The Name Has Changed to Educate the Integrators

What’s this? Who is the integrated systems contractor? The second answer is easy: It’s you! The first question will take a bit longer to answer. Let us explain.

Since 2003, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR has published the SECURITY+LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS special report. As the opportunities have grown for electrical contractors in building design, specification, and installation and maintenance of optimized and integrated low-voltage building control systems, the supplement has shifted to encompass a broader range of topics, including commissioning and service of electronic security, fire/life safety, communications and other low-voltage systems.

Therefore, starting with this issue, SECURITY+LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS has become INTEGRATED SYSTEMS CONTRACTOR. Through this evolution, we continue to keep pace with the market. We will serve you new information and help you transition from the traditional electrical contractor model into one we call an “integrated systems contractor.”

Why did we decide to do this? Well, you kinda told us to. According to BPA audits and market research studies that queried you:

• More than 85 percent of you are actively involved in low-voltage systems.

• In fact, almost all (96 percent) of the electrical contractors queried performed some type of low-voltage work in 2009.

What are the basics of this shift? Two main causes are: (1) the building owner seeks single-source responsibility to handle every building system, and (2) technology has evolved, enabling building systems and controls to be totally integrated and intercommunicative, setting up a scenario where the overall building becomes a system (rather than the scenario that existed in the past where each system operated in a silo format).

When we say “integrated systems,” exactly what are we talking about? And to what extent are you and your competitors involved? Well, again, that’s easy. Take a look at these key findings from the 2010 Profile of the Electrical Contractor research study and a June 2011 BPA Audit:

• Traditional Power (54 percent)

• Voice-Data/Fiber Optics/Premises Wiring (56 percent)

• Power Quality Systems (55.8 percent)

• Building Automation Systems (55.1 percent, according to BPA)

• Low-Voltage Lighting (controls and/or ballasts) (90 percent) • Communications Systems/Connectivity (62 percent)

• Building Automation (74 percent) • Systems Integration or Data or Telecom Centers (41 percent) • Fire and Life Safety and Security Systems (69.6 percent, according to BPA).

All of this translates into a growing market for an electrical contractor who can do it all, and you are the only ones who can.

Altogether, you are involved in much more than just security and life safety systems work these days. Translation: The former name, SECURITY+LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS, didn’t adequately represent the current state of the market.


About the Author

Andrea Klee

Andrea Klee is the publisher of Electrical Contractor magazine. Reach her at .

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