Fairly often we get asked to design a series of A/V systems for a home remodel or new build. This design can cover phone, data, home theater, distributed audio/video, lighting, heating and cooling, intercom, surveillance and many other areas. In most construction projects, homeowners tend to focus primarily on cost—hiring whomever can take care of these needs the cheapest. Too often though, these homeowners don’t realize the mistake they have made until it’s too late. Our latest project is an unfortunate example worth sharing…
We recently bid on a whole-house A/V wiring project in Beverly Hills proper. The project involved 11 TV locations, data, phone and surveillance throughout and a dedicated Media Room with a Front Projector. The customer was unsure of how everything would operate or be used when it was finished, they only knew of the room locations they wanted to have TVs in. They also specified they were loyal DirecTV customers and were interested in using Netflix on Demand at all locations. Based on customer feedback, we designed a system for them that would optimize their audio, allow for multiple configurations of their video, provide flexibility for their phone and data locations and optimize the surveillance of their home. We also of course planned for their DirecTV and Netflix requests. For installing the bulk-wire of all systems and their respective wall plates, we bid $6,000. A competing company submitted a bid of $4,900 and ultimately was awarded the project.
This other contractor ran one coax connection directly to each of the TVs, ensuring that they will only be able to view basic cable TV or HD off-air programming—even though they said they are DirecTV customers. The other contractor did not run network cabling to the TVs either, so no Netflix on demand would be possible. The contractor didn’t realize he had to run service cabling for cable and phone from the outside of the house, so there is no way to get cable and phone service inside the home without busting open the walls again. Finally, the contractor installed all the wiring in the house through the same holes as all the electrical wire in the home. Not only does this violate several National Electrical Codes, it will ensure that plenty of EMI and RF interference from the electrical lines will bleed on to the Data and TV cabling. This will likely result in unfixable sharp wavy lines on all TVs, sluggish data performance regardless of equipment used, and potential electrical hazards as this low voltage cabling is not adequately grounded to the electrical panel and could therefore provide a lethal shock.
Luckily the building inspector caught this error in this case and told the contractor he must pull out all the wiring and redo the job. The subcontractor low-balled his bid, so he had no room for error in his work. This particular contractor has not been heard from for five weeks now, the homeowner has already paid him in full, and construction is at a standstill until this issue gets resolved. Upon further investigation from homeowner, he discovered the contractor was unlicensed.
What can you learn from this as a homeowner? Very simply, you get what you pay for when hiring an Audio/Video Integration Company. At Technospeak, we do not pride ourselves on being the cheapest. We are cost efficient, but not at the cost of sacrificing customer requirements, not adhering to building and electrical codes or compromising on quality. Our pride comes from being the best at what we do and standing behind our work.
At Technospeak, we take the “Techy” out of Technology.