Home Automation Install in New Builds

Owen824

Novice Member
Right, I have just gotten a quote back for the places I am building. The quote is for:
  • Network points in all rooms over four floors
  • HD TV and UHF points to all rooms (2 lounges and 4 bedrooms)
  • basic lighting system throughout (which can be upgraded by customer)
  • audio in all rooms with 5.1 in the lounge

The quote includes wiring up the house, dimmer switches in the zones and wall plates for ethernet ports, tv points etc and everything back to a main hub, etc. I was going to do the network as i am in IT but just have too much on. so basically it is the full wire up for the houses which the buyer can then upgrade to whatever he wants ie lutron, etc. It has come in at roughly £13k ex VAT for each place. Can someone in the install business advise if this sounds about right or if this seems in the ballpark.

I worked out that it would cost me £1500 to distribute hd around the house by buying a matrix switcher, and the electrician has already quoted for putting uhf points throughut for freeview. I then figured another £1k for the network including the switches, cables, sockets, etc. The only thing i cannot be bothered to do is the lighting and this is where i have no idea what kind of costs are associated with this. add in my time and the cheapest i was able to work it out was roughly £5k a house for network, audio and video no lighting included.

let me know some thoughts on this or other companies to check out. I live in Edinburgh.
 

vex

Novice Member
Hi Owen,

It all really depends on the number of rooms you have, especially when you say Music in all rooms and network points to all rooms across 4 floors, how many are we talking about?

Also do you want hardware to make a basic music system work, if so to how many rooms? as a developer you want enough to get the buyer using it but few enough so they can up-grade other rooms if they want to.

Typical network cost is about £30 - £35 per point including passive hardware at each end, cable and 2nd fix test and termination. You will need to add a switch to that.

TV, Your electrician says he will do the UHF network but will that allow for a basic sky channel to be shared and controlled?

HTH

V.
 

Owen824

Novice Member
Rooms are:
  • Open plan Kitchen/dining/lounge
  • Main lounge
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 en suite

The tv side of things is the eletrician doing the uhf points for satndard freeview and then the company that we go with doing the box distribution whether it be normal sky or sky hd.

the network is 2 points in all rooms except for the two bedrooms w/out en suite, just getting one. in my house it will be a different story with a lot more points as i have so much equipment going in. :smashin:
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
seems crazy to me to have 2 contractors running the same cable to the same places for the same usses (ie UHF and Sky) Are you wanting the wiring for music or basic music system included? its not easy to do basic lighting that can be upgraded as most lighting systems use a different wiring scheme to normal lights. It also depends on who you are planing to sell the properties too and for how much. for some a basic system is no value as they will already want a more advanced one (not many tho) for others it will be mind boggling.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

Its the proverbial bit of string - your Spec sheet will dictate what is within a reasonable ballpark.

A Matrix switch is only one part of a solution - you then need to control it from each Room/Zone.

You ought to be able to tie down the Tech Spec pretty tight - the biggest hassle/unknown then is scheduling the work to minimise the number of site visits!

I find things NEVER run anywhere near to plan - it must be something in the air in Edinburgh :)

Joe
 

Owen824

Novice Member
sorry if i wasn't clear, but the quote is for the whole house to be wired up for lighting automation via cat 5e which can then be devloped into multiple scenes in rooms etc depending on the customers wants and needs.

as for the UHF, the electrician just originally quoted for it. The quote from the home automation co. included the uhf and the sky dish with each room getting a point and running off of one box. control is via IR transmitters in each room which beam back to the box in a central cupboard.

as for the music, it is again each room with a wall pad and back to a central point via cat5e.

do not really know who is going to buy these yet, so cannot really be any clearer than that. these are going to be high end houses but i do not want to spend a load on this kit if it is not going to give me any return obviously. :smashin:
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

Spend the money on your 'palace' :)

You cant 'develop' a high end system from a single run of CAT5 and a wall plate - most of the time the folk who come along to install a high end system will ignore pre installed cables as they wont have a clue about how and who installed them and its likely in the wrong place anyway.

I'd either take the plunge and add Russound or similar to the other Units or stick with a basic CAT5 cable infrastructure to enable PC access around the property - anything more 'Custom' I'd leave to the new owners.

Joe
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
sorry if i wasn't clear, but the quote is for the whole house to be wired up for lighting automation via cat 5e which can then be devloped into multiple scenes in rooms etc depending on the customers wants and needs.
hmm OK..... I would if your going with High End Clients, Iwould Install a lighiting system, (to wire for one that can be added later seems more hassle and will limit the systems possible). So either do it or dont bother, PSTN and data cabling, UHF and SAT distribution (done properly) can add serious appeal. Anything else is a gamble installing a nice but more basic music system may appeal to some may put others off installing wires only just costs money. I would think depending on where the properties are that including lighting control a top end Security system and CCTV will apeal more than music and video. They just have wider appeal to the mass market.

I'm sure Joe can offer a professional comparison if required.
 

Owen824

Novice Member
These places will have gates on the driveways with video entry system on them and a quality security system. The area these houses are being built in is a very nice area with a lot of large expensive houses.

As for music, the idea is to install speakers in ceilings in kitchen, dining room, master bedroom and en suite and 5.1 in the main lounge. These will be terminated to points where equipment will be located. For the ones we are selling i think i am going to hook up a sonos system as it is easy to install and get running to distribute music throughout. then whoever buys the place can choose what they want to do. thats the idea anyways.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

It never works - take the 5.1 Room.

You could wire to a cupboard in the room, a set of wall points in the room or back to a whole House Hub.

Will 'they' want Floor, On-Wall, In-Wall or In-Ceiling speakers and what type of Sub???

The best bit about Sonos for you the Developer is you can easily take it with you if the Buyer doesn't want it!

Your trying to second guess with way too many variables.

Joe
 

Owen824

Novice Member
I am just going by the market here, with luxury homes and penthouse apartments all having these types of things and flying off the market at £1.2-£2m. Most people like the idea of surround sound, etc but do not have any idea about the stuff. For the cost of me whacking in 5 kef or similar in-ceiling speakers and a discrete sub, i think it is worth it. as these houses will be fully decorated and furnished when being sold with minimalism in mind, it just makes sense to go for in ceiling speakers to keep the clean lines, etc.

i agree with the sonos and am more or less 100% on that as it will just get moved to mine. I do not need a massive multi room audio system as all of my music is on my computer and soon my dvd collection will be added to it as well so that i can distribute around the place. So will just have zp100's in the rooms i want music in (most likely bedrooms and kitchen).

ah, decision, decisions....:confused:
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

If you follow the Sonos 'take it with me' model then a Yamaha YSP + Sub is a good option for a 5.1 room; requiring minimal intrusion and unnecessary work.

With Sonos are you planning to 'Home Run' or wire for an 'In-Room' installation.

Joe
 

vex

Novice Member
IMO sonos can be just as much of a pain to set up from a developers point of view.

How do you get access to their pc's to set up the ripping protocol.
If they have never done it before, how do you teach them.
Are they using iTunes or something else you need to learn.
What is you construction like, how much metal, foil in the plasterboard?

As a residential, retrofit install thinks like Sonos and SqueezeBox can not be beaten, but in a new build I would do it differently.

V.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
With regard to lighting controls then can I put in a recomendation for Helvar and their Digidim range. You run all of the low voltage connections for keypads over 1.5mm twin & earth rather than cat5e and install the Digidim enclosures as a pre-wire high quality wiring centre. Keeps the cabling much easier for the electrician and you can either pre-wire completely, install part & part or go for full lighting control depending on your requirements. If you choose to do the technology yourself rather than through a dealer then they offer direct support which could be useful.

Have to agree with some of the other posts regarding the high end custom installation - it's almost impossible to judge what a customer would want from a fully bespoke install. While you may think a particular room lends itself to the main AV room the eventual purchaser may not. Do you wire for wall-mounted plasma/LCD or a PJ or both? What about TV points in other rooms, are they at low level or higher for wall mounted TVs? Do you terminate all of the cabling and risk having lots of unused wall plates or leave cables behind the walls for future use?

With regards to your gate entry have you checked if you can distribute the video to TVs around the house and use regular phone handsets instead of being reliant on just the video entry phone in the hallway?

Finally how are you going to demonstrate the technology you are installing? Will one of the houses be used as a show house and include the technology options? If not then you may be better partnering with a CI who can help design/supply/terminate the cabling infrastructure to cover most popular eventualities and also demonstrate the various systems to potential purchasers even if this happens at their premises rather than at the development site.
 

Owen824

Novice Member
Hello Owen824

If you follow the Sonos 'take it with me' model then a Yamaha YSP + Sub is a good option for a 5.1 room; requiring minimal intrusion and unnecessary work.

With Sonos are you planning to 'Home Run' or wire for an 'In-Room' installation.

Joe

Probably do in room and have them speaker points terminated in a discrete place where they can put a stereo, sonos, or whatever they fancy in each room. :smashin:
 

Owen824

Novice Member
IMO sonos can be just as much of a pain to set up from a developers point of view.

How do you get access to their pc's to set up the ripping protocol.
If they have never done it before, how do you teach them.
Are they using iTunes or something else you need to learn.
What is you construction like, how much metal, foil in the plasterboard?

As a residential, retrofit install thinks like Sonos and SqueezeBox can not be beaten, but in a new build I would do it differently.

V.

There is no foil in plasterboard. Have never used anything like that in any of my builds. Is a timber frame house with block work on the outside. Normal 12mm plasterboard with 100mm warmcell cellulose insulation (recycled newspaper). The only steelwork is in the foundations and a retaining wall. see my thread in sig for full plans. :smashin:
 

Owen824

Novice Member
With regard to lighting controls then can I put in a recomendation for Helvar and their Digidim range. You run all of the low voltage connections for keypads over 1.5mm twin & earth rather than cat5e and install the Digidim enclosures as a pre-wire high quality wiring centre. Keeps the cabling much easier for the electrician and you can either pre-wire completely, install part & part or go for full lighting control depending on your requirements. If you choose to do the technology yourself rather than through a dealer then they offer direct support which could be useful.

Have to agree with some of the other posts regarding the high end custom installation - it's almost impossible to judge what a customer would want from a fully bespoke install. While you may think a particular room lends itself to the main AV room the eventual purchaser may not. Do you wire for wall-mounted plasma/LCD or a PJ or both? What about TV points in other rooms, are they at low level or higher for wall mounted TVs? Do you terminate all of the cabling and risk having lots of unused wall plates or leave cables behind the walls for future use?

With regards to your gate entry have you checked if you can distribute the video to TVs around the house and use regular phone handsets instead of being reliant on just the video entry phone in the hallway?

Finally how are you going to demonstrate the technology you are installing? Will one of the houses be used as a show house and include the technology options? If not then you may be better partnering with a CI who can help design/supply/terminate the cabling infrastructure to cover most popular eventualities and also demonstrate the various systems to potential purchasers even if this happens at their premises rather than at the development site.

Had a look at the Helvar but just feel it is not the right product for the job. The system that I have been quoted for is full house and will be wired up for multi scene in the openplan room, main lounge and master bedroom.

As for the tv wall mounting, the openplan and main lounge are both having recessed areas for flat screen tv's as there is only 1 place in each room for the tv to go based on how we designed the houses, so that is not a problem. In the bedrooms it is undecided as of yet.

As for the video entry, the idea was to have a panel in the lower ground floor to be able to see who is there and allow entry as well as main floor.

Not having a show house per se, but as I will most likely be veiwing these houses to potential buyers, I will be telling them about the systems and what they can do. Also this place that I have the quote form will come out and meet with the purchaser once they have moved in to show them how to operate and to set up the lighting scenes. That was included in the quote. :D

The more i think about this the better that quote is looking to me since i no longer have the time to take the work on. :smashin:
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

In a 'High End' home the Security system ought to tie in with the Video Distribution system so anyone can see who is at the door/on the grounds from any TV/Display :)

As you have found out planning/designing an Integrated Home Entertainment/Security system is not a five minute job - lots of folk who start out on the DIY route end up going with an 'easy' option!!!

Hopefully it works out to be your best option in the long run - I'd hate to total up the amount of Time/Work/Money that ends up being binned on this type of install because the 'simple' option at the planning stage is pretty much irrelevant once the individual home owners lay out 'their' requirements.

Retrofitting cables/spks/wall plates etc once a full design is worked up ought not to be the nightmare many folk make it out to be.

Joe
 

hornydragon

Well-known Member
Retrofitting cables/spks/wall plates etc once a full design is worked up ought not to be the nightmare many folk make it out to be.

Joe

It is the majority of installs infact. ITs possible to install a basic system and build on that wiring once you start adding more options features etc it either becomes clumsy or you end up with alot of wall achne. I comend your forsight on considering provision for these systems but i would suggest you look beyond the basics and perhaps get an additional quote.
 

vex

Novice Member
I agree that wiring for a basic scheme is pointless on these types of property, but if you take time over the design and apply some installer common sense then they can be made nice and flexible.

Things like, dropping speaker cables in capping, from the top of a wall vertically to a speaker terminal point at the floor means you could break into it and pull it out to allow wall mounted speakers. Do the same with the TV points and you maintain that level flexibility.

A little thought and application on the CEA2030 audio standard and you can install a very flexible wiring scheme without a great increase to the cost that will allow you to wire a basic / mid / high end system when the buy descides what they want or if you need to up the spec as an incentive to get the property sold.

V.
 

Member 254261

Standard Member
After reading this thread, my thoughts would be to look at RAKO lighting, its flexible and can be installed quickly, and retro fit - keypads can be where you want and it can be programmed to do anything you want too.

Yep, I'd have to agree sonos would be a product i'd look at too.

You cant really have too many cat5e cables, doubling up would be my preference.

regards,
Integrated_P
 

SMCSI

Novice Member
Have a look at Dynalite for lighting control. www.dynalite.eu

I've recently got some of the kit to play with and it's excellent stuff. Once you get over the 16 lighting circuits it cost much less than Lutron, more flexible than Helvar, and faceplates are much nicer than Rako.

As to your quote, Is the quote for a pre-wired AV system and an installed lighting system?

I'm currently working on a 24 lighting circuit system, 20 keypads which is coming in at 9k installed and programmed. This is using very fancy keypads at £200 each. In general a room with 3 lighting circuits and 1 nice keypad is about £350.

In general I recommend that developers put in a completed system with all kit installed and up and running. The last thing someone wants when they have just moved in to there lovely new home is worrying about getting an AV guy round to fit TV's etc. Even if you do a full install in one house so they know what they can expect. Best to decide on a budget and then see what can be done with that. If I were you I'd spend £30-35k on a full complete finished working install :)
 

Owen824

Novice Member
I have gotten another installer to come quote who was recommended by the sparky who i have signed on for the job. Should be getting the quote this week although, i think he will blow the previous quote away due to mainly being a lutron installer which is what we are now looking at due to the lighting zones in some of the rooms. hopefully he will not be but i feel he could be quite dear.

Not liking his audio side of things as it is some system that uses cat 5e to all the speakers, etc and back to the central hub but only uses some ripserver music box which costs £700. cannot use my pc which i find hard to believe if i want to be able to select music form the single lcd wall panels that will control lights, music and video. i think their must be another solution.

The video is same as the other company more or less. Centrally stored box distributing sky hd or freesat etc to each tv point (6 in total) as well as basic uhf for freeview so someone could watch a different tv channel by switching over to freeview if they wanted. not stuck watching one channel.

should get the full write up this week so i can see the complete package proposed as well as the cost. :confused:
 

SMCSI

Novice Member
I'd have a look at Russound for multi-room. Excellent value for money and can be integrated into any system.

My 2p's worth:

Lighting: Dynalite
Multi-Room Audio: Russound
Multi-Room Video: Component video distribution with HDMI over cat5 piggybacked on for future.
Control: Philips Pronto TSU9600 or TSU9400 using IP and RS232 control using RFX9600

Sources:
PC Music 2-way with pronto's
DAB radio
Sky

Pronto's can control the lighting and audio/video with feedback displayed on the touchscreens. The dynalite system can also be programmed to communicate with the AV system so you can leave a room, press the lighitng off button for a set time and it will turn off the audio/tv and anything else you want it to do.

I have recommended these systems because they are designed to be integrated with others systems. They do there job and do it well. Some multi-room systems are closed systems and are difficult to integrate.

The most important part of your system is the user interface, whether its keypads or touchscreens. It is much easier to provide a friendly user interface when the system communicates easily.

Ta
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello Owen824

If YOU are confused then your wasting everyone's time getting Quotes!

By now you ought to have had a fairly tight Spec down on paper (no brands, no models, no restrictions) - you can then fire the spec out to three or more folk and see what you get back.

If your struggling to arrive at a Spec it may be an idea to contract someone to write the Spec for you based on your outline ideas.

As you are finding out an Integrated Entertainment System is just as complex (possibly more so due to the number of options available) as any other part of a development - previous ownership of a HiFi or 5.1 DVD system does not make designing an Integrated system an easy task!

Joe
 

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