Author:
Felicity Haythorn

When should you start thinking about incorporating smart technology into your build? At the beginning? At the end? When the plastering is being done? When the electrics are going in? Once you’ve picked out and ordered your Bang & Olufsen BeoHarmony TV? Actually, it’s none of these. Equippd co-founder Charlie McCourt shares the process of how to plan your connected home.

 

“Start thinking about the technology six months before a single brick is laid”

 

This saves significant time and stress and actually allows for systems to be more robustly designed. I’d urge anyone considering advanced technology to get in touch six months before they think it’s necessary. Start thinking about the different security systems, entertainment systems and environment processes as soon as possible. Give us a call on 020 8191 7887, and we can advise on what’s best and what’s suited to you and your project.

Plan out the tech first, and everything else will fall into place afterwards

It’s not just about putting up a few speakers …

People look at what they see on TV and think everything is wireless. But wireless devices are actually pretty intrusive and also not particularly reliable. Entertainment or environment systems require the correct cabling, which needs to be installed at the right time – for example, well before your plasterer starts on your walls!

… it’s about planning ahead

This is the thing with technology: people don’t really consider the level of planning needed to support it all. It’s a relatively new concept in terms of building a house, compared with, say, plumbing and the electrics. Over the years, we realised that there was no real communication between any of the different housebuilding trades – instead, they focus on their own roles. For example, the general contractor is constructing the house and has an idea of how the build will eventually look, but doesn’t involve the plumber, who isn’t communicating with the joiner, who isn’t in collaboration with the electrician who, in turn, isn’t joining the dots with the lighting designer. Technology often controls the heating, lighting and entertainment systems, bringing all these services together, so it needs to be considered and designed before anything else. We look at how the homeowner is going to actually use the house, how their life flows and how that’s going to affect the environment and entertainment and security systems. Plan out the tech first, and everything else will fall into place afterwards.

We are trying our very best to inspire and educate

We are encouraging architects, builders, interior designers and lighting engineers to think about designing technology with their clients as early as possible. We aim to inform and educate the professionals with whom we work as well as our clients through our Instagram page and in-depth Journal articles. Once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we’ll also be holding continuing professional development (CPD) courses with professionals on how to bring technology into residential projects.

Timing is critical, from start to finish 

We were called in at the last minute for our project on Burlington Road in Chiswick. It had the highest level of integration for a project – and the shortest amount of time to design! We were brought in through one of our partners, Rubix Construction, who were already plastering the walls. The client then realised they wanted to incorporate a very high level of tech. For us, it was one of our quickest-ever turnarounds. From the customer originally getting in touch, to us finding out exactly what they wanted, designing the system, delivering all the cabling and installing infrastructure took less than a week. Practical completion was scheduled one week before Christmas. Because we’re dependent on various other trades to complete our side of things, such as electricians and joinery installation, it pushed us dangerously close to the festive season, which wasn’t ideal for our team or the customer!

 

Finally, don’t worry – there is usually a workaround!

We pride ourselves on always finding a solution. We were brought into the project at a very late stage, so devised a hybrid ‘wired and wireless’ system to enable automated blinds to be added to the upper floors. There’s usually a workaround – we start with looking at what the client wants, work out what will fit in with the plans, look at the budget and fit our designs into those parameters.

 

If you’d like to chat about your project with one of the team, contact us here.

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