How to Partner with Home Technology Firms
Interior Designer: ✓
Landscape Designer: ✓
Lighting Designer: ✓
Technology Designer: ✓
HTA Helps the Design-Build Community Partner with the Right Home Technology Integration Pros
Technology has undeniably become an integral part of the home. Therefore, having the home’s technology systems integrated into the home’s design has become ever more crucial if aesthetics, ease of use, performance, and client satisfaction is the goal. Yet many design and build professionals have difficulty finding qualified home technology integrators*. The Home Technology Association (HTA) helps bridge the gap and is a key resource for your practice. We will not only help you find qualified home technology integrators that will do the job correctly, we also help you develop a preliminary budget with HTA’s technology budgeting tool that establishes technology costs early in the design process. We have created a single page Project Technology Assessment questionnaire to share with clients as soon as you begin working with your client to properly assess their technology needs. Architects and interior designers may download it here, and builders and remodeling contractors may download it here.
Why You Need an HTA Certified Home Technology Pro
There are typically more than 100 technology devices in a luxury home. You need to partner with a professional integrator who will not only respect your designs, but be your technology expert (so that you don’t have to be). HTA Certified firms integrate the right solutions and products into your clients' home so that they perform as expected and bring joy to your clients’ lives, without usurping your design aesthetic.
The best integrators have a design and consulting side to their practice and will collaborate with you and integrate the technology solutions into the project's plan set. Home technology integrators are a unique trade in that they are both technology designers and technology contractors. You will want to consult with them as early as possible in your project’s timeline. Choose wisely.
HTA Certified pros understand high-end architecture and design and have experience working on longer timeline projects with exacting levels of fit and finish requirements. They will offer creative solutions to hide and blend technology into the home with design and engineering documentation to back it all up.
We cannot stress enough the importance of making the integrator part of your team as early as possible in the process. The technology plan for the home should be created before getting framing, electrical, and HVAC bids. This will save you all sorts of retrofit headaches and expense down the line.
Use our HTA Certified Estate, Luxury, and Foundation designations to partner with a technology firm that works in similar homes as you in terms of size and cost. If your client is trying to bring in their own technology installer, verify that your clients’ choice is an HTA Certified firm. If they are not, it is in your client and your best interests to check the integrator's competency by requiring they pass HTA Certification before you hire them. If they do not meet HTA’s standards of excellence, it is a red flag. You can always urge your client to find an HTA Certified integrator if the proposed integrator is not certified.
How HTA Certified Technology Designers Can Help You
Here are some of the important items that a home technology pro can help you with before and during the build process:
- Logistics - As integrators, we might take for granted that a TV mount can be very heavy and may need to have reinforced infrastructure to support it. HTA Certified integrators are adept at complex technology installations and communicate with designers to make sure teams are in lockstep for large and sophisticated technology installs.
- Space Planning - How much space is needed for equipment? Where does it need to be? What needs to go in the wall and how deep? What are the electrical requirements? How should the equipment be cooled?
- Televisions - What sizes are optimal for each room? How do I recess a bracket or get it tight against a wall? What are all the options to conceal a TV?
- Music - What form factors can we use in each room and in the landscape? My client mentioned underwater speakers, is that a real thing? Can I have speakers that match the recessed lighting? My client wants desktop speakers everywhere, is there a better-looking option?
- Home Theater - How big a screen do I need to plan for? How should I layout the seating risers? How deep a platform do I need to accommodate a reclining theater chair? Where does the video projector need to be placed? Do the walls need acoustic treatments and are they design friendly? How do I soundproof this room?
- Wi-Fi / Internet - My client wants great Wi-Fi, so where do we need to place all the devices to make that happen? Can the clients have outdoor Wi-Fi? My client has Internet security concerns, how do we handle that? Walls are made of thick concrete, will a signal go through?
- Telephone / Intercom - I need a beautiful front door intercom with a metal finish and camera, what are my options? What are the latest telephone options and colors? How does my client communicate with the front gate?
- Security - Where do surveillance cameras need to be mounted? What are the styles to choose from? Where do burglar alarm keypads need to be? Can we just use an iPad? Where should I put security monitors?
- Lighting control - How can I eliminate gangs of switches? What are all the keypad finish options? Can I control shades and skylights from the same keypad? Where do I need keypads? How much space do you need for lighting panels? Can you make the lighting's color temperature change throughout the day automatically? (Circadian rhythm / tuneable white / human-centric lighting)
- House Control / Smart Home - Does your home control system work with our pool controller? HVAC System? Burglar alarm? Motorized shading? Door locks? How do we make this house easy to operate for my clients? Where do we need control points?
- Budget - What is all of this going to cost? Can we value-engineer some of this?
Plan for Technology Early
And the list goes on. Just as you plan for art, furniture, and kitchen appliances, planning properly for televisions, speakers, touch panels, keypads, and more is important. Engage a technology professional early in the design proess to establish scope, budget, and a plan for every technology solution in the home. If technology becomes an afterthought, it will threaten the home’s design integrity and often results in project delays, compromises, and costly change orders. You want your clients to thank you, not blame you, for not accounting for their home’s technology needs early enough.
Engage a technology professional early in the design process. Establish scope, budget, and plan early for every technology device in the home. The end result will be markedly better, and the client is exponentially more likely to love their home.
Do you want to keep up to date on new and existing home technologies that will affect architecture, interior design and construction? Subscribe to the Home Technology Association's newsletter by clicking here.
* The professionals that design and install home technology systems are known as 'technology integrators' or simply 'integrators'