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Acting as GC for other fire related trades not good idea 
March 12, 2022
Comment on Acting as GC for other fire related trades from article on February 26, 2022
            The article on February 26, 2022 hit home.  One of our fire alarm customers asked us to hire a sprinkler contractor to do their sprinkler inspections so that they don’t have to go out and set up an additional vendor in their system and they could just put it through our existing contract.   We would be just standing in the middle.  I was concerned that my insurance would not defend us for the sprinkler work.  So in this case the customer was asking us to just allow the billing for the sprinkler work to go through our billing for the fire alarm services.
            I reviewed our E&O insurance policy with Hartford and it specifically excludes sprinkler work whether done by me or done by others on my behalf.  I discussed this our insurance broker Alice Cornett Giacalone, Senior Vice President, Central Insurance Agency, (800) 917-2542 [listed on The Alarm Exchange]  some time ago I had a customer looking for us to hire the sprinkler contractor. Alice confirmed the exclusion and confirmed that our insurance would not cover us if there was a loss. She said the only thing that could be done is to be properly named as additional insured on a primary and non-contributory basis by the sprinkler contractor and make sure that they not only name us but the client as well on their insurance policy and even then she still recommended purchasing a separate sprinkler coverage policy just in case there was an issue with the sub-contractor's policy. Unfortunately the cost for that separate policy was so high it did not makes sense to stand in the middle even with a significant markup from the sub on the work. The potential exposure to stand in the middle without the insurance was just too problematic given the subcontractor had only had a $1 million limit insurance. 
Name withheld
            This confirms what I suspected, that your alarm E&O coverage will not cover trades that you are not licensed for, such as fire protection services. You should check with your insurance broker to find out the coverage in your policy, and if they don't know, call Alice, because she does know.
            As far as getting in the middle of your fire alarm customer and a fire protection company, whether selected by the customer or by you, carries too much risk to even consider the proposition.  Getting named as an additional insured on the fire protection company's policy isn't going to provide much comfort, and in fact you'd be kidding yourself if you think the insurance coverage is sufficient to cover the fire loss.  Are you going to do an appraisal on the building and its contents?  I didn't think so. 
            The Fire All in One is for commercial fire alarms.  The Fire Protection All in One is for fire protection / suppression. 
            Besides the liability risk, why get involved between the relationship between your customer and the fire protection company.  Who are you doing a favor for, the customer or the fire protection company?  Whoever, it's likely to come back to haunt you, if for no other reason, no good deed goes unpunished.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301