The simple answer is, “Yes.” After all, someone did build it. The more important question however should be: “Is that installation the right one for this project?” The answer lays less in technology and more in the goals and deliverables of the project. Further, are the mechanics of that particular “perfect” installation going to deliver the outcomes for this project? There is no definitive answer or list of various components, as every AV project is unique. Even a basic single display hanging on the wall can be considered unique.
Whose job is it anyway?
Making assumptions is definitely one way to have an AV project fall off the rails. No project should include the line: “But I assumed you were doing that.” Having a clear understanding of who does what, preferably in writing, is critical before the go ahead is given.
All AV installations involve the need for a good team. All too often, an installation team is summarized as the customer and an AV reseller.
Even a simple AV installation will include physical components installed in a space with electricity and network connectivity as a minimum. Other projects, such as a large, outdoor LED display will require even more considerations such as engineering stamps, local utility intervention (e.g. gas and communication line location), bylaw approvals, and even traffic management services.
Though many AV resellers do not have all the required resources under their own roof, many have a network of sub-contractors who can bring many of these skills to the project. That said, it is important one is clear about who will provide a particular service for a project and, equally important, who is going to contract them.
The following are some things to consider about the team partners on a project:
- Timing—when will they be needed? Engineering services or bylaw approvals can take weeks, months, or even years.
- Responsibility—what will a particular partner bring to the project? This can run the gamut of components, services, personnel, or management skills.
- Contracting—who is paying for the different services being rendered?
- Ownership—what are the ownership responsibilities of this partner? To whom do they report? Everyone working on the project should understand this.
- Communications—identify the lead contact and ensure all members of the project team not only have this information, but also clearly understand the protocol when any inevitable questions arise.
- As-built drawings—one might be amazed by the number of AV installations they may be called on to service or modify that have no “as-built drawings.” Without up-to-date technical drawings, the current work will be prone to errors and future changes will be costly and difficult. All installations should have drawings clearly showing how the system is built.
- Workmanship—in addition to the warranties mentioned earlier, it is also important to have a clearly defined warranty for actual workmanship. It should define the warranty term along with what is and is not covered.
Location, location, location
As in real estate, the location of an AV installation is very important. This may be as simple as an available wall space or as complex as an LED scoreboard suspended in an arena. AV installations are all about an audience interacting with the solution, whether they are viewing it or physically interacting with it.