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Our 4-Step Consultation Process

Creating the ideal automation and audio-visual setup for a home or business is a task that requires not just experience and technical expertise, but precise and careful planning as well. A good design means getting every element of a system working together in a seamless, intelligent, and unobtrusive way. This includes networks and wireless internet, video conferencing systems, lighting, automation, audio-visual equipment and more.

In order to do this effectively, it’s important to understand that every space has an individual function, as well as being a part of a larger whole. And those individual functions vary from client to client – no two solutions are the same.

Of course, there are similarities between projects (we’re all human, after all), but at 4ward-design we know that it’s those seemingly small differences that make the biggest impact. By designing a solution that fits a client’s lifestyle and requirements to perfection, we are creating more than just a convenience – we’re producing an experience that enhances their quality of life, and allows them to enjoy and utilise every space to its fullest.

The Consultation Phase

With that in mind, it stands to reason that the initial consultation phase is a vital one. It’s at this point that the ideal functionality and use-cases for each space is defined. An in-depth and detailed consultation means a thorough understanding of the project requirements, greatly simplifying and streamlining the design phase that follows.

4ward-design offers a stand-alone consultation service, helping you define a project’s scope and exact requirements without committing to any further design, supply, or installation. This is particularly useful on long-distance projects, and those requiring more than one quotation. Our consultation service is available worldwide, and follows the basic process described below.

Step 1: Perusing the Plans

The first step for any business or home automation project is to get a good understanding of the layout and design of the building. Plans can be sent digitally – 4ward-design uses AutoCAD, D-Tools and Visio.

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Step 2: Consulting with the Client

At 4ward-design, we’ve been designing home automation and audio visual solutions for over 17 years, and during that time we’ve learnt that the most important part of any consultation is knowing which questions to ask the client.

While most clients will come to us with a good idea of what they want from each space, they seldom realise the level of detail required to implement those ideas effectively. It’s not enough to know that a TV is necessary – we need to know how many people will be watching it, whether it’s used more often during daylight or at night, what else the room might be used for, and many other small details besides.

Step 3: Extracting Realistic Requirements

Inevitably, clients will come to us with their dream concept – their absolute ideal – which often requires rethinking and prioritisation to conform to the constraints of the particular project. A large part of the value of using 4Ward Design during the consultation phase lies in our ability to take this ideal, overall concept and extract realistic, concrete requirements. This takes careful balancing to ensure the client is still receiving a solution that fulfils their needs, without overextending on their chosen budget or timeframes.

Ask 4ward about progressive design options for a solution that can be built over time. It’s an effective way to manage budget restraints without compromising on the quality of the end result.

Step 4: The Proposal

From the brief extracted from the client during the consultation, 4ward then develops a proposal that is summarised in matrix form. This gives the client an overview of what each room will contain, and how it will function, without going into detailed technical specifications on conduits or cabling.

If the client approves the proposal, it can be opened to tender – there is no tie-in to using 4Ward’s design team, suppliers, or installers. The matrix contains all the necessary information for any competent home automation specialist to quote accurately on the same information. (This makes it infinitely easier to compare the quotes once they are received.)

Contact us for more information on the consultation process, or to book a consultation with 4Ward Design.

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