ABEL knee deep in Cincy project

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Monday, October 1, 2007

CINCINNATI--ABEL Building Systems in August completed the installation of a fire system at the Hayes Elementary School in Cincinnati, part of a massive $1 billion project that will substantially rehab or build new a total of 51 public schools here.
"The project has been ongoing since 2002, but I've been involved since 2005," ABEL co-owner Eric Ruffin said. An engineer by training, Ruffin worked for a major building systems corporation for several years before starting his own business seven years ago. ABEL Building Systems has five employees and does only commercial work. Fire makes up "about 45 percent of the business and then security makes up the balance," he said. ABEL's footprint extends in a 120-mile radius, encompassing parts of Kentucky and Indiana.
This school was Ruffin's second in the project. He expected to finish a third school by the end of August. Each of the schools in the project is treated as a separate project. "Every item in each school is surveyed [and put out to bid] from the grounds to the fire system to the roof," Ruffin explained. The bidding cycle takes some time; in all, Ruffin expects to complete seven or eight schools by the end of the year.
Ruffin had a history of working with the school system even before getting involved with this project. In fact, ABEL holds the maintenance and monitoring contracts for all of the existing public schools. When he decided to bid on a group of schools in the project, he considered several manufacturers' products and ultimately decided on Silent Knight. One of the reasons Ruffin likes the system is the ease of programming. "I can dial into the system and commission it from my office," he said. ABEL installed Silent Knight's Farenhyt IFP-1000 intelligent analog/addressable panel with a 5495 addressable power supply. The technology enhances reliability, pinpoints problem areas and reduces false alarms. It supports up to 792 System Sensor IDP detectors and 792 IDP modules or 1016 Hochiki devices.
In these school projects, Ruffin was responsible for designing the system and then testing and configuring it. The actual installation is done by electrical contractors chosen by the school system. This arrangement is unique to this particular project. "We are a full-service company and we do projects other ways for other clients," he said. "We can do everything from the conceptual plan, to the design, the actual installation and checking and testing."
Ruffin will provide monitoring and service for these schools.
He noted, however, that the Silent Knight system is not proprietary, so these services could be performed by a different contractor in the future.