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Improving Rough In Construction With W.R.A.P.S.

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Author: Ken Kurtin

A low voltage contractor named Ken Kurtin realized that the actual time to install and finish a project was taking longer than budgeted, the contractor asked himself… why was it taking more time than estimated?

After much study, the reason that the job was taking longer than estimated had nothing to do with the installer; it was the unexpected issues that added additional cost to the job. These unexpected issues included:

• Locating wires that were covered up by the insulator
• Repairing or re-pulling wires damaged by the Rotozip.
• Repairing or re-pulling wires that were crushed in between the stud and drywall
• Opening up finished walls to repair or splice damaged wire
• Locating plaster rings that were completely covered by the dry wall installer
• Cleaning paint or drywall mud off plaster rings or wires
• Cleaning the mess created by all of the above

With these realizations, the contractor set-out to protect himself from the unexpected issues of finishing your jobs on time and budget. From this problem, W.R.A.P.S. was born.

W.R.A.P.S. is short for Wire Retrieval And Protection System. W.R.A.P.S. is a metal cover plate that protects wires from damage. It fits easily over the plaster ring. Properly installed, it cuts cost and speeds up the installation process. The benefits of using W.R.A.P.S. are clear:

• Install Connectors at Rough-in
• Access Wires Anytime
• Locate Problems Early
• Test Wires
• Reduce Trim Labor
• Eliminate Costly Repairs
• Promote More Business
• Monitor Installer Performance or Job Status

Installing Connectors at Rough-in

The advantage to installing connectors or terminating your wires at the rough-in stage is that you can reduce the two step installation process to a single step. This eliminates the travel and set up time you pay your skilled technicians. Your trim stage consists of installing cover plates which can be performed by entry level workers.

Access to Wires

Having the ability to access your wires at any time allows you to use crews more efficiently. Most contractors have experienced the age old problem of all or nothing -- meaning we have too much work this week but light the following week. Now you can have a crew rough-in one week and send a different crew out the following week after dry wall to terminate and test still leaving your work protected from the painter or finishing contractors.

Test Wires

Anyone who has discovered continuity problems at trim stage quickly realize that solutions are limited due to accessibility issues. There are several benefits to testing your wires at the rough-in stage. First and foremost it limits your liability, it's difficult to determine responsibility for an inoperative wire unless the wire has been tested and signed off on in the rough-in stage.

Locate Problems Early

Testing at the rough-in stage affords you the luxury of locating any issues when they can be fixed easily e.g. stapled, cut, or kinked wires. Addressing issues early can certainly reduce the stress and expense of dealing with them near the end of the project.

Eliminating Costly Repairs

Regardless of how the damage occurred, ultimately it's your responsibility. Most of us know that trying to recoup additional cost incurred due to repairs is an exercise in futility. Avoiding issues altogether takes a lot less energy.

Promote More Business

During the construction process literally hundreds of people walk through any given project. Contactors, support people, inspectors, sales people, and most importantly people who are looking to build a new home. Many of these people know good work when they see it but how do they know who did the work? Installing bright colored paint protectors with your company logo and contact information is low cost high impact advertising that can substantially increase your bottom line.

Monitor Status and Performance

Bright colored paint protectors can be used in a variety of ways to help monitor status of the project. If you have several technicians on one job each can be assigned their own color and at the end of the day provide a quick visual of installers performance productivity. If you choose to do a multi step installation, decals can signify the status of the project, assigning a different colors for each phase of your work can make easy work of determining the status of the job. It may be beneficial to assign different colors to determine what type of device was installed. Many times changes are made during the rough-in and final counts can be different than the original contract. Device coding allows a quick efficient way to verify final counts.

About the author

Ken Kurtin is president and founder of MTM Industries, makers of W.R.A.P.S. You can learn more about W.R.A.P.S. by requesting a free sample from the website located at

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