JUNE 25, 2015
  The way I have approached this is to provide a quote for full protection and then state in the quote that although the system was not required and you can request or install a lesser amount of devices, it is highly possible that more property damage will occur with the lesser degree of protection. This is a decision the customer must make.  
    On the request for the proof of security installation that the insurance companies want on residential installations, I always state that the system my company installed might be considered a minimum level of protection that is to be tested and maintained by the customer as stated in the system users manual. My local AHJ's in Cincinnati, Ohio have always said that something is better than nothing, but, it must be maintained as if it were required. That means that if it is installed in a business it needs to be tested every year.
    You should have known better.  That may be what you hear from the AHJ, the licensing agency, the plaintiff's lawyer or the judge.  When might you hear that?  After the kind of loss that evokes enough emotion and sympathy so that everyone is looking for someone to pay.  
    Fire loss can result in unimaginable personal injury and property loss.  
    Fire alarms, unlike intrusion or quality of life items [like remote access items unrelated to actual security protection] are typically regulated by law; certainly commercial fire is regulated.  Often you will find that regulated fire comes in two forms.  One, the structure is regulated and requires an approved fire alarm.  Two, the structure does not require an approved fire alarm, but if you decide to install a fire alarm then it must meet all requirements as if the structure did require a fire alarm.  No middle ground, typically.  If Ohio AHJ's have a better than nothing policy then I suggest you get it in writing.  
    The question you really should be asking yourself is whether the cost cutting non compliant fire alarm is worth the risk, the risk to your license and your finances if there is a loss.  No one likes to turn away business, but if you're in business long enough you will hopefully learn that you can have all the business you want if you're willing to work for free or cheap.  You can't make money that way.  
    The Standard Form Agreements do deal with non compliant fire alarm systems, both residential and commercial.  Why?  Because despite advice I know you're going to install those systems.  We do the best we can to protect you, contractually, from liability.  However, it's not a good business practice to install systems that are not compliant or otherwise deficient and inferior.  The subscribers who demand such systems are the ones with short memories and first to come after you when they have a loss.