We were coming up on a home automation installation date recently and the homeowner asked how long we would need in the house. They were moving into the new home and trying to coordinate with the movers. The husband had been the primary contact up until that point and had made most of the arrangements. But now the wife was taking over scheduling. And her question was certainly a fair one since she hadn’t been actively involved in the project.
It’s a common question at the start of any project. How much time does it take? Not only the physical installation of equipment, but what are all the time-related expenses inside of a quotation. So what is the client getting for the money? There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes in creating a custom tailored solution that the end-user isn’t aware of. And they shouldn’t be. After all, they’re hiring a professional for their knowledge, experience and ability to deliver a detailed technological solution they can simply enjoy.
So where does the time go? A typical new home project might include the following:
- Introductory Meeting and Needs Analysis
- Telephone Calls and Email Exchanges
- Outlining Requirements
- Generating Budgetary Estimates, Formal Quotations and Invoices
- Client Approval Meetings
- Creating Structured Wiring Plans and Floorplan Work
- System Design, Programming and User Customization
- Computer-Generated Renderings
- Hardware Research and Analysis
- Formal Presentation Meetings and Client Refinements
- Material Lists
- Equipment Purchasing
- Shipping-Receiving and Storage
- Project Management and Change-Orders
- Knowledge Resource to Other Trades on Project
- Integrating of Owner Furnished Equipment
- Low-Voltage Construction Wiring
- Coordination with High Voltage Wiring
- Future-Proofing Infrastructure for Wiring Needs
- Wire Management, Testing and Labeling
- Wall Trim and Patch Panels
- Speaker Installation
- Coordinating Placement of Wall-Mounted TVs to Meet Wiring and Design Requirements
- Rack Construction
- Networking and WiFi Access Points
- Controls (In-Wall, On-Wall, Remotes, Apps)
- Integration of HVAC, Pool, Security, Shades, etc.
- Coordination with Service Providers (Cable TV, Satellite, Internet Service, etc.)
- Review System Features and Functions with Family
- Ongoing Support and Maintenance
- Technology Upgrades
All of this work is spread out over months. A larger custom home may very well take 1-2 years to complete. The custom home builder will provide a precise timeline and charts for the entire construction project.
The earlier you can involve an AV company in designing a comprehensive AV plan, the better. Many builders offer “multi-media wiring packages” as an add-on to the construction project. Too often we’ve experienced these sort of packages employ outdated wiring practices: Not enough wiring; wiring between incorrect locations; wrong types of wire; missing conduits; etc. Having a detailed structured wiring plan to cover today’s needs, and any possible future needs will save you time, money and heartache in the future.
A custom home construction project will go through a number of steps beginning with site work, setting the foundation, rough carpentry framing, etc. After the HVAC, plumbing and electric have completed their rough-ins, AV wiring is done. Construction continues with exterior work, insulation, drywall, floors, etc. And then when construction is nearing completion AV will return to trim-out wall jacks and speakers. Once the project reaches the point where the interior is free and clear of dirt and dust, all the heavy rack equipment and televisions are brought in.
Our clients can sit back and enjoy great audio and video entertainment when they move in without any worries. And we don’t stop there – we continue to maintain and keep your system up to date with the latest enhancements and feature sets that technology has to offer.
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