New Build House Which Home Automation

Keppler232

Novice Member
Hi there guys, first post from me, I have looked at the multitude of questions and answers on the forums but you are the experts and I would appreciate your advice.

I'm about to start building my new home (planning and builder organised) and I'm wanting to build into it automated lighting, a number of switches e.g. electric blinds, heating controls (for underfloor heating) and finally to use my existing Texecom Premier Elite Alarm which I know I can get the Connect system and add into a few existing Home Automation Systems.

I'm fine doing a bit programming but would appreciate your thought on the best systems to consider to cover all of this Home Automation, do you think mesh systems? if so what would you recommend and in addition would you recommend any particular suppliers with good service/pricing to consider purchasing from? Fibaro? Lightwave? etc

Thanks in advance everyone.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I guess my first advice is I would never integrate your Security into your HA. You may want an output from your alarm to a trigger, such as turning on lights during alarm activation, but beyond that, I would keep the two separate. HA is HA and Security is Security.
I have installed high end HA/Alarm systems such as Comfort, but if one fails, you lose both. Additionally there is still a lot of security loopholes in HA equipment that can be exploited.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Can you give us an idea of what sort of budget you have for HA as that will give us an idea of what advice to provide. HA can run from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands for systems such as Crestron / Lutron.
Do you want a installer maintained system, such as Control 4 or do you want DIY such as Homeseer or Indigo.

These are all fundamental questions that will determine your next steps.
 

Keppler232

Novice Member
Can you give us an idea of what sort of budget you have for HA as that will give us an idea of what advice to provide. HA can run from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands for systems such as Crestron / Lutron.
Do you want a installer maintained system, such as Control 4 or do you want DIY such as Homeseer or Indigo.

These are all fundamental questions that will determine your next steps.

Hi, I was hoping to set a budget for this of about £5,000 and I would rather DIY with Electrician and then look after it myself moving forward thanks.
 

Keppler232

Novice Member
I guess my first advice is I would never integrate your Security into your HA. You may want an output from your alarm to a trigger, such as turning on lights during alarm activation, but beyond that, I would keep the two separate. HA is HA and Security is Security.
I have installed high end HA/Alarm systems such as Comfort, but if one fails, you lose both. Additionally there is still a lot of security loopholes in HA equipment that can be exploited.

Good thinking about this thank you.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
OK, let’s start with shopping list of what you may want.

Lighting control - number of rooms, number of lights, number of circuits, number of switches.

Outdoor Security / Aesthetic Lighting ? - I have 3 outdoor lighting circuits on my house and an additional garden lighting circuit

Blind controls - number of blinds

Heating Control - all under floor or mixed underfloor and rads

Number of wet loops, number of zones / TRVs.

I would suggest start getting this stuff into a spreadsheet
 

R-CAD

Active Member
I'm fine doing a bit programming but would appreciate your thought on the best systems to consider to cover all of this Home Automation,

I'd definitely include Loxone in your research. I included it within my self-build and have no regrets. I've made a few posts regarding my install, such as:

New build smart home

New build smart home

If you're interested, have a search and ask questions if there's anything you want to know.

Loxone will integrate your Texecom Premier Elite, if you want a monitored system with police and fire notification, but if you don't need it monitored then Loxone offers a pretty comprehensive system on its own.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Don't forget to set out your objectives, otherwise it's a little like shopping for solutions without problems. You may have an objective that a product/vendor cannot fulfil. Your objectives will impact all parts of an installation from first fix to positioning controls. It's worthwhile understanding which vendor(s) you want to go with in advance because this will have the biggest impact on first/second fix.

Planning for the future is more difficult. HA is evolving technology and as such you may want to enhance or refresh part of or all of the system as time moves on, but who knows what this may be right!? You may simply want to add additional CATx (for example CAT6) runs to allow for extra devices moving ahead, as the wired Ethernet network is the easiest part to over specify when building, but much more difficult and disruptive after you've decorated.

Planning is the key to a successful HA project, along with reliable networks.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I would agree that the OP should investigate as many options as possible to understand what is available in the market space.

Although £5k sounds like a big budget, in reality it is not in the HA sphere especially looking at a whole home install. And this is where the rub is. If you commit to a single vendor install such as Crestron, Loxone, Control 4, Lutron then you need to build their infrastructure into your propert from day 1. As retrofitting is often much harder and more costly. The benefits are seamless integration of the vendors products. The cons are often cost, most of the above would eat that £5k just to install the infrastructure and a very rudimentary system and to a large degree you are locked into those vendors products or you have to purchase their interfaces for third party products to work.

Using different vendors, for different elements such as heating, lighting, shading, security, AV etc allows you to buy best-in-class for each element, which is often cheaper than proprietary systems, can often use standard architectures (Cat6 / twin and earth etc). It’s down side is it needs a third party, open standards control platform to talk to all of the various systems and make them work together, which can be problematic. I have installed both and if money is no object then the proprietary systems win, hands down for shear ease of use and integration. In reality most of us don’t have £10k £20k for an install and a couple of £k a year just to maintain the system. That is why many people opt for open standard hubs / software such as Indigo / Homeseer / Hubitat etc. Because it offers them choice and flexibility within their budget, but it does require much more user intervention to keep it running properly and deal with undocumented problems.

Ultimately I guess it all boils down to budget. You can buy a super car that will do a sub 10 quarter mile straight from the factory or you can build your own hot rod that will also do a sub 10 quarter. The difference is cost, quality, elegance and effort.
 

R-CAD

Active Member
Costing for a retrofit is very different to a new build. On a retrofit, everything is extra where as a new build some of the costs are offset by what you have put in otherwise.

ie. you have to wire the house and the cost for radially wiring to suit some HA systems isn't incrementally that much more than traditionally wiring. That small extra cost for radially wiring, also brings additional benefits, so yes it costs a little more but you get extra functions for that cost.

You also need controls and sensors for heating systems, blinds etc. and can omit these leaving the HA system to control them.

I've also found that once the core system is in and "paid for", expanding and adding is cost effective compared to the retrofit options.

A new build offers the opportunity to install a wired, integrated HA solution that would be very difficult to achieve using the retrofit options, but I don't see that as locking you into one manufacturer. Certainly for Loxone, it does't matter what motion, temp, humidity, brightness, contact, rain, wind, etc. sensor you choose to fit, as long as it can send a digital or analogue (0-10v) signal.

and a couple of £k a year just to maintain the system.

Do some of the proprietary BMS systems require a yearly maintenance fee? Is that for licensing or something - I wasn't aware of that, it would really put me off. Thankfully Loxone has no such ongoing costs.
 
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mushii

Distinguished Member
@R-CAD speaking directly to Loxone, who recommend using one of their business partners for install and design, they are indicating initial costs for a basic install for a 4 bed is £5k to £10k incl heating / lighting / security with prices rising from there, depending on configuration. How does that compare with your experience?
 

bardel

Well-known Member
Do you have any requirements for audio and/or video distribution as you haven’t mentioned this either.

5k I think will only get you a DIY solution. I’m not clear on how much you would achieve even in the DIY space. For example, hdmi distribution matrix’s are four figures on their own if they are part of your plan?

Probably best to document what your ultimate requirements are and cable for everything during the house build. Prioritise your wish list, leaving you the opportunity to add functionality later as funds allow. This approach would work with either DIY or CI solutions, as long as you know what your end goal is so that you don’t have to replace items along the way.

What I would say is, as much as possible, cable your network devices and limit any use of WiFi as much as you can.

I don’t personally agree with the integrated HA / Security solutions comment suggesting that they bring each other down. Our alarm performs perfectly well if the HA controller is offline in a fully integrated solution.

I love playing with this kind of tech, I considered going Fibraro, but because of the size of my project, limited time that I could apply to it personally and the need to deliver quickly retro fitting my property after a flood, we went with a custom installer Control4 solution.

I was originally concerned about being locked out, but it’s not black and white, there are options for those of us that want to do more, by way of using their “Composer Home Edition” software which allows you to program a fair amount of the system, but you can’t add new devices to the system. Depending on what you need to add though, this can be a straight forward task for your dealer to do at minimal cost.

Everyone’s situation is different, many users of this forum are enthusiasts who also want to play with the tech, myself included, but your own situation will determine your solution.

Good luck and ask away.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Composer Home Edition is OK until you wish to add something like a new Hue Bulb, then you have to pay for your C4 integrator to come and add it for you for another £200.
 

bardel

Well-known Member
And why would you use Hue bulbs in this scenario. The OP is wiring for proper integrated house lighting, not retro fit bulb replacements which isn’t comparable.

And if your dealer is charging you £200 to add a lighting circuit on a controller that is already integrated, you need to find another dealer. I would only expect to
Pay to add the Hue controller to the system....
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I worked with two C4 integrators and £200 is a fairly standard call out charge for C4 changes.
Not everyone wants a C4 lightswitch. Sometimes adding a hue bulb to a standard lamp or bedside lamp is what a client needs. Not a full blown lighting circuit install.
 

bardel

Well-known Member
£200 may be a representative call out charge, but your example is flawed. In a C4 system with a Hue hub already in place, the user can add a further bulb and the dealer need only connect remotely and perform a 5 minute activity. Adding the Hue hub for the first time might warrant a call out, but since the Hue is a user installable device in stand alone setup, you could install this yourself and the installer can still remotely add the driver for this remotely.

So given the OP’s original scenario, I don’t think scaring him off with stories of £200 to add a light bulb is fair or objective.

C4 (or other less open systems) is not for everyone and it’s not open to do everything, but you make your choices and pay your money for different reasons.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Guys, may I suggest we hang on until @Keppler232 gets back to us with their plan. There's been lots of useful information regarding things to consider, this may take some time. Until then, we don't know what they are trying to achieve.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I don’t see informing the OP on realistic costs and charges is scaring anyone.
How much does your C4 installer charge you for a ‘dial in’?
I know that most C4 installers would charge a minimum of 1 hour. Which is about £50 which would also cover labour plus admin and document updates. So to set up a Hue hub £200 plus the Extra Vegetables cost and an additional ‘dial-in-fee’ per lamp update.
Any decent installer / integrator should document their install, and each additional change should be documented, which is chargeable.
 

cmclean

Active Member
FYI

Control4 purchased Extra Vegetables years ago
There is no charge for the Hue driver these days and must admit I’m with @bardel that does sound like your paying too much
 

Chester

Well-known Member
@mushii Sounds lucrative! You can understand the reluctance of the average punter, and even the likes of AV enthusiasts, not to invest. But a lot of this is about providing a service rather than product, and some people are obviously in the market for such a service. From recent contact I've had, that's not too many people in my surrounding area. I'd have to move nearer to a big city to be able to get into this line of business.

It will be interesting to hear from the OP to get their opinion on this.
 

bardel

Well-known Member
Composer Home Edition is OK until you wish to add something like a new Hue Bulb, then you have to pay for your C4 integrator to come and add it for you for another £200.

I don’t see informing the OP on realistic costs and charges is scaring anyone.
How much does your C4 installer charge you for a ‘dial in’?
I know that most C4 installers would charge a minimum of 1 hour. Which is about £50 which would also cover labour plus admin and document updates. So to set up a Hue hub £200 plus the Extra Vegetables cost and an additional ‘dial-in-fee’ per lamp update.
Any decent installer / integrator should document their install, and each additional change should be documented, which is chargeable.

I thought I’d quote your two posts to help you understand the problem...

1st quote - £200 for a new Hue bulb

2nd quote - £200 install and configure a Hue hub and 1 or more bulbs (cost of hardware not included) on the network. Then integrate with C4 controller, add to rooms and configure lighting scenes for the client.

Not exactly comparable, which is why I felt the need to challenge your first quote as it is mis-leading and ergo scare-mongering.

For those that think it’s lucrative and surprising then you need to understand the service that is being provided compared to a DIY system. My CI spent days tracking down an intermittent issue with a device under certain conditions which has involved the assistance of Arcam and Control4 directly, for this my installer charged..... Nothing, it’s part of the service.

I’ve said this enough times in this thread already, it’s not necessarily cheap, not for everyone, but we all have different drivers and requirements. If the product was ineffective and grossly overpriced it wouldn’t exist or survive in the market, yet it does.

Going back to the original poster, I think it’s unlikely C4 will make the shortlist as the indicated budget will not cover a whole house install for sure. But it’s not fair to brush it off on the basis of @mushii ‘s initial indication of costs to add a light bulb.

I come here to enthuse over something that I enjoy and try to help with my opinions when I can. Not for a pi$$ing contest. It’s unlikely I will therefore be adding anything further of benefit here...

I wish the OP good luck with their project, I’ll happily follow it with interest.
 

R-CAD

Active Member
@R-CAD they are indicating initial costs for a basic install for a 4 bed is £5k to £10k incl heating / lighting / security with prices rising from there, depending on configuration. How does that compare with your experience?

It just depends what you class as a "basic install", and what you include within the Bill of Materials under the HA banner.

In a new build, you've got to purchase light fittings anyway, if within the Loxone order you are including 24v RGBW light fittings do you associate all, part or none of that cost to the HA system? If you want colour changing lighting scenes in every room is that an HA cost, or a specification cost?

For a new build, the incremental cost of a Loxone HA infrastructure for a basic install on a 4 bed property would be around £5K.

To me a basic install would be automated light switching (movement and brightness) in main rooms and bedrooms and external, dimming in a few, RGBW in not more than a couple, zoned (3 or 4 zones) heating control, automated blinds in a couple of rooms, comprehensive alarm and fire, garage/gate automation (not the motors, just the automation)
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I worked for a long time with C4 integrators. The beauty of buying into C4 is that you get a turnkey solution that works very well. The downside is that any major changes to the install require dealer intervention. Most dealers charge by the 1/2 day for major changes.
A couple of years ago ANY changes required dealer intervention but C4 started losing market share, especially in the US, especially with the rise of more consumer orientated products hitting the market. To counter this C4 released Composer Home Edition software to allow the end-user to make tweaks and minor changes themselves. In a recent podcast interview with C4’s CTO the question around Hue / Lifx bulbs was raised. C4s position is that for the near future C4 will not let end users make these kinds of changes to an installer based system, even within CHE.
As somebody who ran a CI business, I understand the importance of your time being paid for. My difficulty with C4 is myself and many of my clients felt that the charges were not always transparent and once you are bought into the C4 eco-system you are committed to using a C4 integrator to make changes. This is not always easy when comparible consumer devices are similar and on the surface, cheaper.
I think if you are happy to pay for a maintained service C4 is a great solution. For many consumers, they are not happy to release control of their home to a third party who are the only ones who can make changes.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
It just depends what you class as a "basic install", and what you include within the Bill of Materials under the HA banner.

In a new build, you've got to purchase light fittings anyway, if within the Loxone order you are including 24v RGBW light fittings do you associate all, part or none of that cost to the HA system? If you want colour changing lighting scenes in every room is that an HA cost, or a specification cost?

For a new build, the incremental cost of a Loxone HA infrastructure for a basic install on a 4 bed property would be around £5K.

To me a basic install would be automated light switching (movement and brightness) in main rooms and bedrooms and external, dimming in a few, RGBW in not more than a couple, zoned (3 or 4 zones) heating control, automated blinds in a couple of rooms, comprehensive alarm and fire, garage/gate automation (not the motors, just the automation)

Thanks @R-CAD, that answers my questions.
 

cmclean

Active Member
I think your getting confused and confusing other @mushii

Control4 Home Edition has been available for many many years I don’t know how many but I’ve been working with Control4 for over 5 years and it was available a fair few years before that

However you are right in the Control4 are offering more and more owners the ability to configure with the likes of WHEN > THEN
When>>Then | Control4

Hope that helps
 

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