Is your installer reputable?

July 2009

Have you thought about who is installing your security system and if they are qualified?

Have you thought about who is installing your security system and if they are qualified?
Whoever installs your security solution ultimately holds your life in their hands. A frightening thought. So, make sure you do your homework on your installation company.
The security products you install need to work immediately, every time you press a button or someone trips a sensor. You do not get second chances. It is your responsibility to ensure you select an installer capable of doing the job, and one that will be around when you need maintenance or expansion work done on your installation.
Know your home security installer:
1. Does the installer have proper contact details and company verification?
2. Is the company known in the industry and how long has it been going for? Companies that have been around for many years are likely to give better advice.
3. Before anything is installed in your home, make it your priority to get a full explanation from your installer about the technology that he advises you to take on. Seek qualified advice on specific requirements for coverage, operation and contracting of your security system.
4. Go with security companies and products that have well established brand names. Research them on the Internet if necessary. Is it a local or international product? If international, does it have a local office and support?
5. Examine details such as guarantees on the product.
6. Make sure the products being installed can be serviced by your installer or other reputable dealers.
7. Does the company have after hours standby technicians?
8. Make sure you sign an indemnity form when work is being carried out on your home. If anything goes wrong during the installation process, who will be liable – you or your installer?
9. Is your installer accredited with relevant security governing bodies?
10. Make sure that the company you choose is also registered with the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), which is a mandatory requirement for any security service provider.
11. If you are uncertain about your installer’s credentials, then talk to a security guild such as the South African Intruder Detection Service Associations (SAIDSA). Any installer worth their weight will be a member of this association, because it ensures all their installation and equipment meet appropriate industry standards.
12. Get three quotations. This should give you a good cross-reference of what services are available in your area and which product and company will best fit your requirements.
13. Give approval to the selected contractor by signing the offer to install, being sure you have agreed to the payment schedule, monitoring arrangements and costs and maintenance programme.
14. Once the installation is complete, ensure the contractor fully explains the system and its operation, that you and your family/colleagues understand.
Fly-by-night installers
“If you cannot trust your security service provider, who can you trust?” says Tom Bramwell-Jones, sales and marketing manager of Inhep Electronics Holdings – a security company specialising in the sale and manufacture of alarms, access control and CCTV equipment. Bramwell-Jones agrees that while there are a number of reputable security companies out there offering good, solid advice, there are also plenty of fly-by-night installers in the market who know very little about their products or the security field itself.
Petro Vonk from installation company Frog Security agrees, adding that if a homeowner should land up with an installation that does go horribly wrong, they should contact any of the security governing bodies before doing anything further.
Security specialist Alan Shrimpling from Connoisseur Electronics says that no matter whether a product has ISO 9001 certification, international awards to its name or simply a good track record, buyers must always be aware that any equipment purchased is only as good as its installation. “Credentials should be requested when contemplating the installation of any security products as a bad installation could jeopardise your safety,” he advises.
Roy Alves, MD of Axis Communications in South Africa, a security company specialising in camera and video technology, says as a result of the poor level of standards amongst many installation companies or individual installers, Axis have set up a training academy to educate those in this industry.
Armed response installations
Vonk believes that armed response companies are not always vigilant enough with the installers they pick to do home installations. “Armed response companies get the bulk of their money from their monthly fees charged to their clients; the need to prioritise the quality of their installers is not top of their list. But for a reputable installer, its quality of work determines its income.”

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