Whether you are building a two bedroom bungalow or a three storey mansion, a self build project provides you with the opportunity to design and build a home which meets all of your requirements and is specific to your needs. Customising a kitchen, living space or bathroom is fairly straightforward, but when it comes to home technology, this is foreign territory to many. It therefore helps to understand what is required from the off.
The Benefits of Home Technology
It’s hard to ignore the appeal of a life made simpler by finger-tip electronic control over your entertainment, lighting, security and heating, all from a single touch screen. A home system designed and installed to reflect your personality and your lifestyle. One that is intuitive to operate, where everything blends perfectly with your interior design so your friends won’t even know it’s there, until you want them to.
You can play a hi-fi system that breathes beautiful music into every room through unseen loudspeakers, so that music follows you wherever you go. And, you can enjoy a home cinema system far better, both visually and audibly, than your local complex, where curtains close, the temperature adjusts and the lighting dims automatically, the moment you walk in the room.
You can also programme and operate your home’s lighting, security, heating, air-conditioning and water systems to improve the comfort, ambience and quality of your own environment whilst ensuring optimum fuel and resource efficiency.
If you leave these features till the end of your project you risk a tangle or wires and new holes bodged into finished walls. Yet, all this can be achieved without an ugly wire or trailing, trip-hazard cable in sight. Today’s integrated home allows you to control, conceal and operate electronic systems within your home.
It’s not just self builders who can take advantage of integrated technology — a renovation project can also present the chance to design in wiring for audio-visual systems
When working on a self build project, it is important to build a relationship with a home technology professional from the get-go. If you are working with an architect on your project, bring them into this initial conversation as well. The main reason for thinking about the technology at the beginning of a project is because the required cables can be factored in to the design to make sure they are in the correct place, enabling a wire free look on completion.
Having a reliable and stable infrastructure is the most important part of any smart home. For self build projects, discrete cable installation via chasing is the preferred method. But this requires planning and a real understanding of what’s required. You can’t pull new cables in once the property has been decorated. As the saying goes, “the most expensive cable you have to install is the one that you have forgotten”.
Wireless has really come on in both technology and the supporting hardware. Multiple wireless access points may be installed into larger properties, and they would be located into the rooms that require fast reliable broadband or other services. This is reasonably complex to set up, but this will give a more reliable solution. With building materials such as Celotex and foil backed plasterboard, RF signals need more attention than people think. A properly designed wired and wireless infrastructure will give the potential to deliver a reliable connection for many years.
CEDIA has released a Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines document and a new video Guide to Smart Home Wiring to make self builders aware of the cabling infrastructure necessary to support the technology typically required for the modern home.
The Smart Home Recommended Wiring Guidelines provide practical step-by-step information for the self builder, identifying the key requirements for installations and the three grades of recommended cabling infrastructure:
- Grade 1 will ensure the effective and reliable delivery of internet services, home networking, TV, satellite, radio, telephone, conferencing and other entertainment services to most rooms in the house.
- Grade 2 infrastructure will additionally provide the capability for whole-home distribution of audio-visual content using discrete in-ceiling speakers and in-wall control points.
- Grade 3 bespoke infrastructure further extends functionality to embrace lighting control, motorised curtains and blinds, access control systems, CCTV networks, environmental and heating control, as well as systems that allow these technologies to be controlled and integrated by a single control system using in-wall controls and hand-held remote devices.
The advantage of planning your entertainment and home technology in from the beginning is that most of it can be concealed so that your décor isn’t overwhelmed by TVs, speakers and computer cables. Instead, the result will be state of the art entertainment systems which are incredibly easy to operate and control, and look beautiful in your home interior.
Who is CEDIA and why use a CEDIA member?
CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) is an international trade organisation spanning three continents with a global membership of over 4,000 companies. CEDIA members are specialists in the integration of technology into home environments. They partner directly with self builders to maximise the lifestyle, function, aesthetic and entertainment benefits of the integrated home.
CEDIA offers a Finder Service on its website, which allows self builders to locate their nearest home technology professional. Users can search CEDIA member companies by postcode, services, and certification. This provides the self builder with enough information to decide who they should contact. For more information, please visit www.cedia.org.
CEDIA members are the best informed and trained in the latest technologies, design, project management and installation techniques. Working with a CEDIA member is the best insurance you have that the final system will meet your expectations.