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ULC and You

There seems to be considerable confusion as to the issuance of ULC Certificates, particularly for Fire Alarm monitoring. We will attempt here, to clarify things and to help dealers understand their obligations and rights, as well as those of the monitoring station. Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is a “Standards” organization that performs testing and [...]
ULC and You

There seems to be considerable confusion as to the issuance of ULC Certificates, particularly for Fire Alarm monitoring. We will attempt here, to clarify things and to help dealers understand their obligations and rights, as well as those of the monitoring station.

Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC) is a “Standards” organization that performs testing and establishes guidelines that help insurance companies and “Authorities Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) to determine the relative performance expectations of an alarm system based on its design, the quality of the installation, the capabilities of the installing company, the method and type of signal transmission, the construction and performance protocols of the monitoring station etc.

Dealers must understand. It is NOT your monitoring station that sets the rules. ULC is the sole arbiter as to what can be done, how it must be done, and by whom in order to permit the issuance of an ULC Certificate. Furthermore, only ULC can issue a certificate, and they will do so only after their entire list of criteria has been met.

Large alarm companies that do their own installations and operate their own monitoring stations can, upon meeting ULC’s requirements, have certificates issued in their company’s name. Alarm companies that use the services of a wholesale third-party monitoring company can, upon meeting the requirements, have a “Shared Listing” certificate issued. This Shared Certificate will be issued in the names of both the installing company and the monitoring station.

In short, in order for a certificate to be issued, the following concerns must be addressed and met:

  1.  INSTALLATION: All equipment must be ULC-approved and installed according to ULC specifications
  2. INSTALLATION COMPANY: Must be ULC-listed; must have a maintenance contract in effect with the customer; must have a monitoring contract in effect with the customer and must have a monitoring contract in effect with a ULC-listed monitoring station; must pay an annual fee to ULC to maintain their listing and undergo an annual inspection by ULC of certificated systems; must pay an additional fee for each certificate issued.
  3. SIGNAL TRANSMISSION: All signals must be sent using ULC-listed equipment and protocols. The installation of all signal transmission equipment must be according to ULC specifications.
  4. MONITORING STATION: Must be ULC-listed. In order for this to happen, the station must meet certain design and construction criteria; must agree to and use established ULC protocols in handling of data and alarm signals; must have passed a rigorous initial inspection by ULC engineers; must maintain certain records as required by ULC; must undergo annual inspections and examinations by ULC; must pay an annual fee to ULC for its listing and to cover the costs associated with the annual inspection; must pay an additional fee for each certificate that is issued. Of course there must also be a satisfactory contract in place between the monitoring station and the installation company.
The procedure for an alarm installation company to obtain an ULC listing involves the completion of at least three projects according to ULC standards and specifications, then applying to ULC. Upon receipt of your application ULC will contact you and will provide a quotation for the cost of obtaining the listing. This quotation will include any travel, meal and accommodation costs associated with their inspectors visit (if applicable). Upon your acceptance of their quotation, arrangements will be made for an inspector to attend at each of the three initial projects. The visit to each project will entail an examination of the installation to ensure it is done to ULC standards and specifications, and a full test of all potential signals to the monitoring station. Reports will also be requested from the monitoring station.

As you can see, the decision to become an ULC-listed installation company is not to be taken lightly. There are costs involved, both initially and ongoing. Those costs however, can and should be recovered from your subscribers in the form of increased monthly monitoring fees that reflect the cost of providing ULC service.

This article is intended as a simple synopsis of what is required and is not to be interpreted as gospel. To learn more about the procedures and techniques required to become listed, please visit ULC’s website at www.canada.ul.com

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Written by CSI Magazine

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