Retrofits are in for some fire installers
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.--Gene Chamberlain, vice president and co-owner of fire installation company Illinois Time Recorder Company, said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doing more retrofits than ever these days. This is a trend at least one manufacturer has noticed in the last year, according to Beth Welch, public relations manager for HoneywellÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Fire Systems.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think people in general are looking to save money in any way that they can, particularly for the past year or so,Ã¢â‚¬Â Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain is a Gamewell-FCI and Fire-Lite dealer. His business does time equipment, security, CCTV, access control and fire. About 80 percent of his business is with school districts, but he also does work in high-rise buildings in Chicago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People are looking for other options besides a wholesale replacement Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ maybe theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re putting in a new control panel and adapting the existing devices to it so they have the framework for a new system that they can build piecemeal,Ã¢â‚¬Â Chamberlain said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re seeing quite a lot of that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In Lake Forrest, Calif., Kelly Warbis of KOR Fire & Security, a Gamewell-FCI dealer, is seeing a similar wave of retrofits. Warbis does about $1.6 million a year in business, 90 percent of which is fire, though he does some CCTV, access control and intrusion work as well.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People are doing TI [tenant improvements] instead of buying a new facility,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.