Because we are living through the reno and already have tenants, we have had to do some things out of order of the way they are usually done. Case in point is the intercom/buzzer system. When it was just T and I living in the building the “scream and scramble” method of answering the door worked. Not so -when there are 4 other people living amoungst us. Our tenants were missing package deliveries and friend meet ups (the doorbell system that had been in the building was the home depot variety, had to be installed a couple of decades ago and didn’t always work).
The whole thing came to a head when we came home one night to find a rope hanging down from the front side of the house from the our 4th floor tenant’s apartment. We didn’t know what to make of it. Did they have to haul an item up the side of the building? Were they training for a mount Everest climb? When we inquired, they admitted it was their attempt at a Macguyver like doorbell (they tied a rope to a spoon and put the spoon in a pot so when a friend arrived they could yank on the rope which would then make a noise to signal they were down stairs). It was at that point that we knew we had to take action–and we did –by following up on a rec made in the Brownstoner forum and hired Antonio — locksmith and intercom installer extrordinaire. Although scheduling was a bit of a pain, Antonio was reliable and just a generally nice guy. He showed up when he said he was going to, called when he was going to be late or if he had to reschedule. He even made a conscious effort not to put too many holes in our walls. We also think his price for the work was fair. Let me know if you need his info or just search the forum.
The tenant apartments had audio intercom and buzzer systems installed–but we had him run a video wire in the event we ever wanted to upgrade. In our duplex we had video units installed. We went with the Aiphone mainly because they were considerably less expensive than their competitors. They work fine and the video is surprisingly sharp.
That said, I wish the interior units were a bit sleeker and not white plastic but they are no more cumbersome then the alarm control pad and totally do the trick.