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A client needing a PSIM sets out a statement of their requirements and appoints an installer. They then effectively hand over the most important part of their project – researching and specifying the contractors, manufacturers and suppliers – lock, stock and barrel – to their installer.
This is, according to Stephen Smith, Sales and Marketing Director at ISM, a travesty. At the risk of courting controversy he believes that many installers are simply not up to the job handed to them. “There are good installers that will choose exemplary partners with an excellent track record,” he says. “But we know all too well from experience that some installers will specify the lowest cost suppliers, lacking a track record and a good reputation. This ‘bottom feeder’ sourcing enables the installer to win the project by pitching at the lowest price. When the project goes live the installer will find ‘loopholes’ that enable them to keep on adding to their original estimate. A poor installer spells a poor installation. For example front end functionality can change because protocol is not available. Third party equipment with a poor interface causes major problems. There cannot be a single point of failure where one element can potentially sabotage the entire system.”
Smith asserts that clients must take control of their PSIM project from the outset.

He offers the following tips.

1. If you don’t have the right experience, appoint a consultant experienced in specifying PSIM projects.  Speak to current clients. Check their credentials, qualifications and skill sets.  Research them online including LinkedIn.

2. Use the resources and expertise available on the PSIM user group on LinkedIn (address). Ask questions and check out individual and business profiles of user group members.

3. Use the web to research potential suppliers. Ask for client references and a pricing indication.

4. Share information with all parties at the pre-project stage to ensure your requests are feasible and can be accommodated in the project.  If a client for example states they want a specific DVR this can be explored in the early stages to ensure it has the functionality required. By sharing information the risk of failure of any aspect of the project is significantly reduced.

5. Ensure that once the project has been given the green light that all parties sit around a table – third party manufacturers, PSIM developers, installers and client. It’s so easy when a project goes wrong for the installer to blame say the PSIM developer when the fault may lie elsewhere. A project may stall because no one is taking responsibility. This is less likely to happen if all parties have met, are working together for a common goal and communicating regularly with one another.

6. Agree on project delivery dates but ensure these are flexible and can be moved if for example completion of the project is contingent on other projects and their completion dates. For example if a PSIM is being installed in a new building and the build completion date is delayed, the PSIM project must be delayed too. Installing a PSIM in a building still under construction is to be avoided at all costs– plaster dust, condensation, noise vibration and building security are all major hazards that can sabotage the installation. An installer might not take this view if they have other projects pending and could force the project through whereas the client will make the right decision.

“We must challenge clients and installers,” says Smith, “and take the responsibility for specifying and managing the project away from installers. Clients should take control of their project and initiate communication and collaboration between all parties at the earliest stage if they want their PSIM to be installed on time and to budget and for it to meet their present and future requirements.”

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