Building? Remodeling?  Remember to plan for critical systems!

Building? Remodeling? Remember to plan for critical systems!


I've never blogged, nor thought that I might.  


My hope is that it may help you, whether we have or will ever do business together. or not!  


Building and remodel projects can be extremely complicated and overwhelming.  Whether you're a homeowner, a business owner, or a stakeholder in a project at your school or church, you're in for it as a project begins.

When I say "planning is key" I am not just talking about planning what flooring type or paint color will be used, or when the project will start and end, I mean planning!


... two projects came to us on a fast track.  The projects were "planned" - there were drawings that had building department approval, they had schedules of varying detail, there were even contractors on site.  However, major flaws in planning existed in both.

I'm not going to delve into these particular projects per-say, but being that this situation is all too typical I felt I had to discuss the subject in general.

Your building, your home, they require a sound plan for general construction, but planning for any project must include the systems that allow you to communicate, to entertain and/or to protect your investment.  Whether the project is a residential remodel, a new office building, or a church sanctuary revision, there will be a need for security, communications, reinforcement of audio and/or presentation of video.  Overlooking these elements in the early stages can threaten the success of a project.


Most would say that success in meeting a budget tops the list.  For others, success in meeting a schedule is the top priority.  All too often, budgets are tossed and schedules pushed around due to oversight in the planning process.


When you consider building a restaurant you might envision a place that is full of patrons, perhaps encamped at your bar, consuming chicken wings, beer while watching March Madness on your impressive video system.  You might hope for beautiful spring days, your patio full of diners basking in the sunshine with the perfect mix of songs playing in the background.  You certainly expect that the point of sale system you painstakingly researched will communicate with your bookkeeping system.  


Now you get into the design of the building, laying out two and four-tops, accounting for the space needed in walk-ins, dealing with building codes and selecting finishes that speak to your interior design taste.  A budget is formed in the architectural design process and affirmed as quotes come in from contractors and you arrange your finances accordingly.  You go to plan check, obtain a permit, select a general contractor, and...


This is not the time for changes, schedule interruptions, change orders and cost increases, but suddenly you realize that the TVs you saw displaying March Madness are just placeholders in the plan set, there is no plan for how video gets to the screens.  Walking through your new space, you can practically hear the bustle of patrons and music, the sounds of a profitable dinner service...  The reality is that there are no speakers, wire or amplification in your bid spec.  The point of sale system arrives, but there are no network cables in place to connect it to the networking equipment...  Oh yeah, networking equipment..  Hmm, there should probably be a security system, maybe even surveillance cameras...


The budget.  The schedule.  The plan...  It could take several days or more for a contractor to design and quote the system(s).  It could take weeks to get the bank to up the credit line, and several more for the contractor to acquire and install cabling and equipment...  

Adding these important systems at this stage will likely require owners to dig into their pockets.  In my experience, this is where corners get cut and the hopes of the owner for reliable, viable systems fall by the wayside.    


You can count on an architect for most of your planning, but some systems require input from a contractor or consultant with specialized design experience.  If you don't call us, reach out to someone, and do it early in the process.  If they tell you it is too early, I'd say they haven't learned these lessons yet themselves and you should probably look elsewhere.  You can expect to pay a design fee for up-front design services, the cost of which will likely be far less than the impact of the alternatives: change orders, rush fees, schedule delays, headaches and the compromising of your vision.


Please call us - we can help.  We have extensive experience in project planning for low voltage systems.  

Thanks for reading!  I hope to speak with you soon!

Chuck Mahar - CTS, DMCE

President, Tri Path Technology Group

530-924-5063 ext 1