Richard Taylor is Managing Director at The Alarm Company in Norwich. Areas of expertise for the company include intruder alarms, fire alarms, CCTV, access control, induction loops, disabled call systems (WC and refuge) and nurse call and the business boasts accreditations such as NSI Gold Intruder, CCTV, Access Control and Fire and BAFE SP203-1.
Do you use a distributor or buy direct?
Both. We use Enterprise and ADI for security technology and we buy direct from C-Tec, Advance and Hochiki for call systems and fire systems. We don’t tend to fluctuate in the technology we use; sticking with product lines we like for continuity purposes. We know that we can provide the correct system for the job because it will be something we have already experienced and are familiar with. For anything else that might be a bit more specialised, we would use Mayflex.
Is third party accreditation beneficial to your company?
It is very important to us. From the very first day I started this business I always had the plan to be NSI accredited, although back then it was NSCIA, because in everyone’s point of view they are the most recognised body with the Police and insurers. We have been with them for 24 years!
I do think there is still plenty to be done to make the public aware of the benefits of talking to properly accredited companies rather than just having anyone install their security and fire systems. There are plenty of alternative services offering “approved” companies that have a high profile in the market so the NSI needs to target consumers.
What would be a typical project for you?
A typical job for us would be for a medium to large new build with all of the disciplines of intruder, access, fire, CCTV, induction loops, nurse call etc. – and these can range from £20K to £500,000 contracts. This is where we have specialised in the last four or five years and the market is growing for us in the local area with some of the projects lasting up to a year. We also look after all of Norfolk County Council’s schools and buildings for intruder alarms, access control and CCTV.
What would make your job easier?
The most frustrating aspect of our job is that we have to put in wiring in big buildings despite the advances in wireless technology. If we could speed up the wiring process that would make life easier.
The sheer effort involved in wiring a huge system is massive and now with all of the health and safety “advances” in the building industry it takes twice as long to install everything. Even though there have been improvements in installation techniques the health and safety requirements (i.e. access equipment) slow the advances more than we have gained.
Is there is a security skills shortage?
I do think there is a skills shortage and I feel there is a lot of apathy in the youth of today. It seems to me that a lot of the younger school leaving generation expect to land in a job with zero effort, which is clearly not the case. So we look outside the box and look to other sectors. Over the past few years we have found some real gems in parallel businesses and the people really want to make an effort to learn new skills. We recognised their skills and retrained them and now we have a number of very good engineers and surveyors that came from outside security. I like the motto “recruit for attitude and train for skill”.
Read the full interview in the July 2018 edition of PSI magazine