The cottage business of designing and installing Emergency Responder Radio Communication Systems (ERRCS) is fairly new. Enhanced in-building connectivity for first responders came to light after the release of the Post-9/11 Commission Report in 2005.
The incorporation of ERRCS standards into national codes (NFPA, IFC) has made it the de facto solution to in-building communications for First Responders during an emergency for First Responders during an emergency – preferred over the previous solution of installing phone jacks near stairways for emergency communication indoors with personnel in the building’s fire control room (although phone jacks seem to still be a requirement in many jurisdictions unless exempted by the fire marshal).
Extra Requirement Costs
Our last blog highlighted the need for ERRCS monitoring. We received some feedback suggesting that the additional requirement adds cost to these systems and isn’t codified yet in any national code. That criticism seems fair and our belief is certainly that the standards and codes should be mindful of adding additional costs to these systems, especially in states like California where building costs are already high.
How We Price Our Services
To assist owners, builders and stakeholders in trying to keep costs down, we’ve started pricing our services based on our view of the five (5) stages of an ERRCS project:
Stage 1: Review of Plans to ensure appropriate infrastructure is in place to support an ERRCS
Stage 2: Design Submittal to AHJ
Stage 3: ERRCS Grid Test
Stage 4: Final Design and Implementation
Stage 5: Annual Inspection
ERRCS Grid Test
There are many system integrators in the business who merge these stages into a murky soup of confusion. Because they believe the end-user customer doesn’t want to know the details, they bundle the solution into a single price. However, the not-so-dirty little secret of the business is that until the Stage 3 ERRCS test is performed you don’t know whether a system is needed or not. This is the fundamental difference between an ERRCS and a building-wide WiFi network. You can design a WiFi network when the building is a hole in the ground and what you ultimately install will be exactly what you designed.
Conversely, you can design an ERRCS system when the building is a hole in the ground but what you ultimately install may be nothing! Why? The ERRCS is required based on the relevant signal readings once the building is constructed. If testing shows sufficient signal, a system may not be required.
Integrators who wrap a single system price up into an original proposal do the customer a disservice by not pricing the work into stages. This is what we do. Caveat Emptor.
For more information about how IBWS can help you navigate ERRCS, you can visit our website and fill out the contact form.