Contractor Support

About the Security Contractor Resources

Steve Keller and Associates, Inc. has prepared a document called “Welcome Contractor”. It reviews the highlights of the specification contractors working on projects we design have bid on and draws attention to the most frequent problems we have noted over the past 30+ years in conforming with the spec. For example, most projects call for shop drawings to be completed BEFORE any work can occur but very few consultants actually prevent work from beginning until shop drawings have been reviewed and approved. We are not one of those firm that will allow work to begin without approved shop drawings!  Shop drawings are legally defined as “instructions by the engineer in the office to the technician in the field indicating exactly how the work is to be performed.”  We feel that no project can be fully successful without good shop drawings so we will hold up all work--and all payments to the contractor--until this step is completed.

The document also contains handy checklists that help you fulfill your obligations under the spec. If there is a requirement for a specific submittal at a specific time, this document will help remind you of that requirements.

Why do we issue this document?  Because we, like you, are in business and we know that time is money. If you lose money on this job you are less likely to do a good job so we want you to get the work done as cost effectively as you can, make a fair profit, and maintain a long lasting relationship with our client providing ongoing services. We have selfish reasons, too. We get paid to review shop drawings--once.  If we must reject them for being non-conforming or incomplete, we lose money.

When--and only when--you are awarded the job, you will be given access to a private web page where you can download this helpful document.  Why do we not post it here for you to see now?  Because, legally, we cannot issue anything prior to bidding that might make a lazy contractor think that he need not read the spec. This helpful document is a tool, but it is not a substitute for reading the spec in detail and bidding on it accordingly. We recommend that you assume that if it is in the spec, we will make you deliver it. Then, after you win the job, give us a call and we will see that you have benefit of the “Welcome Contractor” package to help make your project as successful as possible..

Here are just a few tips that will help you as you prepare a bid on one of our projects:

  1. 1. If we say “no substitutions” we mean “no substitutions”.

  2. 2. Do not try to go over our head to get someone--architect, owner, general contractor--to force us to allow you to substitute your product. WE KNOW you can do it for less money using substitutions and we may just ask some contractors to help us value engineer later. But if you go over our head, you will guarantee that you will not be one of them.

  3. 3.If we allow substitutions for “true equals”, please don’t submit a product that is not a true equal. If we specify a camera with 2 megapixels, your substitution must be equal or better in every way.

  4. 4.We almost always require that you use OUR choice of format for your shop and as-built drawings. We even give you an example to follow. Bid accordingly. We tell you what must be in your drawings and we will reject them if you don’t provide what we need.  Why are we such fanatics about this?  Insurance. We give the insurance industry the quality they demand and they give our clients insurance.

  5. 5.We are likely to ask for a warranty that covers every possible failure or malfunction of the system you install. We define this quite well. We ask that you not bid any alternate warranty. You will not like the warranty we ask for because it requires that if the product you provide fails for any reason you replace it. But what about “Acts of God?”, you will ask. If the failure is clearly obvious to all observers that it occurred due to a hurricane washing over the building or a fire burning it down, then, of course, it is not covered.  What we are trying to avoid is the contractor, unable to find any good reason for a motion detector failing, saying to the owner, “Gee, it must have been a power surge. That’s not covered.”  Our warranty terms are intended to make virtually any failure covered, and we expect that your bid will be sufficiently padded to cover all but the most obvious “acts of God”. Be assured, however, if you claim that a failure is due to an act of God, you will be required to convince a judge on an arbitration board of that fact.  Hey, I have an idea!  Why don’t you do what all of your competitors will do and add an extra couple of percent to the cost of the parts, include this in your bid, and provide us what we ask for. Think of it as extra profit if your system and workmanship are as good as you claim them to be.

  6. 6.We will require record (“as-built”) drawings. As-built drawings show all of the changes made due to field conditions and they always differ from the shop drawings. We can’t say too strongly how difficult it is to try to re-create as-built drawings after the fact.  Make your installer document everything in detail on a daily basis. We will not authorize final payment of hold backs until as-builts are received, approved and filed by the architect so keep up with this. We are willing to pay for this and understand that it will increase your cost.

  7. 7.We will probably require that you do all programming. We mean it. Plan and bid accordingly.

  8. 8.We will require training for the owner.  Training is to be pre-approved by us, scheduled with us informed of the dates, and formally conducted according to your training outline submittal. Training conducted informally doesn’t count. Expect us to be present, possibly along with an insurance representative.

  9. 9.We will include wording in the spec about who can instruct you with regard to changes, adds, deletions, etc. This varies with each project and each architect.  But in every instance we are to be involved and informed and if we are not, then we consider the change illegitimate. Since we get to decide when you get paid, i.e., when your work is done right, we suggest that you keep us in the loop. We will not sign off on “adds” or changes we did not know about through official channels!

  10. 10.We review all change orders. We know that it is traditional for there to be a slight premium in cost for change orders. Be advised that we review every change order involving the systems we specify and will expect your prices to be fair and justified. We will not approve the contract for the ongoing service agreement until the end of the job. You will, in all probability, automatically be awarded this lucrative contract if you do a good job and treat the owner fairly. The fairness of your change order prices is likely to be a factor in that decision. We recently reviewed a change necessitated by a code authority review. A motion detector was located, centered over a door. When code authority added an “Exit” sign over the door we asked that the detector be moved three feet to the north. The security contractor was still on site daily and conduit was the responsibility of others. The security contractor tried to justify $1500 in additional parts and 32 hours of labor. If you are fair with us, we will be fair with you. We weren’t born yesterday.

When you download the “Welcome Contractor” document it will discuss in detail the final acceptance test. This is a thorough commissioning test and inspection. When bidding, read this section of the spec carefully and expect it to be a thorough test of all aspects of the systems you install. The document will have a checklist to help make your test a success the first time.

For a copy of our “Welcome Contractor” document and our “Contractor Checklist”, Click the boxes below:

A Resource for Contractors Working on Our Projects

Welcome Contractor

Contractor Checklist