Why System Maintenance Should Be a Part of Your Test and Inspection Agreement

Published on June 10, 2019, by AFA Author

The owner or manager of a building is responsible for ensuring that its fire protection system is always working. But even high-quality fire protection systems will sometimes require repairs or replacement

When problems are detected, corrective action must be taken immediately to protect people and property, and to remain compliant with national, state and local codes. This usually takes the form of maintenance work to repair or replace portions of the system. This maintenance work can be handled in one of two ways:

  • as a service performed on a time and material (T&M) basis to return the system to operation and regulatory compliance
  • as an included part of the Inspection Agreement where normal maintenance and repairs are covered in your Annual Service Charge

Maintenance as a T&M extra Charge

When fire alarm system maintenance is viewed as a T&M charge to replace or repair failed equipment, the building owner/manager may be faced with costs that were not included in the building budget.  As a result, repairs that don’t seem critical when first discovered, can be put off, leading to larger more costly repairs down the line.

This could also result in large charges for replacement parts and labor, particularly if the problem occurs outside of normal business hours.

These unanticipated out of budget costs can reflect poorly on a building manager and are unpleasant surprises which can be avoided.

Maintenance as a fixed price portion of the Test and Inspection Contract

This approach includes a fixed price component for maintenance in the Test and Inspection Contract. This covers charges for replacement parts and labor for the devices in the contract that need replacement due to age or normal wear and tear.

When maintenance is included in the Inspection Agreement, the building owner/manager can include that cost in the annual building budget. Then, when an issue arises with the fire alarm system, it is covered without unplanned expenses.

Inclusion of maintenance in the contract also ensures that the owner/manager has access to AFA’s highly trained technicians who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

AFA offers this option to all its customers.

Here’s what one of our customers says of the option:

"It’s extremely convenient to have parts and labor covered. I know exactly what my budget should be each year, allowing me to control my costs."

- Diane L. Fields, NYC Portfolio Manager - Empire State Realty Trust

Conclusion

When comparing your options for addressing the maintenance costs of a fire protection system, the prudent and cost-effective approach is clearly to include a fixed price maintenance component in the Inspection Contract.

This decision has two major benefits:

  • No unpleasant budget surprises – the maintenance expense is included in your Annual Service Charge and has been factored into the annual building budget
  • Access to AFA’s trained technicians 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

For more information on AFA’s fire protection systems and services and how the inclusion of a fixed price maintenance component in your Inspection Agreement will benefit you, contact AFA today and start saving.