2003 Residential Installation of the Year: Atronic’s Amenities Help Sell New Town Homes

Located in an area where a booming population is creating demand for new homes has enabled Atronic Alarms Inc. of Overland Park, Kan., to establish solid relationships with different homebuilders. In the city of Olathe in Johnson County, Kan., the security company worked with Robben Development Co., a longtime partner, to offer a structured wiring package in a 180-unit town house community.

As a result, Atronic is beginning to receive additional work through some of the homebuyers, which is what a partnership such as this one is all about. The partnership also won the company Security Sales & Integration’s Sales and Marketing Awards’ (SAMMYs) grand prize of Integrated Residential Installation of the Year for 2003.

The company was honored at SSI‘s 8th annual SAMMY awards ceremony, held March 25 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The SAMMYs now include these grand prizes, previously a separate awards contest when first launched in 2002.

As with all the entrants, the company was judged according to innovation; systems design; integration of at least three electronic systems; seamlessness of installation; uniqueness of application; and end-user satisfaction.

Atronic Develops 5 Floor Plans to Be Mass-Produced

Atronic began working on the homes at The Retreat of Foxfield in September 2001. It took the security company six months with a two-man crew to complete the first phase of the project. The final phase lasted another two months.

Erickson says the company submitted proposals on the type of security package it would install based on what the developer had in mind. “The developer wanted a ‘complete’ wire solution that included a simple yet expandable security system,” he says. “It was agreed we would wire for the extras and let the homebuyer choose since there would be such a variation of what they might want.”

Erickson says five plans were used. One plan was marked up with locations of where data and cable jacks should go in a home, and four others laid out the security, home automation and camera locations in the floor plans. Once at the site, Erickson and his lead installer, Tony Queral, made minor alterations. “We kept mass-producing those five master plans,” Erickson says. “So we were able to stay within some similarities with those plans.”

Good, Better and Best Systems Can All Be Upgraded

Queral says it didn’t take long for him and another installer to get familiarized with each home layout. “It took about two to three hours to home wire one unit,” Queral says, but adds that each wiring job was not the same.

The town house community consists of a total of 54 units in 18 buildings. Queral says Erickson let him do most of the work on his own after completing the first six units. “He came around every once in a while, but his involvement was there.”

Homes with the “good” or standard security system consisted of an OnQ 42-inch enclosure, a Radionics control panel, one voice siren, one interior siren, and one OnQ telco interface, a lunchbox with a phone punch down.

The “better” system had an alphanumeric keypad, motion detection and glassbreak detection, and some fire protection such as smoke and/or heat detectors. The system also came with an additional keypad for a bedroom, and a phone back-up feature. The “best” system was an added HMS system by Home Automation Inc. (HAI), an Omni LT universal keypad and thermostat and lighting control. A bullet camera and door intercom system was installed by the front door.

Erickson says Atronic selected all the product lines it used in the project. “We chose that equipment because we’re familiar with the products. End users also recognize the products and the quality of their performance,” he says. But what good is the quality of the product without a quality installation?

Wire Runs Are in Every Bedroom, Kitchen and Entertainment Area

The installations weren’t difficult for Atronic’s technicians. The challenge was the number of installations they had to complete to meet the developer’s deadlines.

For the home automation capabilities, Atronic homeran two runs of Cat-5e and RG-6 coax to each unit’s bedroom, entertainment area and kitchen. They also ran these wires to the outside of each home in case a future homeowner wanted to add an intercom system and a camera at the front door. For the fire protection portion, the company only wired for photoelectric smoke detectors on each floor, and for carbon-monoxide detectors and heat sensors in the garages.

Depending on the security, the cost of each system ranges from $2,500 to $6,000. “With the design of the system and the prewiring, the systems can be as simple or as elaborate as the end user wants,” Erickson says.

The floor plans are one-and-a-half and two-story designs with two and three bedrooms and two-and-a-half to three bathrooms. The town homes run anywhere from $170,000 to $220,000.

Current Homeowners Are Already Inquiring About Upgrades

Few people have moved into the new town homes – a first of their kind in the Kansas City area, says Erickson – so there hasn’t been crime reported, according to Erickson. People who have moved in – considered unconventional buyers, like young up-and-coming professionals or widowers – are adding some extras to their security system. They are also inquiring about adding monitoring services. However, the future upgrade potential for these systems is still yet to be seen.

From this partnership, Erickson says the builder, developer, marketer and homebuyer were satisfied with the combination of security and structured wiring in one system. Atronic plans to sell this concept to other builders as a standard package offering.

Kudos to Commercial, Residential Installation Finalists

Johnson Controls of Hillside, Ill., and Atronic Alarms Inc. of Overland Park, Kan., faced some stiff competition from other entrants. Take the ones done by OneSource Building Technologies of Houston and AVD Media of Chewelah, Wash., which were finalists in Security Sales & Integration‘s Sales and Marketing (SAMMYs) Integrated Commercial and Residential Installation of the Year categories for 2003.

OneSource Building Technologies installed a scalable software-based security system at the headquarters of a petroleum company based in Texas that included access control; more than 100 emergency call stations, almost 200 matrix switchers, and much more.

A retired couple’s dream to have the ultimate in-home automation at their new residence enabled AVD Media to install a system that includes automatic lighting control and home theater. Intrusion detection, security cameras and biometric thumbprint readers are also part of the package. SSI salutes both companies for their integration work.

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