Major security product manufacturers explored the electrical contractor’s growing role in integrated building systems (IBS) during Security+Life Safety Systems magazine’s first panel discussion at the 2006 International Security Conference & Exposition (ISC East) Oct. 23 in New York. Leaders from Bosch Security Systems Inc., Honeywell Power Products (HPP) and Extreme CCTV Inc. discussed the “paradigm shift” as more electrical contractors enter IBS, driven by the increasing demand for a clean, uninterruptible power supply with communication—especially with increasingly complex systems.

“When you talk about IBS, you can’t talk about the parts and pieces—that’s the whole concept—it’s a holistic approach to building,” said Leon Chlimper, vice president, systems, Bosch Security Systems Inc.

With 46 percent of electrical contractors now specifying, designing and installing security and life safety systems, the debut session raised key issues among the attending security integrators on how they can effectively work together and what was the need for education.

“We’re seeing the electrical contractor more and more becoming that one-stop solution,” said David Pieklowski, regional business development manager, Extreme CCTV Inc. “The electrical contractor is now becoming a spec writer. So how do you become a good spec writer? The difference is knowledge.”

Security+Life Safety Systems Publisher John Maisel said a recent research study conducted by the magazine shows that about 80 percent of all electrical contractors surveyed are involved in design/build, making up about 43 percent of their gross revenue.

“The introduction of the IBS contractor is really being driven by the increasing demand for total integration of traditional electrical power with low-voltage communication systems,” said Maisel, who is also publisher of Electrical Contractor magazine.

Honeywell Power Products General Manager Gene Pecora said that two “megatrends” in power are tying systems together and using video.

“There is small-C convergence when you see fire systems, access control systems and software tied together but still fully functional, and big-C convergence tying in building controls, energy and fire controls on the same system,” said Pecora, whose background is in the fire industry. “Seventy percent of my R&D is in power over Ethernet,” he added. “I’ve seen a lot of this integration in the fire category. It’s highly controlled by code, which brings some standardization and functionality.”

“More owners are suggesting they’d prefer not to have five or six subcontractors when they can narrow down the number,” said Maisel. “What has happened with electrical contractors and IBS is that the demand for single-source responsibility has really caused a growing number of electrical contractors to expand their sphere of activity to include integration, maintenance and installation.”

Security+Life Safety Systems was the only attending trade publication to offer an educational session at ISC East.     EC