YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT SAFETY
Any responsible installation company will test the appropriate part of your electricity supply before and after installation to ensure that the system is safe to use. To prove its safety they will then issue a Mains test certificate, or a Minor works order as your guarantee of safety.
For your own peace of mind DO NOT use a company that WILL NOT or CANNOT test for the safety of the system they install and then WILL NOT accept responsibility by giving you the appropriate certificate.
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT COMPETENCE
The basic essentials of a good alarm system are laid down in British Standard 4737 1986 and a customer has every right to expect an alarm system to be installed to that standard.
There is only one way for the alarm buyer to ensure that standard of work and that is to choose a company that will submit it’s work to random inspection by one or other of the Police recognised independent inspectorate bodies, for example the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board, (SSAIB).
The independent inspection body will ensure the following on behalf of the customer-
Compliance to the appropriate British Standards, Quality of service,
Compliance to the guidelines of safe practices, Quality of workmanship,
The independent inspection body will also act as a mediator in case of dispute and will be able to find another installer if the one you chose is no longer satisfactory or goes out of business.
An Inspectorate Certificate of Conformity will be issued for every installation done by a recognised company. Make sure you get that certificate, it is your guarantee. An inspectorate cannot act on the customer’s behalf without that certificate.
(Enrolment with the SSAIB is open to any company in the British Isles – all they have to do is prove they are competent and consistently install to British Standards and can comply with the SSAIB rules).
YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT INSURANCE COVER
The SSAIB along with the other inspectorates insist that all enrolled companies are insured against giving wrongful advice to the customer and insured against their systems failing to operate in the event of a break-in. This insurance is often called efficacy cover.
Before making your final choice of installer ask to see written proof of their insurance cover.
It is quite often considered an essential requirement by the insurance companies to get the police to respond directly to your alarm system.
The police will only respond directly to systems that are installed AND maintained by companies enrolled with one of the recognised inspectorate bodies. Everyone else has to wait until someone dials 999 and reports an intruder on the premises.
TO SUM UP
If you chose an alarm company that is NOT recognised by one of the police recognised inspectorate bodies you have-
NO GUARANTEE OF SAFETY,
NO GUARANTEE OF COMPETENCE,
NO GUARANTEE OF INSURANCE COVER,
NO DIRECT POLICE RESPONSE, AND
NO INDEPENDENT BODY TO ACT ON YOUR BEHALF IN CASE OF DISPUTE.
In fact there’s NO good reason to choose a NON recognised installer
TRAPS TO AVOID
PRICE, a great many non-recognised alarm companies sell on price. This is very often done by cutting the quality of the components and/or cutting corners on the actual installation. Worse still it is often done by cutting the level of protection given to your property.
SELLING OVER THE PHONE, This is very common among non-recognised alarm companies. Ask yourself the following question.
“How can an alarm installing company know without seeing your property what risk is involved, or what the layout of the property is and how much protection is needed, or have you any children, cats, dogs or disabled people, and what degree of difficulty is going to be encountered to fit the system”?
(The degree of difficulty is very important, it affects the time taken to fit the system and therefore the price to be charged. For example an empty house is very easy, there are no carpets or furniture so floorboards can be taken up and walls channelled out for wires with the minimum of fuss. With lots of carpets, furniture, ornaments and expensive decoration wires have often to be taken a longer way round and much more time and effort put into the job, and of course the customer does NOT want to start re-decorating again so a lot more care and attention are needed. It all affects the final price).
Pricing over the phone is done very easily – quote a price to get the job and then hack the system to fit the price.
PRICING OVER THE PHONE IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CUSTOMER.
FINALLY, before you sign the sale agreement – READ THE SMALL PRINT
Check the following points-
Make sure you actually own the system, and not just the wires,
Make sure that there are no other hidden prices (like VAT or Maintenance)
Find out if there is a maintenance agreement included,
Find out how long the maintenance contract lasts,
Find out if the contract can be sold on to another company without your permission,
Find out if the Alarm Company can put the price up without your permission,
Find out who pays for what replacement parts,
Find out how much notice you have to give if you wish to cancel the contract.