Burglar and Fire Alarms...who has fitted them?

B

Big_Spark

I am curious, I am about to have my cottage rewired..nope not DIY, I'm getting a couple of my Guys to do it..thats what I pay them for :)

I am going to get them to also install a Burglar Alarm, new one, and a Mains powered Fire Alarm system..saves all that messing about with batteries.

It occured to me that with the amount of people looking to rewire their home, they may as well put in one or both of these items too, saves unsightly surface cables at a later date, and should also mean lower household insurance premiums.

How many have done it, thought about or might consider it? How many of the Sparks here have had experience putting in Alarms and access control systems?
 
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breezer

you should know, alarms be it fire or intruder are really a specialist job.

also for what discount you get on your insurance 90% of the time it is not worth it.

It has to be a recognised alarm company anyway for you to get a measily disscount

edited for typo
 
B

Big_Spark

breezer said:
you should know, alarms be it fire or intruder are really a specialist job.

also for what discount you get on your insurance 90% of the time it is not worth it.

It has to be a recognised alarm company anyway for you to get a measily disscount

They are all myths put about by Alarm companies. I have been in this Job 21 years, I have yet to find a decent spark who is not more than capable of wiring an alarm circuit, be it fire or Intruder.

I have already spoken to my Insurance company, and once they see a copy of the completion certificates, they will instantly provide a 23% discount.

NACOSS registration for an alarm company is desirable, but not a prerequisite.

There is no reason why competant Electrical Contractors or Electricians cannot undertake such work in domestic and small/medium commercial operations.

Our Guys are always fitting fire alarm systems for clients, and we also do CCTV, Access control and Intruder Alarms.
 
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Just fitted one in my house, security & fire with a phone dialler.....Its nice to know when you have just been robbed or the place is on fire :(
 
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breezer

following on from previous post, i have seen electrcians install intruder alarms (and fire) the thing is intruder alarms are not fitted at low level or on the ceiling. yes they can understand (or should be able to) the theory of how it works / wired, but do not necessarily know how the detectors work, where to site them, where NOT to site them.

also with the advent of addressable fire alarms that too is becoming more speccialist.

Yes origonally fire alarms were always installed by electricains, simple single zone panel, call points and bells (all in pyro) but not so much now.

tell me something.

you own your own company (you said so your self) you also mention your company installs fire & intruder alarms, is it always the same electricians that do this (fire and intruder) or is your company medium, sized and every one does every thing.

reason i ask is becasue if they pessistantly install the same kit, they will become familair with it , so knowing what it can /can't do. in effect an alarm engineer, which is what i said in the first place. "specialist engineer"
 
B

Big_Spark

Breezer, I take the point you make about the engineers, and it is a valid one.

In FWL I ensure that all our Guys get to work with those with the most experience of Intruder and Firealarms regardless of sophistication.

We do employ a couple of Guys that have vast experience of Fire Alrms, one was a development Engineer for Gent for a number of years. In total we have 9 Guys who have specialist skills in this area, Two are Fire Alarms, two are Intruder Alarms, one is CCTV and we have 4 who have good knowledge of more than one of those fields.

It is these guys who design the Fire and Intruder systems we install, or the CCTV systems. They create drawings with everything marked on the drawing where it will go..if the Consultants have not already provided design drawings.

The Installers then work to these drawings as they would any other electrical plan.

The issue of addressable fire alarms is making the job easier to be honest, so long as you have an organised plan in place during the 2nd fix of the alarm system you don't get any problems.

I understand that many sparks look at alarm systems, regardless of type, and have a little panic attack, but they are seriously simple to install so long as you have a sound design and follow it rigidly.

Regarding the sighting of accessories for alarms, this is actually common sense.

For Fire Alarms it is easy,(assume domestic) "fixed level" Heat detectors in places where steam or smoke might occur in normal use..KITCHENS.. Ionisation detectors in normal rooms and on stairwells and Optical detectors. If you have an open fire in your Lounge, then you install a heat detector. The sounder, as oppose to a bell, should be located in a place were it can be heard all over the house, or one in the down hall and one in the upper hall. The Loft and Basement should have Ionisation detectors installed in them.

Same premises but Intruder Alarm. Any external door should have a magnetic contact switch installed upon. Downstairs rooms should have magnetic switches on windows, but if this is not viable then PIR sensors installed facing the likely point of entry, windows and doors. Ideally both should be installed for added security. Some Burglars know how to defeat magnetic switches.

Upstairs is largely the same as downstairs, however two things to consider, loft voids can be used from adjoining properties to gain entry, PIR sensors in the loft void are a good idea, as is a magnetic catch on the loft hatch. These two items should be on their own zone as they can be left armed at all times, only being deactivated if you go into the loft.

This is also true for any basement area you may have, unless it cannot be accessed from outside.

The alarm should be setup in such a way as to allow the occupants to set the alarm at night so that the premises is secure whilst they sleep, this can be achieved by use of a remote keypad on the upper landing should they require to move about in the night or when they arise in the morning.

Bell Boxes should have tamper switches on them, that are active all the time, and it is a wise move to have a bell box at the front and rear of the property.

Both Fire and Intruder alarms are far more effective if monitored, this can be achieved via a simple dialer that will dial a preset number should either alarm be activated. Sophisicated dialers can be installed allowing the dialing of several numbers, but this is not necessary for normal people.

There you go..quick type and basics outlined.
 
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I have installed 2-wire fire alarms - not bad for domestic...

RKP's for nite time use are gr8 until you forget to type in code before meeting the first passive!!
 
B

Big_Spark

securespark said:
RKP's for nite time use are gr8 until you forget to type in code before meeting the first passive!!

Oh I know that from personal experience in the old house!!

So embarrassing when you forget to phone the monitoring company to prevent them calling the Boys in Blue!!

Thankfully they phone me first now. :)
 
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FWL_Engineer said:
Downstairs rooms should have magnetic switches on windows, but if this is not viable then PIR sensors installed facing the likely point of entry, windows and doors.
The only problem with these PIR type I tend to find that the burglars is already in your room for it to activate the alarm and threaten you to turn off the alarm.I have a vibration sensor type on windows,tap the windows and the alarm will go off without the burglars setting foot inside your property and the bonus is that my family can walk about inside the property while the alarm is still on as I do shiftwork.I do feel that the outside of the property should be alarm and not inside,this is my own opinion.
 
B

Big_Spark

Masona, I agree with the observation about PIR's, that is why I always get our guys to price and spec for magnetic contacts AND PIR's.

However on a few rare occasions we have come across a situation where you cannot mount a magnetic catch or other detector on the windows.

In these situation we have mounted smaller PIR's in the window recess looking down from the top..open the window and bammm, off goes the alarm.
 
B

breezer

FWL_Engineer said:
In these situation we have mounted smaller PIR's in the window recess looking down from the top..open the window and bammm, off goes the alarm.

That is all very well until.................

some one leaves the window open / a jar

the cat jumps up onto the window sill (inside)

what if the intruder comes in from other end of room, that pir is going to do a lot of good then isn't it?
---------------------------

You should programme pirs so that in "night set" the first pir to see someone (downstairs hall perhaps, as if any upstairs they should be off) will start the entry timer (to enable person to switch alarm off)


unlike a fire alarm, bs 4737 says that each volumetric detector should be on its own circuit (i never said you didn't)

for those that do not know>

volumetric detectors are used as trap protection, yes that does mean that they do not go off untill intruder is in, but that then means the person has commited an offence by trespassing on your property, vibration sensors as you call them, can be set off (and quite often are, especially when set too sensative) by window cleaner putting ladder on window, bird hitting window, tree branch hitting window (it has happened, yes it is owners fault for letting tree grow too much , but it happens)

Police will not respond to an alarm unless it has a URN (unique reference number) this has to be applied for at time of installation, if you have 2 false alarms in a rolling 12 months you will receive a warning letter.

if you have 4 false alarms in a rolling 12 months your URN will be withdrawn. (this is not re issued until your alarm company updates the system, to the new BS , this did not used to be the case)

the new regulations state that an intruder alarm (new installations) must have confirmed signalling,
That is for example a contact on the door and a pir covering the general area near the door, intruder forces door, (ARC* receive intruder signal, but do not police it) pir is then set off, alarm sends confirmed signal to ARC*, this is then policed as intruders on site.

also new installations nust have "a means of turning alarm off on entry other than enterting the code" this is usually over come by the use of a "proximity reader" to which the owner holds a "tag"

you also have not mentioned such things as Personal attack buttons, active infra red beams, but the list goes on, and on (so we wont go there any more)

*ARC is Alarm Receiving Centre, this is where the alarm signal is sent to, and is covered by its own set of BS standards. The ARC is in effect a filtering place as to if a call gets policed or not, some well known stores have their own ARC (as opposed to the alarm companies ARC) and they also monitor for example the freezers, yes the freezers, freezers get too warm thats a lot of "stock" they stand to loose.

_____________________________________________________________

You may also be interested (or not) to know the following.

you know those "tardis toilets" the modern looking ones that have a sliding door that opens when you put in your money (if required) then press the button and door opens you go in do your thing, come out and it washes it all. well they are connected to an ARC (its true) to say for example it has run out of toilet paper or soap.
 
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breezer said:
It has to be a recognised alarm company anyway for you to get a measily disscount

My boss installed a burglar alarm system himself and all the insurance company requested was proof that the installer was a competent engineer. So he faxed them a copy of his degree certificate and they actually accepted it!

This is probably an isolated case though. I would happily install my own system but I doubt very much that sending over a copy of my degree would help matters (especially seeing as I am a physicist and thus not an engineer!).
 
B

Big_Spark

breezer said:
That is all very well until.................

some one leaves the window open / a jar

the cat jumps up onto the window sill (inside)

what if the intruder comes in from other end of room, that pir is going to do a lot of good then isn't it?

Breezer, aren't you taking this a bit far? What if this that and the other?

Using that argument we could debate most topics in here ad infinitum

Installers of Intruder Alarms must take into account local conditions when designing systems, HOWEVER for the purposes of this thread the debate over every possible domestic situation is not helpful..especially as all I originally asked was who had installed or was considering installing Intruder and Fire Alarms.

Some of the points you are making are valid, but debating every potention situation is hardly worthwhile or productive.
 
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breezer said:
vibration sensors as you call them, can be set off (and quite often are, especially when set too sensative) by window cleaner putting ladder on window, bird hitting window, tree branch hitting window (it has happened, yes it is owners fault for letting tree grow too much , but it happens)
Mine haven't got this type as it's over 20yrs old but my mum's just has one fitted,the alarm company put a vibration test on the window to give them a reading which then adjust vibration sensor to whatever level is required or you can adjust them manually inside the cover,I don't know much about them though.
 
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FWL_Engineer said:
Same premises but Intruder Alarm. Any external door should have a magnetic contact switch installed upon. Downstairs rooms should have magnetic switches on windows, but if this is not viable then PIR sensors installed facing the likely point of entry, windows and doors. Ideally both should be installed for added security. Some Burglars know how to defeat magnetic switches.

Upstairs is largely the same as downstairs, however two things to consider, loft voids can be used from adjoining properties to gain entry, PIR sensors in the loft void are a good idea, as is a magnetic catch on the loft hatch. These two items should be on their own zone as they can be left armed at all times, only being deactivated if you go into the loft.

This is also true for any basement area you may have, unless it cannot be accessed from outside.

Just a passing comment ... isn't some of the above a little excessive?

Contacts on windows - I have only ever seen this on commercial installations. In the domestic environment these will be just about impossible to install neatly especially with uPVC windows. Personally I would rely on PIR to detect an intrusion. I agree with external doors having a contact whenever possible.

Ideally PIR shouldn't face windows and should be position such that the intruder crosses it's path so facing an entry point will reduce the detection ability. Having said that I must admit that I have placed PIR looking out of a window as a compromise between effort and detection. To place one in the loft ... somewhat unusual and a landing PIR should do the trick.
 

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