We’ve had some trouble recently in a complex commercial environment running alarm zone cables that were snagged and pulled out by an AC contractor.

The issue is that the zone cable can’t live near EMI and there’s power in the cable trays. The environment in the ceiling is such a mess that installing fixed conduit would be a real drama. What do you think is the answer?

A: In commercial environments where fire codes demand cable protection (you’ll need to find fire resistant product) or where there’s an increased likelihood of cable damage during to the activities of other technical teams, consider the use of flexible conduit to protect vulnerable alarm zone wiring in ceiling spaces.

Pulling cable in pre-installed flexible conduit can be difficult given the challenges of running fish tape through it, so load the cable before you go into the ceiling with the conduit pulled straight and tie the cable off at each end. You can then haul the cable/conduit into the ceiling and tie it off out of the way, ensuring improved protection for wiring.

Something else to consider in cluttered environments if your controller supports RF is the use of wireless repeaters and wireless sensors. Yes, you’ll have sensor batteries to manage and they may be at height, but the results will be simpler and tidier than physical links. Just don’t economise on sensors when it comes to wireless in tough applications.