Alarm system certificate services
Certification of alarm service provides a confidence connection between users, owners, service providers and authorities having jurisdiction. Standards can connect expectations, but a systematic Certification program provides assurance. For more than 90 years, UL has worked with the alarm industry, user groups and AHJs to invent today's model for alarm service Certification. UL Certification of your alarm services delivers the highest level of confidence available in today's market.
Alarm companies who are Listed -- and those wishing to learn how to become Listed - can learn here how the Listing process works and what to expect from UL during both the Listing process and the annual audit process. This site includes the documents needed to prepare for inspection and the forms needed to issue certificates.
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What does "Listed" mean?
UL's product safety certification programs are well known by many people. Under these programs, a company submits representative samples of a product. When UL finds that the samples comply with the applicable requirements, the manufacturer is authorized to use the UL Listing Mark on any products that continue to comply with requirements. Our follow-up inspection service is then initiated to countercheck actual, onsite production for compliances. The Listee's name (often, but not always, the manufacturer) is also added to UL's product directories.
Manufacturers are not obligated to use the UL Listing Mark on all products. Products that do not bear a UL Mark are not required by UL to comply with UL's requirements. Just because a product model number is listed under a company name in a directory does not imply that a specific device complies with UL's requirements. Only those products that bear a UL Listing Mark are considered UL Listed.
What does "Listed alarm service company" mean?
"Listed alarm service company" is a shorthand way of saying that a company is authorized to use the UL Listing Mark on alarm services that are in compliance with UL's requirements. For alarm systems, the UL Mark is a certificate.
What does "Listed central station" mean?
A "Listed central station" is an alarm monitoring facility that has demonstrated the ability to provide Standards-complying service. For monitoring stations, UL requirements cover building structure, receiving and monitoring equipment, and staffing issues in addition to installation and ongoing service. To be able to provide Standards-complying service, the building, equipment and staffing requirements have to be met at all times. However, the handling of specific signals from specific alarm systems is only audited by UL if a certificate is in effect for that alarm system.
What does "Certificated alarm system" mean?
A "certificated alarm system" is one where the certificate-issuing alarm company declares that Standards-complying alarm service is provided. It is equivalent to a manufacturer whose name appears in a UL product directory choosing to place a UL Mark on a specific production product. A certificated alarm system is subject to random audit by UL alarm system auditors to countercheck compliance, just as a product with a UL Mark is subject to random audit.
Do all alarms installed by a Listed company or monitored by a Listed central station comply with UL requirements?
UL can only audit alarm systems for which certificates have been issued. So, we cannot answer this question with a definable level of certainty. Many non-certificated systems may comply with requirements, while many do not.
The vast majority of alarm systems in the U.S. are not certificated. Listed alarm companies are not required by UL to issue certificates for any of the systems they install. Typically, a certificate is issued only when a customer or authority having jurisdiction requests one.
This means that the majority of alarm systems are designed and installed with a goal in mind, but not necessarily a vision commonly held by all parties. A system that has a certificate complies with published, nationally recognized standards and codes that provide a baseline common understanding of the system and service provided.
Does a certificated alarm system cost more?
While UL cannot comment on pricing of alarm service, we often hear the statement that certification increases costs. Many times, it is difficult to compare alarm systems and service because common elements may not be provided in the systems being considered. Elements that are generally considered minimum ingredients for reliable alarm service include:
- Equipment Listed for the application
- Installation made in accordance with codes and standards
- Trained alarm technicians installing the system
- Repair service by trained alarm technicians
- A preventative maintenance program by trained alarm technicians
If these elements are in place in two competing systems, the cost of a certificated alarm system should be competitive with a similar non-certificated system. Systems and service features being equal for any two competing alarm packages, the charge UL makes to an alarm company per certificate is between $33-$80 per year. Often, jurisdiction authorities can influence total cost of ownership through choices of codes, standards, editions and local deviations.
Are the products used on a UL Certificated system required to bear the UL Mark?
Yes,the components of a system covered by a UL Certificate which provide the system's Life Safety functions are mission critical. In order to be used in a UL Certificated system, the components must have their certification based on data from a source that meets UL's requirements for acceptance. At this time UL does not have a formal arrangement in place with any other testing agencies that would provide UL with an assurance that their test methodology, data generation and recording principles are on par with UL's. Therefore, these products must bear the appropriate UL Mark.
You may read the official position statement on this topic.