Sunday 17 December 2017

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I am looking for a company to maintain/service my alarm system can you help me?

We suggest you search the NSI Approved Company Directory for an approved installer in your area of the country. You need to type in your postcode and select the type of service you require.  For example, you might choose “intruder electronic security system installer” if applicable.  Or, if you are seeking an NSI Fire approved installer, you should select “Fire Detection and Prevention…..?” .   We suggest you get at least 3 quotations. This way you can choose from a selection, but remember that the cheapest is not always the best, even though all approved companies are equal in NSI’s eyes.  (Obviously these instructions may need to change with a new website).

How can I check that my installer really is on the NSI list of installers?

The best way is to check is to check the NSI Approved Company Directory or alternatively giving us a call on 01628 637512.

Is it better to have a wired alarm system or a wire-free system?

It might have been the case a few years ago to opt for a wired system, but with new technology, wire-free systems have moved on. Each has its own individual advantages.  The choice is yours.  At NSI, we inspect companies to ensure their work complies with industry standards and so we do not favour different types of systems, only that they comply.

Can I print a list of NSI approved companies in my area?

Yes – put your location in the search box in the top right hand corner of the Home Page for a list of the approved contractors in your area.

Could I see a copy of the industry standards that my security system should comply with?

I am sorry but this will not be possible.  There are a number of British and European technical Standards, and these technical Standards are copyrighted, and in any case the pages are far too numerous to take in at a glance.

Why has my insurer insisted I contract an NSI approved company?

This is because insurers know that NSI rigorously inspects the work of its approved companies against industry Standards, thus lessening risk.

Why should I choose an NSI approved company?

Before we accept a company they must be able to prove that it has been trading successfully and with this in mind, we also examine each applicant company’s accounts.  We also ensure that company personnel, including engineers that may visit your premises, are security vetted.

What is the purpose of the risk assessment that my prospective installer has carried out on my property?

This is carried out to ensure that the design of the alarm system is suitable for your needs, taking into considerations your property, the risks, and your own individual requirements.

What actually is a monitored alarm system?

By this we mean an electronic intruder or fire alarm system that is supported by an Approved remote monitoring or alarm receiving centre (ARC) which provides twenty-four hour monitoring throughout the year.

What is an unmonitored or audible-only system?

This is a security alarm system where only local internal and external sounders are activated.

What is a speech dialler?

A speech dialler on a security alarm system makes possible communication of alarm information to a standard or mobile telephone.  This could be by speech or text.  A speech dialler can be used on a monitored or audible only alarm system and can be used with most modern intruder alarm control panels.

Why has my installer urged me to take up a maintenance agreement?

The maintenance visit shows that your alarm system is functioning properly. Audible alarm systems should be checked once per annum while a system that signals to an approved alarm receiving centre needs to be serviced or maintained twice a year.  An NSI approved installer must provide a 24 hour emergency number for access to a duty engineer.

Obtaining Police Response

In order to obtain police response in the UK, please be aware you need to use the services of a company holding approval as an installer and maintainer of intruder and hold-up alarm systems.

NSI NACOSS Gold and Systems Silver approved companies employ the services of NSI approved ARCs (Alarm Receiving Centres) to provide 24/7 monitoring and alert the relevant police authority when they believe security has been breached at an alarmed premises (domestic or commercial).

NSI approval gives you confidence in the integrity of the alarm system maintenance and 24/7 monitoring process.

Find NSI approved companies in your area via 'Find a Company' and search for 'Intruder Alarm/CCTV/Access Control' to make sure the company you are using holds NSI NACOSS Gold or Systems Silver approval.

I am not sure if I am paying the right price for my system.  How can I check?

You will find out by getting at least three quotations from installers on our list within your geographic area.  Remember that cheapest is not necessarily best.  Each company may have a different idea about the design of your future alarm system. You need to also consider the cost of your maintenance/service visits and if your maintenance/service contract will include an emergency call-out. This might be advantageous to you in your annual budgeting.

What happens if I have a power cut?

All systems have a main back-up battery. This battery ensures the system remains operational during power outages and in modern systems can power the system for at least 12 hours.  When the power is restored, the battery is designed to recharge the system and it should continue to work as normal.

What happens if I make a mistake in setting the alarm?

Today, alarm systems are user-friendly and designed for ease of operation. Your alarm installer will make sure that you receive the correct training in setting and un-setting your system.

I have heard about an NSI Certificate of Compliance.  What exactly is the point of my system receiving an NSI Certificate of Compliance?

This is the Certificate awarded to your intruder system or fire alarm system by your NSI installer.  The NSI Certificate of Compliance will certify that your security or fire alarm system has been installed to the relevant industry standards by an NSI approved installer.

When should I receive my NSI Certificate of Compliance?

You will get this, after you have signed your satisfaction certificate and when you have paid for your system.

What if I have a fault with my system?

Providing your system is kept under a preventative maintenance contract then the NSI approved company will be happy to investigate any faults or false alarms that may arise from your system.

What should I look out for with my maintenance agreement?

As well as the cost, you will need to know the notice you require should you decide to close your maintenance contract.  You should also read the contract to see if it is what you want.  For example, are you clear what is included?  Generally speaking, a service/maintenance contract is purely for the purpose of checking the correct functioning of the alarm system and does not include upgrade of equipment, repair or parts.  So you need to check this out.

Will I own my security system?

Most security alarm systems are bought outright, but there are still companies that offer lease agreements.  You would need to check this out at the time of getting your quotation.

CCTV Systems

What can I expect when looking for a CCTV system?

There are many different cameras each designed for different applications, e.g. black and white, colour, day and night, wide angled, high and medium resolution. To avoid disappointment it is very important at the consultation stage to ensure that you get what you want and that your requirements are clearly specified in your quotation.  Very often you have to pay more than you might think to get good quality images.

Where can cameras be fitted?

Care does need to be taken that privacy is not invaded. Cameras can be fitted internally on brackets or externally in weatherproof housings.

My neighbour is using a hidden camera.  Is this allowed?

You will need to check out Data Protection legislation - visit to see the current legislation requirements

How do I manage the pictures taken on my CCTV on my Digital recorder?

With Digital CCTV technology you don’t have to re-play yards of tape to search for an incident. You can search simply by entering a date and time or pointing to a specific time band on a monitor screen.  Carrying out this exercise should not interrupt the normal recording.