By:  Stephen Garcia and Kathryn O’Leary

New construction developers face numerous challenges to stay current with the latest trends in telecom/data innovations and the shift towards managed Wi-Fi deployments. Although the process is similar, projects with build-to-rent single-family units (SFU) and/or townhomes can present additional concerns around permitting, easement access in public and private streets/alleyways, and the infrastructure an Owner must install so that Service Providers can reach each lot and then access each home to reach the media cabinet. 

As with all projects, it’s important to have an LV design plan that is comprehensive and clear. This ensures that subcontractors in the field understand what outside and inside infrastructure will be installed and what their scope of work will be. When possible, the outside plant will typically follow the utility trench plan (called an “intent”) and will house the Service Provider(s) backbone distribution throughout the property. The utility company’s intent will be sent to the telecom providers who will provide markups showing their additional elements. Once approved by the utility company, the final plan is referred to as the “composite” and constitutes the main joint trench plan for the project, providing both wet and dry utilities (usually at the expense of the Owner/Developer).  

For SFU/Townhomes, the process becomes more complicated as service provider permits and easements access can be either “public” or “private” and carry different levels of responsibility for each. Knowing the necessary steps and finding supporting information can be time-consuming, but often leads to substantial savings as the responsibility for providing and installing conduit in the main line trench may shift from the developer’s responsibility to the service provider. 

Additionally, varying approaches for how service providers access SFUs, like penetrating an exterior wall or going directly underground through conduit, can affect the requirements for lateral conduits and how the SFU is accessed. Moreover, local building regulations may differ for SFUs from MDUs, impacting where telecom-related pathways may be run.  Similarly, the architectural design of townhome buildings can vary substantially, some with telecom closets and others without. These differences can also impact the design of the lateral conduits and the equipment selection of the service provider.  These seemingly small details can have a large impact on budgets and timing for a project with an SFU or Townhome component.     

Enlisting RealtyCom to assist with your new development from the planning stages is the key to a smooth project from beginning to end. RealtyCom can help with Service Provider Negotiation, Low Voltage Design or Peer Review as well as Project Management and Field verification services. We have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process of design, build, implementation, and finally, completion. Whether your project is SFU, MDU, or a complete Master Planned Community, RCP’s help will result in a successful telecom installation that will save you time and money. 

If you have questions about how RealtyCom can assist with project management, design planning, and engineering or field engineering resources for your new developments, please email us at