Pricing factors

Alarm pricing factors

1. Wireless devices include the price of the device, labor to program and mount and sometimes a repeater if that is needed. On overhead doors a metal contact is often tied into a universal transmitter. 

Hardwired devices such as motions, door status switches, glass break sensors, water sensors, temp sensors and other sensors have several factors to consider for pricing namely: 

A.  Wire, wire installation and any penetrations through walls.  If the device is powered it will require a 4 conductor cable, two for the power and two for the device. Door status switches normally have only two wires although on high security contacts more wires are required for the tamper and other features depending on the installation. A BMS Balanced magnetic contact has multiple magnets with specific polarities in a specific order which makes it much more difficult to defeat than a normal contact. 

A security system can be configured with zones or an addressable loop. A zoned system can have all zones go back to the panel or to zone expanders to reduce the wire runs. When an addressable loop is installed you can put several detectors or contacts on the same loop and the cost for the addressable modules is a bit more although the money saved for not using as much wire is a plus. The labor is also reduced since you are not running wire back to the panel for each device. 

B.  If the distance is more than 100 feet additional labor needs to be added for installation. 

C. Conduit or wiremold at least to protect the wire that could be damaged during normal daily usage. Low voltage wire is not required to be in conduit although it is prudent or damage can occur like the picture. 

D. If a lift is required because of the ceiling height this will add to the cost. 

E. Taking into account that a system that is installed in a small building will have a different installation cost because you will use less wire, less labor and you would not need a lift are factors to understand. 

F. When putting together a scope of work be sure to have all the bidders bid the same type of wire, the same conduit stubups and have the installation done professionally.  

G. Understand that you can install a $25 dollar PIR motion or a more expensive $70 dollar motion that is a tritech motion. Depending if you need the motion to detect 30 feet, 40 feet, 60 feet or more will determine the cost of the motion.  My suggestion is not to use the least expensive detectors since you will pay the same labor and have issues with the less expensive models such as false alarms.  Spending a bit more money will give you a better installation. 

H. Deciding whether or not to install an addressable loop can be done by pricing the system out both ways to determine if more labor can be saved by paying a bit more for addressable modules. 

Pricing example:  Overhead door metal over the rail contact $39 + conduit and labor to install conduit $85 + addressable module $30 + 100 feet of NON PLENUM CABLE $15 + one hour of labor $116 which also includes programming and testing so the total in this case is $285.00

to install an overhead door contact. If the contact is farther away from the panel additional labor will be needed, if a lift is needed that will need to be added to the project. If the motions are very far from the headend remote power supplies can be added in the field. There would be an additional cost if you extend the normal 12 month warranty to 3 or 5 years.  

The cost can be a bit less without an addressable module or without the conduit although you risk damage and the system having problems, going with the least expensive motion can also cause more trouble shooting later on. 

This is not specifically about motions although if you install a motion that has anti masking if someone spray paints the front of it the motion will alert your system that it has been tampered with. In high security systems we can isolate the tamper on a separate zone and you would need an extra pair of wires. Many companies do not offer these options since it complicates the installation and costs more. 

Often owners do not want to spend the time to learn about these options and they have a budget to meet so that is also a factor to consider.  Engineers will design systems with expensive equipment and companies will offer value engineering to reduce the cost of the systems. Sometimes older specifications are included with projects where equipment is specified that is outdated so it is prudent to review the entire project before installation. 

Depending on the current draw of the devices specific power supplies will be needed so battery calculations will need to be done to make sure you have enough power and battery capacity. 

After an intrusion system is installed it needs to be maintained just like a car by changing the batteries every 3-5 years, the system should be tested on a regular basis. The system should be checked often to make sure no one is trying to defeat the system by wrapping the wires together or putting resisters at certain points. Just last month we found paper in two of the door jams indicating that intruders most likely from the inside intended to come back later to enter the building. If fridge magnets have been put on any of the doors this could bypass the door and defeat the system.  (This is a one reason to use BMS contacts on certain installations)  

Installing cameras on these areas can help you determine when someone is trying to defeat the system. This is not a complete article on pricing although it will help the owner or engineer understand a bit more about the equipment and pricing. 

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