21.02.14

Do you want to work with architects?

Some AV integrators want to work directly with architects and as early as possible in projects. As Tim Kridel explains, that strategy can pay off, but it doesn't come cheap or easy.

From a distance, architects and integrators look like the ideal pairing for ensuring that a new facility or major renovation ticks every box on the client's list. For integrators, architects also can be a valuable sales channel and lead generator.

Alas, that's a pipe dream more often than not.

“We tend not to work very closely with architects at the initial stages, but during the delivery of the project, we’re involved with them because you often make changes as the project develops,” says Craig Bonner, AVM Impact operations director. “We would very much welcome working with an architect at the initial design stage because it would allow us to input audio or lighting [recommendations].”

Those recommendations can save time, money and even lawsuits if they eliminate expensive change orders later on, such as jackhammering a trench through a brand-new marble lobby because no one knew to run conduit for the digital signage. They also can avoid less obvious problems, such as having to constantly tinker with a videoconferencing system because the striped wallpaper makes it difficult for the cameras to focus.

“I think it’s critical that those conversations happen early on in the project because it saves time and money in the long run – and a lot of headaches,” says Andrew Lemert, who was IT director for a real estate development and management firm that had a construction wing before he joined Visionary Solutions. “The cost overruns can be significant when you’re trying to do things after the fact.”

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