How it breaks down...
We work in many different environments from 150 square meter apartments to 1500+ square meter multi-level building projects. Our services can be procured for design and specification only or as a full turn-key solution in which we protect the clients and project team from integration risk by taking full responsibility for taking the interconnected systems from concept right through to delivery.
How much does home automation cost?
One of the first questions potential home automation customers ask when they call our company is: How much does Home Automation cost? Although this is a very difficult question to answer, I will try to do my best here to explain general pricing guidelines.
The purchase of home automation is much like the purchase of new vehicle or even a home. There are lots of options available and price ranges can vary drastically. Especially once you add in all the optional upgrades. And just like vehicles once you choose a product the parts are not that interchangeable.
We break home automation systems down into two basic categories DIY home automation systems and professional home automation systems. In the last 3 years, we have seen a major interest in the home automation space from the DIY manufacturers and they are making a lot of noise lately with lots of new products coming to market. These manufacturers are Apple with Home Kit and more recently Google with Google Home, and don't forget Amazon with its Alexa platform. Although Amazon's Alexa is more of a voice style control point than a platform in its own right.
Now for some projects, a DIY style solution will be totally suitable, but most of the time once we have completed a thorough needs analysis we find the DIY solution does not meet the needs of the clients nor is it suitable for the size of the property. Now in saying that we have plenty of projects that this approach works well in and we will always provide the client with this option as a comparison. We call this our "DIY do it for me" option and in certain cases it just whats required.
You are going to use your home automation system every day for as long as you live in your home, and picking the right home automation with the right subsystems the first time is critical to ensure maximum enjoyment with a minimum of maintenance. Most of our customers elect to get the solution that will make them happiest in the long-run.
Most buyers when considering a home automation system tend to focus on the initial price with the goal of finding the cheapest home automation contractor and equipment available therefor sacrificing low-maintenance, quality, warranty and after-sales support, and aesthetics, which inevitably leads to regret - especially considering that unlike a vehicle a home automation system cannot be traded in if one is dissatisfied or disenchanted with the outcome.
Successful home automation is the result of bringing together lots of separate subsystems into one easy to use overall user interface.
Below is a short list of the most common subsystems a home automation system has to be able to control:
- The simplification of controlling and selecting your properties audio & video equipment as well as being able to hide it away out of site.
- Remote access and the ability to control your security system (home alarm), vehicle gates and pedestrian gates, garage doors (is it open or closed) and video/audio intercoms and smart doorbells and door locks. Who rang the doorbell? Can I let them in when I am not home?
- The ability to adjust your heating and cooling relative to outside conditions or just on demand. Control of blinds and shades, motorised windows and skylights, all working together, to control temperature.
- Lighting control by removing multiple banks of ugly unnamed light switches with the ability to use scenes (lights grouped together), the use of motion or presence sensors in hallways and other transient areas so as not to waste energy on continuously lighting unused rooms or areas.
- Getting the home network (internet) sorted and house wide WiFi coverage. Most home automation systems need a solid home network to operate on. As well as allowing access to streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV's and Spotify and other music services.
Equipment Selection is Critical:
So one of the biggest challenges in completing a home automation project successfully is nailing down all the subsystem equipment that the home automation system is going to control. We need to be very clear on things like the make and the brand of the equipment, the quantity of of the items we are going to control.
Also the most critical point with product selection is, does your brand or product you want to control integrate well with others? Has it been done before? Or is my place going to be a guinea pig testing ground only to discover it wont work as intended.
Believe it or not there are plenty of brands of products that will not work with a 3rd party control system or worse they used to work well and now dont due to updates and software changes. A very important question to ask your integrator is have you integrated or worked with this brand before? What are its limitations? An experienced home automation integrator will be able to point this out to you, and have an honest chat. The more products we need to control generally the more expensive the solution will be in terms of hardware required and implementation time required to deliver a working solution.
The second biggest challenge in completing a successful home automation project is to make sure we set what we like to call accurate expectations of what the final project outcome will look like. How will it function? How or what are you the user going to need to do to interact with your system? And does this make sense from a practical point of view? Using your phone for example to start music in a ensuite bathroom is just a fiddle when a simple button press with a preload favourite radio station or playlist is far more practical for 90% of the time. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. We like to do this in plain english with what we call our project foundation document.
Once the equipment specification is nailed down we can then address how or what the control point or user interface is going to be. Take turning on a light in a bathroom for example a control point or user interface could be a combination of a light switch and a sensor and voice or just a sensor on its own. For watching TV it might be single remote control or a phone or tablet or touch screen or combo of all three. These control points and how many there are, and how accessible they are, is critical in how easy to use the system is going to be. It's not much use if your phone or tablet is flat or lost (down the side of the couch) and the music is blaring and your work phone is ringing with an important work- related phone call and you can't turn down the music.
As you can see, there are many variables to discuss and agree on and many product options available. When you receive a proposal from our company, we will have thoroughly discussed each option with you to educate you on the options and benefits available and what is right for you and your situation. You will also have had the experience of being able to interact with the various user interfaces we offer by visiting our experience centre.
Why Property Scale Matters:
How property scale and the amount of equipment required affects the cost? When someone inquires how much our home automation solutions cost, the scale of the property, the equipment required and extent of the installation is also a key factor. As some of the products we use in smaller projects or properties don't allow us to scale these same products in larger homes. We also have some solutions that have been designed specifically for smaller projects that dont require all the options under the sun.
EXAMPLES & COSTS
1. DESIGN ONLY
We work for some clients on a design only basis either because they need to submit the work to main contractors to be incorporated into their package or because the supply and installation of the equipment needs to be costed out for implementation by others. The average price is between $1000 - $3,000, depending on the complexity of project and amount of equipment requiring control.
- Multiple iterations of cable drawings showing all relevant low voltage cables such as network, audio visual, speaker, heating control and lighting control cables
- Layout plan drawings completed on a per subsystem basis
- initial calculations of conduit sizings for the cable bundles at the point of ingress to any equipment cabinet location
- a detailed Bill of Materials comprising a full system architecture to deliver the functionalities listed in the Project Foundation Document
- Sizings for the equipment cabinets needed to house the components (e.g. main patch & comms racks, lighting control panels, etc)
TURN-KEY RENOVATION OF A TOWN-HOUSE (less than 200sqm)
Renovation projects can have a slightly higher installation cost depending on how much of the buildings walls and ceilings are being opened up. Renovation projects also require careful testing and managing of any existing cabling, especially if it's suitable for reuse. A majority of the time repositioning of the existing incoming telco connections and any aerial/satellite connections is also required. This work needs to be completed with care so delicate fibre connections are not damaged.
The owners of a Auckland town-house want to ensure they wire for the expansion of smart home devices in the next decade while also ensuring they have high quality WiFi, fast wired internet to their video streaming media devices and excellent audio-visuals for the entertainment of their family and friends. This example includes a dedicated home theatre room, two areas of music with internet streaming access, a single remote control solution for the media room with ipad/iphone control system as a backup as well as being the main interface for controlling the two music areas source selection and volumes. It also includes distributed video in HD to two TV locations plus much more.
This is a turn-key solution which starts with listening to the clients' brief, translating this into easy-to-use technology systems, project managing and installing all of the cabling infrastructure with their building teams and then commissioning the whole system with the 'FFD' period to ensure they are 100% happy with the results.
Price Range $15,000 -$35000 inc GST
TURN-KEY RENOVATION OF A LARGE HOUSE (500sqm plus)
In this example a large house is being fully renovated and the owners wanting to ensure that they can live in it as efficiently as possible while also recognising that they will not be opening up the floors and walls for at least another 20 years. Price range $85,000 - $125,000
They decided to implement:
- a full design service to document all aspects of structured cabling layout, rack positioning, lighting panel sizing etc This can be used to support the system against in later years.
- structured cabling to provide a fast ethernet backbone for their wifi, home offices and all connected hardware (both at the point of completion and ready for future devices)
- multiple wireless access points located on all 3 levels of the house to insure full house WiFi coverage including the extensive pool and tennis court areas.
- full security system 46 zones and access control of two vehicle gates, pedestrian gate and garage doors, With audio video intercom.
- multiple CCTV cameras and dedicated recording device for 24/7 camera monitoring of the property and grounds.
- dedicated touch screens in 3 areas of the property for communication between floors as well as gate intercom communication.
- dedicated movie room, with full surround sound system
- multi-room audio in 16 areas of the property, with access to all the popular music streaming services, Spotify, Deezer etc
- they wanted multiple high definition Sky TV boxes and other sources available on the in-built TVs in the core viewing rooms and bedrooms. A total of 5 TV's all together. These are all controlled via a simple-to-use single remote from Control4.
- the client then took the support package with its integrated remote monitoring equipment, power maintenance for the main house systems and network management allowing us to give them proactive remote support for years after the installation.
TURN-KEY NEW BUILD OF A TOWNHOUSE
In this example a new stylish townhouse is being built and the owners want to ensure that they could enjoy some music in key areas of the property as well as enjoy their TV viewing experience. Simplification of the audio video systems was very important as well as insuring all the visible technology looked modern.
Price Range $35,000 - $45,000.
They decided to implement:
- a full design service to document all aspects of structured cabling layout, rack positioning and sizing etc. This can be used to support the system against in later years.
- structured cabling to provide a fast ethernet backbone for their WiFi, home offices and all connected hardware (both at the point of completion and ready for future devices)
- multiple wireless access points located on all levels of the house to insure full house WiFi coverage including the outdoor areas.
- full security system integrated with remote access and garage door control.
- music streaming system for two rooms as well as surround sound system for the occasional movie night.
- a dedicated touch screen was installed so a always charged always on always their
- they wanted high definition Sky and other sources available on the in-built TVs in the core viewing rooms and bedrooms. This is controlled via a simple-to-use single remote from Control4.
- They then took the support package with its integrated remote monitoring equipment, power maintenance for the main house systems and network management allowing us to give them proactive remote support for years after the installation.