Technology has undeniably become an integral part of our homes. So why do many design and build professionals have difficulty when it comes to partnering with a home technology firm? A partnership with a great home technology professional should always result in terrific installation that has been masterfully planned and executed.
There are typically over 100 technology devices in a luxury home. Let a professional help you carefully assemble and integrate the right devices into a home so that they perform as expected and your design aesthetic is not compromised. It is our intention that this website becomes a key resource for your practice, both in finding HTA Certified technology integrators, and by using the technology budgeting tool to help establish technology budgets early in the design process.
We recommend that you partner with a technology professional that is a good fit for you and your clients. Some technology pros understand high-end architecture and design and offer creative solutions to hide and blend technology into the home. These firms value design and engineering documentation. Other firms are simply tech experts yet may not be as experienced in working on longer timeline projects with exacting levels of fit and finish requirements.
Partner with a firm that works well with your peers, works in similar size and cost of homes you design or build, and delivers a similar level of service and professionalism. If your client is trying to bring in their own tech firm, make sure your client is making a wise choice. Perform due diligence to make sure they are a good fit with the design and build teams with the same set of values. Raise a flag if it is a bad fit. Verify that your clients’ choice is an HTA Certified firm. If they are not, urge them to apply for HTA Certification. If they do not meet our standards of excellence, this is a red flag, beware!
At the Home Technology Association, we encourage you as an architect, builder, or designer to strongly consider the benefits of partnering with a professional home technology firm. Here are some of the important items that a home technology pro can help you with before and during the build process:
- Space Planning - how much space is needed for equipment? How will it be cooled? Where does it need to be? What are the electrical requirements?
- 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 Sonos desktop speakers everywhere, is there a better-looking option?
- Home Theater - how big a screen do I need to plan for? How should I lay out 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? 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?
- 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 do I 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?
The list of questions goes on and on. Just as you plan for art, furniture, and kitchen appliances, you want to plan properly for touch panels, keypads, televisions, speakers, etc. Anything that becomes an afterthought threatens the integrity of your design and can result in project delays, compromises, and change orders.
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.
If you would want to keep up to date on new and existing home technologies that will affect architecture & interior design, subscribe to the Home Technology Association's newsletter by clicking here.