Meet Your Future Partner
What do architects think about collaborating more deeply with AV consultants and integrators? We went straight to the source and heard positive feedback.
THE LITTLE THINGS
What can be especially frustrating is the fact that a few questions up-front can sometimes overcome very simple design mistakes. John Godbout, CEO and founder of AV design/build company CCS Presentation Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz., says his company is working on a huge new building in Phoenix that represents up to $3 million in AV equipment and integration. When the AV team visited the site to examine the equipment room, they realized the room lacked a doorway–there was only an opening in the floor. "If we'd worked with the architects more up-front, there sure would have been a door," Godbout says. "And guess what? There was no air-conditioning duct."
Though considerable progress has been made in persuading architects of the need to meet with AV professionals early in the process–both by individual AV companies as well as by InfoComm International through its CTS for AV initiative (ctsforav.com)–it's still incumbent upon AV companies to take the first step when necessary. Godbout says that CCS Presentation Systems has people whose job it is to reach out to architects and general contractors (GC). "When we hear about a job, we'll call the GC, find out who the architect is, and call them to try and secure an up-front meeting," he says. "Sometimes we can, sometimes we can't."
For all the efforts by AV pros, and for all the receptiveness of today's architects, there's still room to improve collaboration betweem the two sides. Godbout says only about one-quarter of the projects CCS works on would qualify as optimal partnerships between his company and the architect. But just a couple years ago, when CCS started actively reaching out to architects, none of the projects the company worked on were true collaborations.
"Some companies started earlier, but we're just getting into it," Godbout says. He recognizes that AV consultants have been at it even longer, helping architects realize the potential of advance AV systems. But still, he says, "Pro AV integrators are the function to the architect's form."
Craig Park, FSMPS, Assoc. AIA, is a principal with national technology consultants The Sextant Group. He trained as an architect and has practiced as an AV consultant for more than 25 years. Pro AV editor Brad Grimes contributed to this story.