractors say that, on average, plans and specs are incomplete 45% of the time

- Almost 7 in 10 electrical contractors estimate that some portion of their 2010 sales will include projects with Sustainable / Green elements

-On average, a “single” brand is specified less than 25% of the time. In all other cases, other factors — multiple brands, “or equal to” or performance specified – come into play. Note that a “single” brand specification is far more common among electrical contracting firms with 1- 9 employees than among larger firms.

-Overall, contractors are able to select the brand/make brand substitutions about 70% of the time.
(
2010 Electrical Contractor Profile Study, presented by Electrical Contractor Magazine, conducted by Renaissance Research)

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