Top builder picks GE Interlogix for security

Saturday, November 1, 2003

HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. - GE Interlogix landed one of the biggest catches in the homebuilding market last month, announcing that it secured a contract to become the exclusive provider of security equipment for Toll Brothers Inc., one of the country’s largest luxury homebuilders.

The agreement between GE Interlogix and Toll Brothers will center around Westminster Security, the homebuilders’ wholly owned security subsidiary, and will mean that GE Interlogix’s products exclusively will be installed into each new Toll Brothers home that opts for a home security system. That number is usually about 80 percent of all homes the company builds, said Felicia Ratka, director of operations for Westminster.

“At this point, every buyer that is purchasing a home is offered the Westminster package,” Ratka said.

For its fiscal 2002 year, which ended Oct. 31, 2002, Toll Brothers closed on 4,430 homes, and the company expects the number for fiscal 2003 to be “substantially higher,” according to Kira McCarron, Toll Brother’s vice president of marketing.

While forging equipment contracts with builders is not a new avenue for GE Interlogix, most of the company’s existing deals with builders are only in certain markets and typically vary by division, said Donald Natale, director of sales and director of the company’s dealer group, North. Toll was unique in that it had its own security subsidiary to make a blanket decision, he said.

The deal is also part of a larger arrangement with GE Industrial Systems, of which GE Interlogix is a part, where the industrial systems division will offer other products and services to builders. Toll Brothers also uses many GE home appliances and will continue to leverage the GE name, Natale said.

“This is really the first time (GE has forged an exclusive) with security, but we have many initiatives to do the same things with builders, to get our products [spec’d] out, in this case exclusively,” Natale said. “We want to bring that to dealers and turn over those sales.”

The security manufacturer’s Concord Express system will now be standard issue in Toll Brothers homes, while the company’s Smart ConnectionCenter will serve as the preferred structured wiring product. Ratka said the company had most frequently written Ademco products into its specifications, but there was no existing contract between those two companies. Toll Brothers and GE had been in discussions for the past year to develop the security contract.

While Westminster provides monitoring services to about 7,500 Toll homes, with another 1,500 accounts waiting to be brought online, the security company relies on a network of 50 installation companies in its 20-state area to install the equipment.

“Some are GE dealers and with the agreement with our existing subcontractors, (GE) will train them and make sure they are familiar with the product,” Ratka said.