You’ve decided it’s time to build a new home. You have the perfect location picked out, and you’re ready to start the process of designing and constructing your dream home.
But, do you know when to include low voltage contractors, also known as AV and automation professionals, in new home construction planning?
Many people don’t realize that these professionals can help with everything from proper wiring and pre-wiring your home for technology, to installing audio and video systems, lighting control, thermostats, a home security system, and more. In this article, we will discuss when it is appropriate to include AV and home automation professionals in new home construction planning.
AV and Automation Professionals=Low Voltage Contractors
Consider what you’ll need and want in terms of technology and smart devices in your brand new home. Do you want a home theater? A whole-home audio system? Home security cameras? Smart lighting? A smart home control system for everything from the thermostat to the locks on the doors?
Low voltage contractors are the professionals who design, install, and integrate control of these AV and home automation systems. They are a vital part of the new build process if you plan on taking advantage of the conveniences smart home systems can provide.
If you’re not sure what systems you want to automate or integrate, that’s okay. The point is to start thinking about it early on so that you can make sure your home is designed with the necessary wiring and infrastructure to support your future technological needs, whether you have that basement home theater in the budget now, or in a couple of years.
Once you have an idea of the types of systems you might want, it’s time to start talking to AV professionals.
When to Talk to AV and Automation Contractors
If you are in the process of designing a new home, it’s important that your low voltage contractors are brought into the process — before drywall is up. But it’s best if they are brought in during initial phases. There are several points during the new build process at which you should talk to AV and home automation professionals.
The first step is to consult with a low voltage contractor during the pre-design phase. This is when your architect or designer will create the initial designs for your home. At this point, it’s important to discuss your technology needs and wants with the AV professionals, so they can help you plan for wiring and pre-wiring.
When you’re in the initial stages of design, your AV professional can help you choose the right systems for your home and make sure that everything is compatible with each other. They can also provide recommendations on where to place equipment and wiring so that it is hidden from view but still accessible when needed. They can also collaborate with your designer to provide recommendations for in-wall or in-ceiling tech with architectural finishes that can enhance your future design.
Consider the various home technologies and features you can integrate into your design such as:
- Home Theater
- Whole Home Audio
- Security Cameras
- Whole Home Smart Lighting
- Smart Thermostats
- Smart Home Automation Systems
If you wait until the construction phase to start talking to AV pros, it will be more difficult and expensive to make changes to the wiring. You may also end up having to make last minute changes to plans. The more you can think about and plan during initial stages, the better prepared you’ll be later on.
The next step is during the design phase. This is when your architect or designer creates detailed drawings of your home. During this phase, you should review the drawings with your AV professionals to ensure that the technology plans are still in line with your needs and wants.
This is a time to consider how you want your space to look. Moreover, it’s a time to make decisions about things like the placement of your home theater and audio systems. You may also want to start thinking about what type of furniture you’ll need for your home theater or media room.
It’s important to keep in mind that many of these decisions can still be changed during the construction phase. However, it will be more expensive and time-consuming to make changes later on.
You may also want to start thinking about what type of AV equipment you’ll need. Consider everything from projectors, to TVs, speakers, and receivers. Talk to your AV specialists about what brands they recommend and why.
Some of the most frequently recommended home technology brands are:
- Sonance – for home theater audio
- Lutron – for lighting and shading control
- ELAN – for home automation control
- Sony – for home theater equipment
During the design phase, you should also start thinking about how you want to control your home’s technology. Do you want to use a universal remote? A phone or tablet app? A wall mounted touch screen? Voice control?
Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, it’s important to discuss them with your AV professionals and decide which is right for you.
Another key point to consult with AV professionals is during the construction phase. This is when your builder will be working on the actual structure of your home. It’s important to have AV professionals on-site to ensure that all your technology needs are being met.
This is also a time to make any final decisions about your technology set-up. This includes things such as the type of equipment you want and where it should be placed. It’s important to keep in mind that not everything can be changed once construction is complete. So, it’s best to have low voltage plans finalized at this point.
If you’re not sure what you want or need, your AV professional can help you make decisions. They’ll help you work on a solution based on your budget and the layout of your home. With the help of a budget calculator, you can get a ballpark estimate of how much your technology needs will cost.
After your home is built, the final phase of construction is the post-construction phase. This is when all the finishing touches are being put on your home. This is also the time when you’ll be moving in and setting up all your new technology. AV professionals can help with this process by providing installation services such as:
- Connecting your devices to the network
- Configuring your home theater or media room
- Programming your universal home remote control
- Training you in how to use your new technology
- Providing remote and on-site support (if needed) for your new home systems
If you’re not sure how to do something with your new home’s technology, AV professionals can help. They’re experts in their field and they want you to be able to enjoy all the features that your new home has to offer.
Reasons Why You Should Involve AV Pros Early in Your Homebuilding Process
Don’t wait until the last minute to start talking to AV and automation professionals. The sooner you include them in your planning, the easier and more affordable it will be to get the technology you want in your new home.
Working with AV professionals early on can save you time and money in the long run.
Here are a few reasons why:
- You’ll have more control over your technology setup.
- Your AV professional can help you choose equipment that’s right for your needs and budget.
- AV specialists can provide installation services and train you on how to use your new technology.
- To get an educated estimate of how much your technology needs will cost. This allows you to have better control over your total project budget.
- Waiting to integrate your home automation needs into your new home can be costly and time-consuming.
- Waiting until after drywall is installed limits your hardware options
- Allows you to work better with an interior designer. This allows you to create a home that meets your functional needs and esthetic desires.
- If all subcontractors and designers are on the same page from start to finish, the end result is a cohesive and efficient build.
Beyond these points, planning for your current needs, future needs, and even resale needs is essential in homebuilding. Technology changes rapidly, so it’s important that your home can adapt and grow with you. AV experts can help you ensure that your home has the capability to do just that.
Overall, NOT having your AV technicians on board from the start can result in less than ideal technology installations. You don’t need any added stress or last-minute rushes. So, be sure to involve AV professionals in your early home building plans!
AV and automation professionals can help you get the most out of your new home. Start planning with them today!
Homeowners, builders, and designers can benefit from enlisting the services of AV and automation experts early on. Ultimately, if you wait until after the drywall is up, installation and wiring services are going to cost more. Additionally, your hardware choices will be limited.
Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) is your N. Utah AV and home automation partner, in Tremonton and Logan, providing solutions for all your home technology needs. We want to help you get the most out of your technology. AIS offers consultation services to help you plan and design your AV setup. We work with homeowners as well as professional builders and interior designers to build homes with seamless control. Contact us to get started!
Planning a new build? Try our budget calculator.