Once a project’s scope and requirements have been thoroughly mapped out during the consultation phase, and the client is satisfied that we’ve understood all their needs and expectations, it’s time to get into that nitty-gritty part of the process that we like to call design.
At 4ward-design, we take this phase exceptionally seriously, and put our almost 20 years of project-driven experience to good use at every step.
We know all too well that a solid, well-thought-out design is not just imperative for a successful installation; it also increases the useful lifespan of any home or business automation or audio-visual solution. By taking current and future needs into account, and leaving room for any projected growth, a good design can be the difference between a cost-effective, long-term solution, and a maintenance nightmare. As we like to tell our clients, the most expensive cable to run is the one you forgot to lay the first time round.
The design process for automation and audio-visual solutions can be split into two distinct halves: the technical side (cables and conduits), and the visual side (making sure everything looks appealing). 4ward-design works closely with project architects, engineers and interior designers to ensure our solutions flawlessly fulfil the requirements for both halves.
The Technical Side of Design
4ward-design provides detailed conduit and cable schedules as part of our comprehensive design pack that we supply to the project team. Whether you choose to use our installers, or hand over the specifications to a local contractor, every detail necessary for a problem-free installation is presented in a clear and unambiguous manner. Our documentation is created using AutoCAD, D-Tools and Visio.
It’s a specialist game
Cables, conduits and distribution boards are usually the sole domain of a project’s engineers, but in the case of automation systems there’s a whole new level of intricacy to take into account.
Both home and business automation systems require the ability to communicate in realtime. Each of the myriad of electronic components must be able to give and receive useful feedback in order to function effectively, as a whole. While an engineer is more than capable of designing each system to function individually, when it comes to combining wireless networks, security, automation, audio-visual, AC, and more into a centrally-controlled, intelligent system, it becomes something of a specialist game.
Because of the specific knowledge of a huge variety of low voltage systems that is required, and the software and programming skills necessary to get them all talking the same language, it’s no surprise that most engineers prefer to use a specialist contractor for audio-visual and automation systems.
4ward-design has a long history of successful collaborations with project engineers, and the results can be verified by thousands of satisfied clients.
We have found that some clients prefer a phase-based approach to automation and audio-visual systems, building towards their ideal solution one phase at a time. To cater for these cases, 4ward-design offers progressive design solutions. In this type of project, all the necessary conduits for the final solution are laid in phase one, allowing cabling and equipment to be added as and when budget or timing allows, without the mess and fuss of additional chasing or construction.
The Visual side of Design
While the functionality of any automation or audio-visual system is paramount, one can never discount the importance of ensuring its visual appeal as well. 4ward-design strongly believes that technology should never overpower a design, especially in the case of a high-end automation system.
This means each and every switch, control panel, and sensor is located not just for optimum usability, but to blend in with the décor as per the architect and interior designer’s specifications. Each element is carefully matched to avoid any conflicting features, and designed to be a cohesive, yet subtle element in any room.
4ward-design provides meticulous elevations detailing every component to ensure that our designs complement the vision created by the architect or interior designer. Our drawings are compatible with all commonly-used CAD software, and are easy to integrate into broader construction details.