Whether you’re looking to start a completely new audiovisual (AV) project for your home or business or expand your current setup, it’s wise to hire a contractor and an architect early.
You might consider AV project elements an afterthought in the initial design and building process. Indeed, you often don’t install (or ask builders to install) the most important features.
But working with a contractor and an architect early in your AV projects allows you to create a better-integrated space.
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Important Aspects of Contractors and Architects Working Together
A positive working relationship between contractors and architects is key to having a smooth AV project from start to finish. If the two don’t align on the end goal, then project delays, noncompletion and unforeseen costs can result.
Here are some of the top reasons contractors and architects should ally in the beginning stages of your AV project.
Including Contractors in the Design Process
Whether you’re considering a large or small AV project, building from the ground up or pursuing a renovation, an architect, a contractor and you are all part of one team. Each member plays a critical role in the entire process, but it’s especially important to have all voices heard in the earliest design conversations.
Most people think this initial project stage is exclusive to you (the client) and the architect. However, the team must include contractors to determine whether you can meet both the AV project’s needs and your goals.
For example, not all architectural plans account for certain AV equipment, like cabling and other technical materials needed for long-term scalability. Although most new equipment and technologies are compact by design, contractors must consider all angles to determine whether they can incorporate them into the setup.
Contractors can point out any noticeable flaws in a plan to help architects integrate AV systems into the design. When that happens, your space has both acoustic and visual clarity.
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Asking Architects to Work With Contractor Constraints
Unfortunately, hurdles can pop up at any point in an AV project’s timeline. Both you and the architect can manage your expectations based on the contractor’s constraints.
Your budget, material availability and sometimes environmental conditions may require you to revise the original plan. It’s great to have a “high-concept” grand vision that you and the architect are usually responsible for putting forward, but sometimes it’s unrealistic for contractors to complete it.
Contractors don’t usually sweat the small details because they focus on staying within budget and ordering materials for timely delivery. Naturally, the team can’t complete any sort of grand design when building materials and AV equipment aren’t available to work with!
Nonetheless, architects don’t necessarily abandon plans because of contractor constraints. However, they should communicate candidly with contractors to determine what’s realistic — and what’s unrealistic.
Of course, this doesn’t mean architects should drop their design concepts. It simply means that limits exist, and everyone needs communication and compromise for the AV project’s completion. As long as the architect and contractor respectfully communicate back and forth, they should be able to accommodate your requests (within reason).
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Holding Regular On-Site Inspections
An architect’s responsibilities don’t end once the AV design process is complete and they’ve submitted construction plans. Architects should routinely inspect a site’s progress while construction is underway. This ensures construction follows the plans according to the contract’s provisions.
Having weekly meetings is one way to do this. For example, contractors and architects will have the opportunity to discuss any issues that the builders may have run into that week. After all, small issues can turn into much larger ones that cause pricey delays if all parties aren’t on the same page.
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Involving All Parties in the Construction Process
Contractors aren’t there just to compromise and solve problems. They’re also present to inform architects of each stage of the entire construction process.
Architects can familiarize themselves with current issues, risks, buildability and sometimes even commercial viability. They gain insight into the concerns that contractors face during AV project construction, and they can incorporate solutions into upcoming designs.
Your input is especially important, too. If an AV project isn’t turning out how you imagined, those concerns can help both contractors and architects carry out future construction processes that better align with your needs — and other clients’ needs.
Maintaining Accessible Lines of Communication
Typically, you hire an architect first. That’s because you need someone to refine your vision and put together a plan. Next, you hire a contractor to sort through the plan’s pieces and turn your vision into reality.
However, you might interact with the contractor and architect separately because you don’t think of them as an integrated team. But like any strong team, all parties need to stand on a strong foundation.
When you, your contractor and your architect maintain accessible lines of communication, the AV project is much more likely to succeed. A collaborative approach — one you all strengthen through clear communication — is key to avoiding construction delays and other potential conflicts. That communication also improves how the team deals with unforeseen circumstances where someone needs to take quick action.
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Overall Benefits of Working With a Contractor and an Architect Early
Working with a contractor and architect early in your AV project is key to ensuring your satisfaction, keeping employees proactive and improving the AV project’s ultimate success.
As a client, you’re most likely to find satisfaction when you don’t face multiple challenges throughout the AV project.
With that in mind, working with a contractor and an architect early allows you to have a solid plan — a plan that a team has created and revised long before construction starts. Experts can point out any notable flaws beforehand, which saves you steep unforeseen costs and possible building delays.
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Employee productivity increases when you work with a contractor and an architect early in your AV project. The sooner employees know what their tasks are, the sooner they can complete them. This also leaves room for available on-the-job workers to help in other areas.
A well-thought-out AV project plan provides structure for those working on the project. And that leads to better efficiency and greater productivity.
In fact, working with a contractor and an architect early in your AV project helps everyone equally.
Those you hire will benefit from a better understanding of what does and doesn’t work well, and they can apply that knowledge to future projects. Plus, if the team successfully completes your home AV project, you’ll have an easier time carrying out upcoming home projects and installing smart home systems.
That could mean working with the same company on a renovation or even working with a new company in a new location. Either way, you can articulate your thoughts and experiences better.
[Related: A Guide to Buying or Selling a Smart Home]
Contact AV Smart Solutions for Your AV Needs
If you’re ready to enhance your home or business with an AV project, contact AV Smart Solutions today.
Give us a call at (425) 655-5052, or complete our online inquiry form. One of our AV specialists will be in touch!
Featured image via Unsplash