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Why do alarm monitoring without repair service and inspection

October 19, 2021
Why do alarm monitoring without repair service and inspection
          I have been receiving your email for several years and love reading them.  We are about to embark on monitoring some alarm panels and would like to get a recommendation on what we need to purchase.
          We plan to take over monitoring for some commercial fire sites.  We are not going to be providing any maintenance strictly monitoring.  We plan to take over monitoring some commercial burglar alarm panels.
          This will be a split between providing service and no service.  Which contracts do we need?
          Looking forward to hearing from you in the coming days on your recommendations.
Keith W. Cohick, CPP, PSP, CSPM
Director of Business Operations and Compliance
Charlotte, NC
          The contracts you need are
  *  Fire All in One [commercial fire, installation, repair, inspection and monitoring]
  *  Commercial All in One [for security, including alarms, cameras, access control, everything other than fire
  *  Disclaimer Notice
          While the All in One agreements cover from sale, installation and all post-install services, you don’t have to offer or provide all of the services, just like you don’t have to offer all of the security systems and services available.  What I want to know is why aren’t you providing all the after-install services, especially for commercial fire. 
          I can understand if you are a subcontractor doing installation and no offering any after-install services.  You also won’t be contracting with the customer; you will be relying on the alarm company hiring you to do the install, hoping – assuming, it has a contract with the customer. 
          But if it’s your customer and you are doing the fire alarm monitoring we know that the fire alarm is going to need periodic inspection and likely repairs.  Why give that away, unless you simply aren’t manned to handle the work, but even then why aren’t you contracting for it and subcontracting the inspection and service, just like you are probably subcontracting the monitoring. 
          In most jurisdictions, NYC cesspool being one exception, your alarm license permits install, inspection and service, so you are constrained only by your skills and available techs.
          Couple of other observations re your question.  You are doing take-over of existing accounts installed and presently serviced by another alarm company.  Make sure you use the updated Disclaimer Notice on that take-over, in addition to your All in One. That form has check boxes for inspecting and repairing the system before you take it over.  Remember, once you take it over, it’s your alarm system.
          Next, unless you do offer and perform “maintenance” do not use that word.  If you do a repair service upon request, that repair, not maintenance.  If you do inspection, that’s not maintenance.  If you do inspection and also provide some preventative services, such as change batteries, oil and lubricate parts, etc, I suggest you check the inspection box on the All in One and in the Schedule of Equipment and Services indicate that the inspection will include the oil change etc – be sure to specify exactly what you are going to be doing, and simply say “maintenance”. 
          Yes I know all about NFPA’s use of the work maintenance, and I don’t care; don’t use the term.  In fact if you do insist on using the term maintenance you better describe it precisely and also clearly express all exclusions, so that there is no ambiguity about what is, and what isn't, included in your maintenance.  You sure as heck don't mean that you're going to keep that system operational. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301