Your Guide to Evaluating and Purchasing Fire Alarm Installation Services
By Andrew Erickson
April 23, 2023
You must have a functional fire alarm system in place to protect the occupants of your buildings in case of a fire emergency.
Let's discuss a variety of topics to support your pre-purchase research, including:
- What you need to look for
- How to evaluate service providers before purchasing a fire alarm system or the associated installation labor
- The potential pitfalls to avoid
- The estimated cost of installation
- Whether purchasing equipment and labor from the same company is a good idea
How to Evaluate Service Providers Before Purchasing - The Top 10 Most Important Attributes to Look For
For your fire alarm installation, it's essential to choose a reputable service provider. Here are some things to look for when evaluating service providers:
- Experience and Expertise: Look for a fire alarm installation company with a proven track record of successful installations and maintenance of fire alarm systems. A company with a team of experts who are up-to-date with the latest technology and regulations is a must. Ask "How many installations did you perform last year?"
- Certification: Ensure that the fire alarm installation company is certified by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other regulatory bodies. This certification is proof of their commitment to quality and safety. More specifically, it can also be required by the fire code and your local AHJ.
- Customization: Choose a company that offers customized fire alarm solutions based on your building's unique needs. The company should conduct a thorough evaluation of your building to determine the best fire alarm system for your needs.
- 24/7 Monitoring: Select a fire alarm installation company that offers 24/7 monitoring of your fire alarm system. This ensures that your building is protected around the clock and that any issues can be addressed promptly.
- Maintenance and Service: The fire alarm installation company should offer regular maintenance and service to ensure that your system is always working correctly. This includes testing, inspections, and repairs.
- Customer Support: Choose a company that offers excellent customer support, including timely response to inquiries and issues.
- Upgrades and Expansion: A good fire alarm installation company should be able to upgrade or expand your system as needed, ensuring that your building stays protected as it grows.
- Competitive Pricing: While cost should not be the only factor, it is essential to choose a fire alarm installation company that offers competitive pricing without compromising on quality.
- Training and Education: The installation company should offer training and education to building occupants on the proper use of the fire alarm system. This ensures that everyone knows how to respond in case of an emergency.
- Reputation and Reviews: Research the fire alarm installation company's reputation and read customer reviews to ensure that they have a history of providing excellent service and reliable fire alarm systems.
Costly Pitfalls You Must Avoid When Evaluating Service Providers
When purchasing a fire alarm system, there are a few potential pitfalls to avoid:
- Cutting Corners: It's natural to want to minimize cost for something that isn't part of your core business. Still, don't skimp on costs by opting for a cheaper system or hiring an inexperienced service provider. A faulty fire alarm system can put lives at risk. Even from a purely financial perspective, you face fines and penalties and open yourself (or your organization) up to liability.
- Not Following Codes: You must ensure that your fire alarm system meets local and state codes and standards. Failing to do so can result in fines, liability, or worse, a malfunctioning system that doesn't provide adequate protection.
- Neglecting Maintenance: After installation, it's essential to keep the fire alarm system well-maintained so that it functions properly in case of an emergency. Neglecting maintenance can lead to a faulty system that doesn't provide adequate protection.
Cost of Installation
The cost of fire alarm installation varies wildly based on several factors. This includes the size of the property/campus/base, the type of fire alarm system, and the complexity of the installation.
As a result, it's basically impossible for me to give you a meaningful dollar figure for what your system is going to cost.
That's why it's best to get a quote from a reputable service provider to get a better idea of the cost of installation.
Should You Purchase Equipment and Labor from the Same Company?
All things being equal, it's generally a good idea to purchase equipment and labor from the same company.
Doing this can provide several benefits, including a more streamlined installation process, better coordination between the equipment supplier and installer, and potentially lower costs.
Nonetheless, you still need to make sure you've chosen the a good installer and a good equipment provider. If you think you've found one company that can do both, use the "Top 10" list above to perform a good evaluation.
Make Sure That Your Installer Can Work on Your Equipment Brand
It is essential to verify that your fire alarm installation company is certified and able to work on your brand of fire alarm equipment. This ensures that the installer has the necessary expertise and experience to install and maintain the system correctly.
This is one advantage of purchasing equipment and installation from the same company. It's just one less thing that you have to think about.
Independent of technical skill and certification, contractual limitations may prevent some installers from working on certain brands of equipment. It's important to check on that also.
Common brands of alarm equipment that you might need to install include:
- Johnson Controls
- System Sensor
- Cooper Notification
- Spectronics Corporation
- UTC Fire & Security
- Potter Electric Signal Company
Call Digitize to Discuss Your Upcoming Fire Alarm Installation
We manufacture centralized fire alarm monitoring equipment at Digitize. We wouldn't be the ones to install your entire fire alarm system from the ground up, but we certainly have a lot of related industry experience if you have questions.
To make sure that you start your project off on the right foot, why not spend 10 minutes on the phone with a Digitize engineer? You'll accelerate your project timeline and avoid some of the pitfalls I mentioned above.
Call Digitize at 1-800-523-7232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 16 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and...Read More