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Addressing Abandoned Cable

The accumulation of abandoned wire and cabling in open plenum air spaces, under raised floors and running through walls, has become not only a legal issue but also a life safety issue. With the passing of NEC 2002, the requirement for the removal of abandoned cable has become a challenge for building owners, managers and even end users. As the movement to remove abandoned cable gains momentum, it becomes imperative to properly address these issues in Boston-Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. Building owners/managers may be exposed to liabilities on the insurance side if they fail to step up to the plate and meet the code.

Remove Abandoned Cable for less than $35 an hour!

National Electric Code NEC 2002

The definition of abandoned cable, as found in paragraphs 800.2 and 770.2 of the NEC 2002 Book, states “….Installed communications cable that is not terminated at both ends at a connector or other equipment and not identified “For Future Use” with a tag.

For copper cable, paragraph 800.52(B) of the NEC Code states “…The accessible portion of abandoned communications cables shall not be permitted to remain..” Additionally, paragraph 800.52(1) states that abandoned cables in vertical runs shall not be permitted to remain. Article 770 states the same requirements for optical fiber risers and horizontal cables.

Why does it Matter?

Why does abandoned cable present such a problem? The accumulation of miles and miles of cabling left in the ceilings and walls of Boston and surrounding town’s facilities has become a major concern for life safety over the past 10 years. Cables that are abandoned in ceilings, riser systems, and air-handling systems are a source for fueling fire, smoke, and sub-lethal toxic fumes that can incapacitate. In addition, PVC jackets tend to break down over time. This decomposition process is accelerated by exposure to increased temperatures and humidity.

According to estimates, there is more than

45 billion

feet of

plenum cable

in place in buildings.

The National Electrical Code (NEC 2002) requires that

all abandoned copper and fiber cable be removed.


Who does Abandoned Cable Impact

All cabling end users should understand the implications of not complying with these new NEC Codes. They are based on safety of the employees and rescue personnel. Ignoring safety measures creates the potential for legal actions. Complying with safety measures produces longer installation times and expenses in the form of T&M expenses for removal and labeling “For Future Use.”

CTS and Cabling Installers are required to inform end users about these new codes and their potential impacts.


has a safe and affordable plan. High tenant turnover and the constant upgrading of network infrastructures needed to keep up with changing technology has left an accumulation of abandoned wire and cable. The need to keep a detailed and up to date “as built” drawing and circuit records is not only common sense, but also an asset to increase the value of any property.

The CTS Plan

Step One:

Establishing the need as well as the scope of the work with the building owner/manager is an important first step to assure that all necessary concerns and requirements will be met. This includes gathering all drawings (or creating ones if none are available), determining customers needs, scheduling surveys etc.

Step Two:

Site Survey is time intensive with a serious need for attention to detail. Armed with the drawings of the spaces to be covered in the survey and information from current tenants, available documentation (if there is any), and the building owner/manager determining removal versus marking of cable is noted on plans. Delivery of scope of work to customer is required prior to work beginning.

Step Three:

After meeting with the building owner/manager and agreeing on the scope of the project and the signing of a contract, you enter the last phase of the project. There are two options for the owner/manager. One is limited to providing the detailed plan for removal/marking of the abandoned cable. The second option is CTS cable crew removing/marking all cables per the plan. There are many benefits of this choice to the owner/manager.

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