- Dane Warner
What Does An Audio Visual Consultant Do?
When tackling your next audio visual (AV) project, you can choose to work with an audio visual consultant or directly with an audio visual integrator.
In this article, we’ll define what audio visual consultants do, what to expect from audio visual consultations, and in which situations you should work with a consultant versus an integrator.
Looking for an audio visual partner to consult on your next project? Ask Aspen’s AV experts to take a look at your idea and facility to explore possible strategies for implementation.
What is an audio visual consultant?
An audio visual consultant is an independent designer and representative who works directly with an end user or client, architect, or general contractor to evaluate their client’s needs, design an audio visual installation, and collect bids from various integrators to present to the client for installation.
Let’s dive into each of these responsibilities in depth:
Evaluate the client’s needs: Audio visual consultants are typically hired by the end user, meaning the person who will ultimately use the equipment or train those who will use the equipment, or by architects and general contractors working with new construction. It’s the role of an audio visual consultant to define the client’s goals for the space, pain points that need solutions, and budget.
Design an audio visual installation: After determining the client’s needs and assessing the space, an audio visual consultant will design an AV installation to meet those needs, which includes a detailed plan for the room’s layout, wiring, and equipment suggestions.
Collect bids from AV integrators: After completing an AV design, an audio visual consultant will assemble a bid packet, or written documentation, of their full design. This bid packet is then sent to several AV integrators, who are responsible for the execution of the consultant’s design, for them to bid on. A bid typically consists of potential equipment to use to execute the design and a quote for the project.
In the case of consulting on new construction, an audio visual consultant has some additional responsibilities that affect the overall room design. This includes recommendations on wall placement to improve room acoustics, recommendations on house lighting that may later affect theatrical lighting, placement of electrical conduits to ensure ease of plugging in AV equipment, seating arrangements in a theatre, or finally, temperature control to ventilate equipment requiring cooler temperatures.
What should a customer expect from an audio visual consultant?
The responsibilities of an audio visual consultant change before, during, and after an installation.
Sometimes also referred to as an audio visual design consultant, an audio visual consultant’s most important deliverable is a bid packet.
A bid packet details the customer’s AV system design and scope of work for an AV integrator. It should include:
A recommendation for what a system needs to accomplish and how to execute it
Best practices and standards that must be met upon a project’s completion
Line drawings that detail the room’s layout
Suggested equipment list
A requirement for the number of years an AV integrator has been in business
A requirement for the certifications an AV integrator needs to bid on a project
A requirement for a list of completed projects of similar size and scope
A recommendation for the project duration
A bid packet will mostly consist of recommendations and best practices and can also include items like weight capacity. For example, a 100-lb. speaker should be secured with equipment that holds 500 lbs. at capacity. Any less and a natural event like an earthquake that causes extra stress on rigging points might send it crashing down.
Audio visual consultants then distribute their bid packet to several AV integrators and invite them to submit bids to complete the installation. During that process, AV integrators can submit requests for information (RFIs) to clarify any questions they may have about a consultant’s recommendations.
After collecting all bids, an audio visual consultant will recommend an AV integrator to their client. Ultimately, the client makes the final hiring decision.
During an installation, an audio visual consultant will regularly check-in with the AV integrator, structural engineers, carpenters, electricians, and others participating in the hands-on execution of a project.
Part of this role includes spot checks, both announced and unannounced, when an audio visual consultant visits the installation site to ensure that plans laid out in the bid packet are being executed correctly.
Once the project is complete, the audio visual consultant will commission the system by executing performance tests and ensuring that all equipment has been installed correctly.
One example of these tests might be an impetus test to ensure cables are wired correctly or a sound pressure level (SPL) test to make sure all speakers and amplifiers can provide a certain level of volume without any distortion.
AV Consultants Vs. AV Integrators: When To Work With Each
An audio visual consultant does not sell or install any equipment, whereas an AV integrator typically has partnerships with manufacturers to source top technologies for their customers.
AV integrators are the most knowledgeable about the actual equipment that will be installed on-site and will work directly with the end user or client to bring their vision to life.
When To Work With An Audio Visual Consultant
You may want to work with an audio visual consultant for projects that include new construction, as they’re experienced in working directly with architects and general contractors to influence the design of the building and room itself.
You can usually skip working with a consultant for equipment upgrades or in cases where you have already built a strong relationship with an integrator you trust.
Aspen Custom Electronics is an experienced AV integrator in commercial spaces and has an extensive portfolio of work with new construction and equipment upgrades. We believe in designing AV solutions that connect people at moments when it means the most.
Are you looking to tackle your next AV installation with the support of certified industry experts? If so, contact us today.