Do I need to Remove Cables from My Old Office?


When moving office locations, there is already enough to worry about before you start adding on extra costs and projects. Often, new tenants will not bother with removing the structured cabling, so before leaving it’s crucial to plan for this step. You will have to hire an expert to do the job which is why cables are often abandoned rather than removed. But there are a few legal and practical considerations to reflect on before you make that decision:

  • National Electrical Code: To mediate the problem between tenants’ and landlords of cable removal responsibility, the National Fire Protection Agency has written into the National Electrical Code, NEC 1999 800-52 (b). This code requires that cabling is either tagged adequately for future use or removed, citing the “Spread of Fire or Products of Combustion. Installations in hollow spaces, vertical shafts, and ventilation or air-handling ducts shall be made so that the possible spread of fire or products of combustion will not be substantially increased. Openings around penetrations through fire-resistance-rated walls, partitions, floors, or ceilings shall be fire stopped using approved methods.”
  • Lease Agreement: Most often, your lease will include language about the cable removal upon termination of the contract, as well as who is responsible for what, and other tedious but essential details. Make sure you check this out so that you can take care of your responsibilities, and make sure other parties do so as well.
  • Keep Your Tenant Record Clean: No one wants a lousy tenant record following them around – especially when you are trying to run a business. So even if your lease doesn’t decipher whose responsibility it is to remove the cables, you want to leave your old office the way you found it (or better, if this is the case). Taking that last step and getting rid of those last few cables can ensure that you have a good recommendation next time you need to get approved for a lease.
  • Community Relegations: Check your community regulations and see if you need to pull a permit before doing any electrical work. Sometimes this mandate includes even demolishing low-voltage wiring.
  • You can stay organized by thinking ahead: Here is something to consider long before moving out of your office. If you know that you are going to have to flip the bill for removing your cabling system when you go, why not get a head start and hire a cable mining service to remove unused/unwanted cables from your current system? It is estimated that over 50% of the cables in a given system are unused,[1] in which case they make your workspace unattractive, cause confusion during troubleshooting, block airflow, and are a fire hazard. Get your system organized so that when you move out, cable removal will be a breeze.
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Make sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities when leaving a property where you have installed and or used the cabling system. Abandoned cables are a fire hazard, and if you fail to remove cables that you had installed, you could be responsible for anything that occurs because of their abandonment. If you don’t have an in-house team that knows how to remove cables, don’t take on more liability – call an expert to come out for a few hours and remove the cables safely and professionally.


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