A growing number of businesses, learning facilities and houses of worship are embracing AV technologies. After all, services like videoconferencing, multimedia presenting and even full-on telepresence can substantially benefit collaboration and productivity.
Rather than leave AV as an afterthought, it’s important for these organizations to prioritize AV during the construction phase of new builds or remodels to ensure the technology performs optimally.
Collaborative Tools, Collaborative Construction
Ironically, many AV solutions are designed as collaborative tools, yet some organizations fail to collaborate with AV experts when forming a construction plan. Bringing an AV partner in at the beginning of the build can help avoid costly adjustments later, such as having to reissue documents specifying details like electrical or physical infrastructure required to support the AV equipment.
Integrating AV technologies into construction projects generally combines elements from the following four categories:
Hardware considerations encompass identifying what types of electronics need to be placed where—and, in addition, how they need to be connected to one another to deliver quality AV output. Examples include electrical wattage requirements, proper wiring, and overall device compatibility.
Software considerations encompass identifying what types of programs will need to be loaded onto the hardware, ultimately enabling AV functionality.
Content considerations encompass output requirements that may be specific to different types of media. For example, output for audio, video, data, or other type of presentation will each need to be handled differently.
Environment considerations encompass the infrastructure and space in which the hardware, software, and content come together. In higher education lecture halls or enterprise boardrooms that will include large visual display screens, the location of screens relative to that of the planned seating is an example of an environmental consideration. If AV hardware needs to be in a temperature-controlled space, making HVAC adjustments is another example of an environmental consideration.
It’s not only important for designers to collaborate with AV professionals, but it’s also important to note that many of the required elements above must collaborate with one another in order for the AV technology to work properly. This cohesion in design is much easier to address before walls are built and wiring is installed.
Better AV Forethought, Better Project Outcome
When AV is not considered a stand-alone trade at the beginning of a construction project, the following things can go wrong:
- The AV contractor can often start work after everyone else is already established on site, leaving little to no time to submit drawings in advance of the start of construction. As a result, each change after the fact is costly and can veer the AV side of the project far off budget.
- Costly delays can occur if the building site is not secure or dust-free enough to install AV equipment, as can easily happen when the schedule is thrown off course.
The good news is that with appropriate planning and AV project management, the above can be avoided. Instead, having more AV forethought in the planning stages of construction projects can ensure that builds remain on budget, on schedule, and consistent with expectations of both the design and contracting teams.
Chris Johnson is the CTO for corporate and enterprise for Diversified.