What I'd do differently next time. - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 885 Old 11-24-2007, 12:19 PM
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When designing my HT, I asked my CI whether to use wall mounted or built in side speakers. He said that wall mounted had a better sound. What we did not consider is that people bump into the speakers walking to their chairs. Haven't crashed down yet but it is just a matter of time.
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post #182 of 885 Old 11-26-2007, 08:49 AM
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I designed a corner component cabinet for my theater. The top houses components, and the bottom has room for about 300 dvd's. Once everything is set up, it works really great. I designed plenty of ventilation into it, so that's not a concern.

However, getting to the back of my receiver is a major pain. Next time, I'll include a hidden room where I can access the backs of all my components easily.
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post #183 of 885 Old 11-26-2007, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick R View Post

I designed a corner component cabinet for my theater. The top houses components, and the bottom has room for about 300 dvd's. Once everything is set up, it works really great. I designed plenty of ventilation into it, so that's not a concern.

However, getting to the back of my receiver is a major pain. Next time, I'll include a hidden room where I can access the backs of all my components easily.

Or a removable panel:




-Steve
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post #184 of 885 Old 12-10-2007, 09:24 AM
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This thread has saved me some headaches already. As I type the drywall guys are hanging the sheets on the entire basement (53 sheets, some as long as 16 feet!). They told me that it might take the two guys almost 2 weeks to hang, tape and mud the entire basement. It's not going to be cheap but money well spent IMHO.

Now that I am thinking about it I would of put larger ENT conduit in for wire runs. Currently have 1". I elected to zip tie my HDMI cable to the outside of the PJ conduit before they drywalled since I know I will need that one for sure. Wanted to save some room in the conduit. Just hoping that it's not a bum cable.

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post #185 of 885 Old 12-10-2007, 02:06 PM
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I'm sure someone's already listed it...measure the length of cables needed rather than just estimating it. I thought I was going way over my needs but turns out (of course!) that my cables were a little short in a couple of locations. Thankfully shipping longer cables didn't take too long (from BlueJeansCable) but it meant that the contractor had to put in a metal conduit so that it wouldn't hold up construction.

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post #186 of 885 Old 12-11-2007, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driving_Hamster View Post

This thread has saved me some headaches already. As I type the drywall guys are hanging the sheets on the entire basement (53 sheets, some as long as 16 feet!). They told me that it might take the two guys almost 2 weeks to hang, tape and mud the entire basement. It's not going to be cheap but money well spent IMHO.

Now that I am thinking about it I would of put larger ENT conduit in for wire runs. Currently have 1". I elected to zip tie my HDMI cable to the outside of the PJ conduit before they drywalled since I know I will need that one for sure. Wanted to save some room in the conduit. Just hoping that it's not a bum cable.


Yeah, connector heads can make that tight, especially with more than one cable.

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post #187 of 885 Old 12-19-2007, 09:31 AM
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I installed a black Armstrong dropped ceiling and made one big boo boo doing it. As I installed the tiles a few got dusty finger smudges on them. "No problem" I thought, "just take a clean slightly damp cloth or sponge and wipe the tiles clean." Wrong! This left even worse looking water marks on the tiles. It changed the finish to a duller look where the tiles were wiped, and the black finish took on a lighter dark gray appearance. What a mess. I tried painting over the mess but that too only made it look worse. At best the painted tiles look much different than the factory finish tiles. At worst, the finish is inconsistent and splotchy. The only fix was to remove the messy tiles and replace them with new. I now have an extra box of ugly black ceiling tiles.
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post #188 of 885 Old 12-27-2007, 11:37 AM
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I haven't read all this thread.

I didn't really have a whole lot of say in my room. It was new construction, but not custom, and few changes were allowed. Basically the shell of the room is 36' by almost 14' with sloped ceilings (8 feet high basically).

I added a bathroom to the back of the room. And there's an AC chase in the front wall, so I'm now working with a 29x14 shell.

I planned pretty well. I added plenty of outlets in the ceiling and along the front wall. Also added an outlet near the screen location in case I use an electric screen.

I was able to do some stuff in the shell before drywall. I didn't have (or know what kind of) cables yet, but ran 1 1/2 conduit to 2 locations (1 in the ceiling, 1 in the side wall).
Should have run 2 inch conduit

I put two outlets on the ceiling to make it easier to switch projectors later.
:up:

The AC chase on the front wall was only on 1 side of the wall. Had them add a second duplicate blank chase on the other side. Extremely important for mounting my screen.
:up:

Chose a perfect carpet for the room (dark burgundy). Actually, my wife picked that out.
:up:

After move-in, regretted not putting in any floor outlets. Initially thought it'd be nice for a floor mounted projector, but realize ceiling mounting is sooo much better.

I measured the speaker wire a tad short. It works, but adding a couple extra feet would have been much better. I ran that wire, so the fault is definitely all mine.

I had a friend wire ethernet and coax in the room. 4 coax in a single location and 4 ethernet (2 in 1 location, 1 in ceiling, 1 on side wall). Those wiring needs have proven sufficient. I could use more ethernet in one location, but nothing a simple switch won't fix. It's a $20 mistake I can live with.

There are two mistakes that I regret though.

1) I've got a nice large landing area right outside the door. Great location for a popcorn machine. It's outside the room (no smell in the room, plenty of light in that location) but - I don't have any electricity over there. I can fix that later, but it'd have been a lot simpler to add that during construction. Never thought about that during any planning though.

2) My first foray into front projection. I've ALWAYS had the equipment in the front of the room. I'm just used to pointing the remote towards the front so surely the equipment must be there, right?
I've got a great location next to the bathroom in the back. I've got power there in a nice little nook about 2 feet deep and 3 1/2 feet wide. Equipment would have been PERFECT there. But I probably should have run an extra outlet back there, and I didn't run any ethernet or coax back there.

Those blinking lights in the front are less than ideal. And it's hard to get to the equipment (everything is low - below the screen).

I may eventually try to move everything to the back of the room. Maybe.

Live and learn.

I was able to deal with the cable in the conduit. Painful, but it worked out.
My only real

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post #189 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 02:04 PM
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I moved about a year ago. In my old house, we had 1 big open room for the theater and entertainment area. My new house is a bit bigger and we're designing a dedicated 20'x16' room. I learned a lot from my last theater:

1. Estimate the wire length as others have said, then add a fudge factor (5-10% is what I'm doing), particulalry for pre-made cables. I underestimated my subwoofer cables and when my rack pulled out and turned, the cable pulled out and was hard to get back in.

2. If you're going to pre-wire and don't know where to put your subs, use wall plates with RCA jacks (I found them at Home Depot) in alternative locations. I'm now using HSU 1220s, which are passive subs with a seperate amp. They use speaker wire. This time, I'm pre-wiring for both the passive subs and future self-powered subs. Rather than having to fish for wire in the wall, I'm using wall jacks for almost everything. Audioholics may frown on this, but that's okay.

3. Projector outlet. I put it in the ceiling and covered it with drywall with no access panel. Not very bright.

4. I put the rack in the front - although it would have been hard to figure out in a big open room where else to put it, but I ad to turn on a light to see wha I was doing, and if in the middle of a movie, it disturbed everyone.

5. U shaped sectionals do not make good home theater seats. Go with either straight couches or something like Berklines. My wife and I compromised on the sectional last time, and the people sitting on the side had to turn their head to see the screen, making it really a 3-4 seat theater.

6. Make the rack bigger then you need. I added one shelf more than I needed last time, but them decided to add a video game, and wanted to add a place for records and a turn table (to go retro), the sub amp and other stuff. In you'e into this hobby, you'll find something to buy and need more space.

7. To NOT built in shelves to the sides of the front wall. This was another compromise. We put in display shelves for things like nice vases. Another mistake! I could never get them to stop vibrating.

8. To add an ethernet and phone line connection to the rack. I didn't have one last time, and now I will - and I'll make it accessible. I may even have 2 ethernet cables run for a PS3 and another component.

9. To design the rack in a way that allows a light to be added so you can turn it (and only it) on when you need to see in there in the dark.

10. Darker carpet. I used beige.

11. A black screen wall.

12. A shelf mount instead of a ceiling mount for the pj for a cleaner look.

13. Simple lights with an IR or RF remote that I can program into my universal simply. My lights were simple last time, but all manual.

14. A rack power supply/surge protector. I never had a power issue, noise from power, spike or anything of the sort. But when I wanted to access cords, I had to put my hand into the back of the rack and fish around. It was a pain.

I think that's about it. It seems worse than it was. It still blew me, my wife, kids and friends away every time, but a few nits and it could be been even better.

I hope that helps someone.

Jonathan
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post #190 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


I asked my CI whether to use wall mounted or built in side speakers. He said that wall mounted had a better sound.

This is non-sense to begin with, but when your CI starts making "glittering generalities" like this, or starts saying things that don't make sense and not offering an explanation that falls clearly into the realm of good science, find someone else.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #191 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

This is non-sense to begin with, but when your CI starts making "glittering generalities" like this, or starts saying things that don't make sense and not offering an explanation that falls clearly into the realm of good science, find someone else.

It is total nonsense and so is what the poster reports of having the theater designed in such a way that people can bang into them. However, I think it's a bit hard to judge that type of statement out of context. Most of the open back in-wall speakers on the market are seriously flawed compared to a well designed box speaker. So absent the use of an excellent in-wall speaker such as a Triad Gold in-wall surround (or a similar variant from another company), or absent the ability to build a "real" speaker into a wall or column, or absent the budget for a good enclosed in-wall, the statement might not be unreasonable.

If a person for example had a budget of say $500 a pair for the surround speakers, I think there would be a hack of a lot more options for good sound using an on-wall speaker. I do not know of many (any?) good in-walls in that price range that I would want to use for a dedicated theater.
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post #192 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Key phrase ... "glittering generalities". Something from J-school.
When an educated professional doesn't have it in his vernacular or approach to a consumer, he is not educating, he is not being professional, the consumer cannot make an "informed consent", and one simply needs to wonder what other b.s. has been provided to a consumer simply attempting to get the best value for his dollar (regardless of how many of those $$$ is in the budget).

Sorry folks. I have a very low tolerance for people in our industry pulling this stuff. It ruins it for everyone.

Several years ago a poll was run asking people to list their perception of the least trustworthy professions. Audio/Video sales people were second to last. Remodeling contractors were last. In the CI business, we loose on both counts.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #193 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Several years ago a poll was run asking people to list their perception of the least trustworthy professions. Audio/Video sales people were second to last. Remodeling contractors were last. In the CI business, we loose on both counts.

ya, Im gonna have to argee. One of the things I did right was "do it myself" (for about $7K) when I was getting contractor quotes for the same thing at $35K

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post #194 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Key phrase ... "glittering generalities". Something from J-school.
When an educated professional doesn't have it in his vernacular or approach to a consumer, he is not educating, he is not being professional, the consumer cannot make an "informed consent", and one simply needs to wonder what other b.s. has been provided to a consumer simply attempting to get the best value for his dollar (regardless of how many of those $$$ is in the budget).

I agree Dennis, I was simply pointing out that based on the very limited statement by the poster I would not jump all over the statement without knowing the full context within which the discussion took place.
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post #195 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Several years ago a poll was run asking people to list their perception of the least trustworthy professions. Audio/Video sales people were second to last. Remodeling contractors were last. In the CI business, we loose on both counts.

An A/V science poll or a "real" poll ? I don't know if I can give the poll much value if it rated A/V sales people and remodelers worse than car sales people .
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post #196 of 885 Old 12-28-2007, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Car sales people were third from the bottom. I don't recall who commissioned the poll; but, it was along the lines of "Business Week" or "Time".

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #197 of 885 Old 12-29-2007, 11:11 PM
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T(i)ts up=bankrupt=out of business, or it can also mean dead

In techie circles, we prefer the expression "casters up."
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post #198 of 885 Old 12-29-2007, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

If a person for example had a budget of say $500 a pair for the surround speakers, I think there would be a hack of a lot more options for good sound using an on-wall speaker. I do not know of many (any?) good in-walls in that price range that I would want to use for a dedicated theater.

As I recall, my surrounds cost about $600 each, they are Atlantic Technology 8200e surrounds.
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post #199 of 885 Old 01-04-2008, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Several years ago a poll was run asking people to list their perception of the least trustworthy professions. Audio/Video sales people were second to last. Remodeling contractors were last. In the CI business, we loose on both counts.


This may be semantics, but isn't being last on the list a good thing.


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post #200 of 885 Old 01-15-2008, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tleavit View Post

2) Window: I should have framed over the window on the theater side of my basement. ITs rattling like a SOB with heavy Bass (can only hear it rattling from the outside, not the inside). It would have been a fight with the wife though.

This option was recommended to me by a friend and I got great results not only controlling the annoying rattling from the window next to my subwoofer, but it helped with noise coming from the outside as well and with any light coming in...
http://www.asc-soundproof.com/windowplug-flyer.pdf

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post #201 of 885 Old 01-15-2008, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Luis5150 View Post

This option was recommended to me by a friend and I got great results not only controlling the annoying rattling from the window next to my subwoofer, but it helped with noise coming from the outside as well and with any light coming in...
http://www.asc-soundproof.com/windowplug-flyer.pdf

Awesome! Thanks! These guys are within driving distance for me. Heck, we have an office in Eugene

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post #202 of 885 Old 01-16-2008, 11:46 AM
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Here is a list of my "wish i could've done it differentlies":

-Locate the speaker terminal plates carefully if using floor standing speakers. My cable are not directly behind the speakers so you see a little of the cable
-Run way more cable than you think. I changed projectors and now wish i had another HDMI or DVI to my ceiling mount
-Dont have any direct lighting. Make it all indirect. And have the ability to have lights on at the back of the room but not the front by the screen
-I love my cove lighting. Great effect. I bet the star ceilings are amazing.
-Configure remote lighting. Its very convenient.

Epson 6020UB Projector
Dalite Contour HighPower Manual Pull Down
Denon AVR3311CI
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B&W CDM-7NT Speakers
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post #203 of 885 Old 02-01-2008, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahtanoj View Post

13. Simple lights with an IR or RF remote that I can program into my universal simply. My lights were simple last time, but all manual.

FYI- this is very easy to retrofit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis5150 View Post

This option was recommended to me by a friend and I got great results not only controlling the annoying rattling from the window next to my subwoofer, but it helped with noise coming from the outside as well and with any light coming in...
http://www.asc-soundproof.com/windowplug-flyer.pdf

Awesome- I was wrestling on whether to cover the existing windows when I finish the room or making something like this. I'm glad to see that there is a commercial product, though the bright metal handles stick out.

CJ

coneilliv at aol dot com


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post #204 of 885 Old 02-02-2008, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gdc View Post

Next time:

-ventilation. I have good airflow in, but the HVAC contractor didn't deal with exhausting stale air. I will have to install some hack to vent stale air somehow.

-lighting automation. Crestron was completely out of my price range, yet I didn't find out about lesser cost alternatives. It's really a hassle to get up and fumble in the dark for the light switch after/during a movie.



Did your HVAC d00d not put in cold air returns?

I went with Maestro IRs not too bad so far! SUPER affordable @ ~$35-40/each
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post #205 of 885 Old 02-09-2008, 04:28 PM
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I chose a general contractor based on a reference (from a fellow AVSer). I did it the way my friend did by agreeing to pay an hourly rate plus parts (I know, I know, it rarely works out in the customers favour). The reason I did that was because the dedicated room had some unusual construction (double drywall with non-overlapping seams with green glue in between and isolated from Isomax hangers. Fabric walls etc... Design by Rives Audio with diffusors builtin etc....). I figured because it worked for my friend it would be fine. I was given a ballpark time estimate of mid-January for completion. Based on that, I figured the hourly rate thing would be fine. Well mid-January came and went and we blew through a couple more deadlines at which point I realized that I didn't really have any recourse. It seemed to my wife and I that productivity was slowing down. Finally, I sat down and did up a contract for the remaining work and settled on a dollar number that was probably way too high. He was doing a pretty good job but I felt that he was wasting a bit of time etc..... If I fired him it would be a pita to find someone else to finish up so I just ate it on this one. In the end I don't know if I significantly overpaid for the job. It has been damn expensive. Problem was also that I didn't really set a budget. He knew I was an MD so he probably figured that the money supply was endless (wrong!) which was partly my fault because I waited too long to straighten things out.

Things to do differently and learn from:

1. The contractor has been in business longer than you and is much smarter than you in business matters. You must realize this when designing the contract. Do your research first and don't cut corners when doing it. Never assume that they have your best interests at heart. They are just trying to make a living and will try to maximize their income. Nothing wrong with that, just don't think that because you're "friends" that they'll cut you a good deal.

2. Even if someone has been referred and has done good work, get a contract anyway. I don't know what recourse there is when deadlines are missed and I'd be interested in hearing from other people what they think. From talking to my friends, it seems that it's very common to miss deadlines and go over budget and you just have to live with it.

3. Itemize things to be done and try to get a quote from multiple sources even if you think that your construction is unique (ha ha like silly me!)

4. Listen to your dad and father-in-law when they tell you that they don't think it's a good idea to do the hourly rate thing - they've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt.

Hopefully there will be closure real soon and I can post some lovely pics of my setup...

Design by Rives...dollars by The Bogg

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post #206 of 885 Old 02-09-2008, 05:19 PM
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I chose a general contractor based on a reference (from a fellow AVSer). I did it the way my friend did by agreeing to pay an hourly rate plus parts (I know, I know, it rarely works out in the customers favour). The reason I did that was because the dedicated room had some unusual construction (double drywall with non-overlapping seams with green glue in between and isolated from Isomax hangers. Fabric walls etc... Design by Rives Audio with diffusors builtin etc....). I figured because it worked for my friend it would be fine. I was given a ballpark time estimate of mid-January for completion. Based on that, I figured the hourly rate thing would be fine. Well mid-January came and went and we blew through a couple more deadlines at which point I realized that I didn't really have any recourse. It seemed to my wife and I that productivity was slowing down. Finally, I sat down and did up a contract for the remaining work and settled on a dollar number that was probably way too high. He was doing a pretty good job but I felt that he was wasting a bit of time etc..... If I fired him it would be a pita to find someone else to finish up so I just ate it on this one. In the end I don't know if I significantly overpaid for the job. It has been damn expensive. Problem was also that I didn't really set a budget. He knew I was an MD so he probably figured that the money supply was endless (wrong!) which was partly my fault because I waited too long to straighten things out.

Things to do differently and learn from:

1. The contractor has been in business longer than you and is much smarter than you in business matters. You must realize this when designing the contract. Do your research first and don't cut corners when doing it. Never assume that they have your best interests at heart. They are just trying to make a living and will try to maximize their income. Nothing wrong with that, just don't think that because you're "friends" that they'll cut you a good deal.

2. Even if someone has been referred and has done good work, get a contract anyway. I don't know what recourse there is when deadlines are missed and I'd be interested in hearing from other people what they think. From talking to my friends, it seems that it's very common to miss deadlines and go over budget and you just have to live with it.

3. Itemize things to be done and try to get a quote from multiple sources even if you think that your construction is unique (ha ha like silly me!)

4. Listen to your dad and father-in-law when they tell you that they don't think it's a good idea to do the hourly rate thing - they've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt.

Hopefully there will be closure real soon and I can post some lovely pics of my setup...

Ha! I did exactly the same thing and could have written the exact same points with the same tone as you. My contractor's a good guy and does good work... he and his wife have become friends even. But, they do want to make money. The difference from you is that he built my theater only as part of the whole damned HOUSE done as time and material. I thought I was being so smart. He said, "It's not going to work." He was right. It was stressful toward the end and I probably paid 10 to 15% more than a fixed bid. But I also got some interesting upgrades options. AND I got that 16' by 22' dedicated home theater with the 10' wide SMX screen and JVC RS1 projector! It turned out awesome.

Same lesson: Don'e go time & materials! Dumb-me!
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post #207 of 885 Old 02-10-2008, 04:49 AM
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Interesting comments about NOT going with T&M. I was thinking about doing time and materials for only the electrical work, because I wanted to purchase some of my own materials and don't know my exact electrical requirements. Would anyone advise against that approach?
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post #208 of 885 Old 02-10-2008, 07:57 AM
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Interesting comments about NOT going with T&M. I was thinking about doing time and materials for only the electrical work, because I wanted to purchase some of my own materials and don't know my exact electrical requirements. Would anyone advise against that approach?

Small jobs... I'm not sure. At some point there's a dividing line. Like, if you hired a plumber to fix your sink and asked for a contract, that would be silly. Wait... you DO sign an estimate for that. So I don't know for small jobs. I hope someone else chimes in. I'd like the input myself.
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post #209 of 885 Old 02-10-2008, 10:57 AM
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I am in the building industry and all I can say is ... do your research and be specific as to who you hire

what I mean is ... if DIY is not your thing then get one of the guys on here or a reputable HT designer to do the plans

then if you need framing ... get 3 quotes and hire a framer

then a electrician ... get 3 quotes and hire a electrician ( be specific based on the above plan and make sure they quote for the complete job ) ... to save a few bucks here you can get them to quote including things like HDMI or without ( see monoprice or bluejean cable )

then drywall ... same as above get 3 quotes and hire it as a complete contract

MOST important here is 2 things

make sure they provide references ... and check the references ... go see the workmanship

secondly NEVER pay for the job up front ... pay it out as half up front and half on completion ... if the trade wont go for that arrangement then keep looking for a new trade ... any trade that wont go for that deal is sure to give you either shoddy workmanship or else wont complete the work

I hope that helps those considering a HT build in the future

PS ... if you have any DIY skills at all do as much of the build yourself and be sure to get a building permit
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post #210 of 885 Old 02-10-2008, 12:37 PM
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Interesting comments about NOT going with T&M. I was thinking about doing time and materials for only the electrical work, because I wanted to purchase some of my own materials and don't know my exact electrical requirements. Would anyone advise against that approach?


Maybe a T&M with a "not to exceed" price so you don't get riped off?

Rob

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