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If we are talking about electrical installations, when would you use "installations" vs "facilities".

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines facilities as "something (such as a building or large piece of equipment) that is built for a specific purpose", but then mentions "installations" as a synonym.

For installation, the Merriam Webster has "the act or process of making a machine, a service, etc., ready to be used in a certain place: the act of installing something" but also "something (such as a piece of equipment) that is put together and made ready for use". This last definition looks pretty similar to the one for facilities.

  • As far as I know , both are totally diff. words and also having diff. meaning. Like : 1 - School provides many facilities. 2 - Technician doing installations of necessary programs. – Helping Hands Dec 2 '14 at 9:48
  • Both words have far wider meanings and contexts than are suggested here. It is only in one narrow field that they appear to overlap. – WS2 Dec 2 '14 at 10:07
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    Installation is a structural definition, facility is a functional term. The two need not necessarily be the same, though objects may share these properties. Any arrangement for coffee to be made available at the workplace is a 'facility,' a coffee dispenser in a corner is an 'installation.' HTH. – Kris Dec 2 '14 at 12:32
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I do retail display work and we often use "installation" to describe temporary or permanent lighting,fans,electrical tracks, etc., that are specifically "for show" (merchandising or display purposes). "Facilities" usually refers to the stuff in the back and the technical stuff - hvac, breakers, ducts, etc.

  • This is the only response so far that specifically addresses the OP's question regarding electrical installations / facilities. +1 – Erik Kowal Dec 2 '14 at 10:36
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Synonyms are usually not exactly the same. You have to take context, scale, and nuance into account.

Hoover Dam is a facility, but I don't think I'd call it an installation. That big green electrical box thing by the street is an installation, but I wouldn't call it a facility.

In a former job, we would have to call the 'Facilities and Maintenance' office when we needed them to perform an 'installation'. From a layman's perspective, I've always thought of facilities as buildings or other locations for doing work--a place where people frequently are. And physical installations would be equipment setup/installed to perform a task and then left behind.

Other non-electrical examples: "I need to use the facilities" is a euphemism for "I need to go to the bathroom (the place with the toilet)." Once an art installation is at a museum, the artist doesn't stick around.

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In this context I tend to use "installation" to refer to the process or action of installing, and "facilities" to refer to the buildings, infrastructure, or equipment that are the result of the installation process.

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