Construction Corner is a Q&A column committed to answering reader-submitted questions regarding construction and development. Inquiries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: We are planning to install a music and paging system at two of our facilities. We are not familiar with the wiring or electrical requirements of these systems and thought you could offer some help.
—Robert in Farmingdale , N.Y.
A: Music and paging systems come in many flavors. Electrical and wiring needs will depend on the type and size of the system. First, consult your supplier or installer to determine what will work best for you, keeping in mind each speaker or horn requires power, and the amplifier for the system must be able to handle the load. Most systems require the use of a 22- or 18-guage wire (depending on distance) that is shielded with two conductors.
Q: At my facility, I currently have a manual chainlink gate I push open in the morning and close at night. I would like to switch to an automated gate that will allowmy tenants access after I leave for the day. I would likely run the entire conduit myself, but do not know what size or type, or from which points I need to run it. Could you offer a guideline?
—Dave in Reno, Nev.
A: Most access-control systems are controlled by outdoor keypads that use a common type and size of conduit. Your local codes and regulations will usually dictate exactly which type of conduit and how deep it must be buried. However, as a guideline, you will usually want to use PVC or Rigid conduit underground and have it buried at least 24 inches below grade.
You have two paths that are important for a standard gate system: from the office to the gate motor, and from the gate motor to the keypads. Following are examples of common installations: Run a 1- to 1.5-inch conduit between the office and gate motor. The larger of the two will allow for added features, such as a keypad camera or intercom. Run a .75- to 1-inch conduit between the gate motor and each keypad location. It is recommended to have the keypad-stand foundation be concrete and at least 18 inches deep.
Tony Gardner is a licensed contractor and installation manager for QuikStor, a provider of self-storage security and software since 1987. For more information, visit www.quikstor.com.