Houston Texas - New Construction Pre-Wire - Looking for Contractor - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-28-2020, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Houston Texas - New Construction Pre-Wire - Looking for Contractor

I am about to start a home build and I am looking for recommendations for someone that is good but fair pricing in the Houston Texas area.

I am looking for someone that can manage the pre-wire design and instillation and give me feedback on what i need in comparison to what i am wanting to do.

From there - I think if i have a firm design plan, and the wire is already ran to a central location, i can install the hardware. (connecting wires, installing speakers...ect..)

I need more help with ensuring i plan this appropriately with detailed drawings, as well as someone to actually run the wire.

Do you have any recommendations for folks in Houston? (specifically 1 hour north of downtown in Magnolia).

I am looking to do:
1) Whole home audio - lots of zones - large house
2) possibly shades in the master bedroom
3) control4 or something similar
4) want to be able to control garage doors
5) alarm system
6) cameras
....ect.....

any recommendations on fairly priced contractors is much appreciated. I assume if i have a very detailed design with drawings, i could hire nearly anyone to run the wire?
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-28-2020, 07:20 AM
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If you are looking at an Automation control system capability...then that's the first thing that gets chosen.

Then, the list of functions you are looking to implement room by room. You are starting that list now...put it in a spreadsheet room by room. Get a DWG design file from your architect. That is useful too.

Then the components to use that integrate well with the control system that achieve your function list.
Then the electrical plan as it needs to support the components you chose (plus future proofing with empty conduit et al).
Then the wiring (what you are now asking about)
Then the installation of components (you? dealer?)
Then the programming (you? dealer? both?)
Then the testing.
then the use. (you)

With all that said, if you are looking at a full control system, you should be asking for who is a good dealer in the X area and not for a wiring contractor.
Unless you decide to use an automation system that supports DIY. Control4 is dealer only install. You might find a dealer that will work with you.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-28-2020, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyc1423 View Post
I am about to start a home build and I am looking for recommendations for someone that is good but fair pricing in the Houston Texas area.

I am looking for someone that can manage the pre-wire design and instillation and give me feedback on what i need in comparison to what i am wanting to do.

From there - I think if i have a firm design plan, and the wire is already ran to a central location, i can install the hardware. (connecting wires, installing speakers...ect..)

I need more help with ensuring i plan this appropriately with detailed drawings, as well as someone to actually run the wire.

Do you have any recommendations for folks in Houston? (specifically 1 hour north of downtown in Magnolia).

I am looking to do:
1) Whole home audio - lots of zones - large house
2) possibly shades in the master bedroom
3) control4 or something similar
4) want to be able to control garage doors
5) alarm system
6) cameras
....ect.....

any recommendations on fairly priced contractors is much appreciated. I assume if i have a very detailed design with drawings, i could hire nearly anyone to run the wire?
https://www.strotekllc.com/ - especially if you want to go into the C4 world. They can prewire and do C4 and do all the things you mention. I believe they are just South of the city of Houston but do the entire Metro area.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-28-2020, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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should i pay for someone to do this, or could i educate myself rather easily and do it on my own? (i am sure i can just call someone (dealer) and buy a control4 myself).

what do they charge for running wires?

i worry if i have someone do it they will mark up every single speaker i have. Example i could buy a sonnance array for 2 grand and they charge me 2,200...that will add up very quickly.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-28-2020, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyc1423 View Post
should i pay for someone to do this, or could i educate myself rather easily and do it on my own? (i am sure i can just call someone (dealer) and buy a control4 myself).

what do they charge for running wires?

i worry if i have someone do it they will mark up every single speaker i have. Example i could buy a sonnance array for 2 grand and they charge me 2,200...that will add up very quickly.
Well you are asking a loaded question - can you educate yourself on running wires? I dont know your personal skill set. Are you hand with tools? Are you comfortable on ladders at tall heights or crawling around crawl spaces? Do you have the time to do it? If it is a new build, you need the wires up before sheetrocking, and the contractors are on a schedule, can you meet that schedule?

What do people charge for running wires? I can only speak in my area - northern suburbs of NYC - to get any decent contractor to my house (plumber, electrician, alarm etc) it is $125-$150/hr for the main guy and maybe some helpers are closer to $50-$80/hr. Though 2x I've paid for wire runs and they gave me flat fees per run that included running the wire, terminating the wire, testing the wire and hooking up both ends to their hardware. I was maybe paying $150-$250 per line depending on speaker vs low voltage vs ethernet (cost of wire itself varies), distance of runs and complexity of runs. I have drop ceiling in my basement and walls were exposed so my runs were easier. You have an open shell, and you are in a cheaper market, your runs may be less expensive. But I got a firm price on the total - they just priced it per run and averaged it out, some runs were easier some were longer, etc. They just said on avg its this price x quantity for speaker runs, ethernet, etc

From my basic knowledge, most municipalities are ok without licensed electricians running low voltage, but first I'd check to see what your local town requires. Then yes you can educate yourself and run wires. Its easier when walls are open vs closed.

Re: c4, you cannot buy it yourself, it is dealer only. So I think that is what you meant but I am just clarifying.

I am going to speak in general terms, most C4 dealers can do your low voltage wiring. It may be cheaper for an electrician to do it only because they are already on site doing your electric wiring so you may get a better bang for your buck. But then if there is an issue, the AV guy will point fingers at the electrician and so on. So save a dollar here, potential headache over there.

Re: mark up, most dealers will spec out "custom install" hardware that as an end user you cannot easily go online or in a store and buy new. Does not make the products better or worse, just less of a known mark up. Which do not forget, whoever is selling you that Sonnace speaker is getting a mark up too. That said any good dealer should be willing to work with you. I'd assume most would let you buy your own speakers since those are really a "dumb" product and does not impact the system. They may not want you to buy your own router because they know brand X and to learn brand Y (what you want to buy) is a learning curve, and if there are issues they cannot support it well. There is real "support" with a speaker, I hope you can see the difference.

I am sure you spoke to 2-3 builders before starting this project. In that light, speak to 2-3 dealers. C4 dealers, Savant dealers, Elan, etc. Get some ideas of what they offer, get some ideas if they will be flexible with non critical things like speakers, etc. Some may say they need to own everything A-Z to ensure its perfectly delivered and honestly, cannot fault them for having that mindset. Others may say buy everything and we'll take on the headache to hook it up (an extreme you likely wont find) and then some are in the middle.
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post #6 of 7 Old 03-01-2020, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ezlotogura View Post
Well you are asking a loaded question - can you educate yourself on running wires? I dont know your personal skill set. Are you hand with tools? Are you comfortable on ladders at tall heights or crawling around crawl spaces? Do you have the time to do it? If it is a new build, you need the wires up before sheetrocking, and the contractors are on a schedule, can you meet that schedule?

What do people charge for running wires? I can only speak in my area - northern suburbs of NYC - to get any decent contractor to my house (plumber, electrician, alarm etc) it is $125-$150/hr for the main guy and maybe some helpers are closer to $50-$80/hr. Though 2x I've paid for wire runs and they gave me flat fees per run that included running the wire, terminating the wire, testing the wire and hooking up both ends to their hardware. I was maybe paying $150-$250 per line depending on speaker vs low voltage vs ethernet (cost of wire itself varies), distance of runs and complexity of runs. I have drop ceiling in my basement and walls were exposed so my runs were easier. You have an open shell, and you are in a cheaper market, your runs may be less expensive. But I got a firm price on the total - they just priced it per run and averaged it out, some runs were easier some were longer, etc. They just said on avg its this price x quantity for speaker runs, ethernet, etc

From my basic knowledge, most municipalities are ok without licensed electricians running low voltage, but first I'd check to see what your local town requires. Then yes you can educate yourself and run wires. Its easier when walls are open vs closed.

Re: c4, you cannot buy it yourself, it is dealer only. So I think that is what you meant but I am just clarifying.

I am going to speak in general terms, most C4 dealers can do your low voltage wiring. It may be cheaper for an electrician to do it only because they are already on site doing your electric wiring so you may get a better bang for your buck. But then if there is an issue, the AV guy will point fingers at the electrician and so on. So save a dollar here, potential headache over there.

Re: mark up, most dealers will spec out "custom install" hardware that as an end user you cannot easily go online or in a store and buy new. Does not make the products better or worse, just less of a known mark up. Which do not forget, whoever is selling you that Sonnace speaker is getting a mark up too. That said any good dealer should be willing to work with you. I'd assume most would let you buy your own speakers since those are really a "dumb" product and does not impact the system. They may not want you to buy your own router because they know brand X and to learn brand Y (what you want to buy) is a learning curve, and if there are issues they cannot support it well. There is real "support" with a speaker, I hope you can see the difference.

I am sure you spoke to 2-3 builders before starting this project. In that light, speak to 2-3 dealers. C4 dealers, Savant dealers, Elan, etc. Get some ideas of what they offer, get some ideas if they will be flexible with non critical things like speakers, etc. Some may say they need to own everything A-Z to ensure its perfectly delivered and honestly, cannot fault them for having that mindset. Others may say buy everything and we'll take on the headache to hook it up (an extreme you likely wont find) and then some are in the middle.

This is really good feedback. i guess what i am looking at for options are: (hoping to get your feedback)

1) I have only found TYM that does this but they offer a design service for like $800 bucks. I send them my floor plans, tell them what i am trying to accomplish, and they draw up very specific plans based on what we have discussed. from there I am hopeful i can give those plans to someone to run all the wiring for me. Once ready, i would install all the hardware. TYM sends me a contorl 4 pre-programmed based on my needs so i would be buying the control 4 through them, and everything else online (trying to find the best discounts)
I think they charge like $800 for the service + control4 cost
https://www.tymhomes.com/new-design/
Note: if someone knows anyone else that does this same thing let me know.

vs.

2) Turnkeying everything through a local dealer. Prewire and hardware. It will be hard for me to compare without understanding the cost of wire. For example if i am quoted $6,500 to pre-wre the house i would be unsure how much of that is labor and how much of that is actual wire cost.



2)
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-02-2020, 05:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckyc1423 View Post
This is really good feedback. i guess what i am looking at for options are: (hoping to get your feedback)

1) I have only found TYM that does this but they offer a design service for like $800 bucks. I send them my floor plans, tell them what i am trying to accomplish, and they draw up very specific plans based on what we have discussed. from there I am hopeful i can give those plans to someone to run all the wiring for me. Once ready, i would install all the hardware. TYM sends me a contorl 4 pre-programmed based on my needs so i would be buying the control 4 through them, and everything else online (trying to find the best discounts)
I think they charge like $800 for the service + control4 cost
https://www.tymhomes.com/new-design/
Note: if someone knows anyone else that does this same thing let me know.

vs.

2) Turnkeying everything through a local dealer. Prewire and hardware. It will be hard for me to compare without understanding the cost of wire. For example if i am quoted $6,500 to pre-wre the house i would be unsure how much of that is labor and how much of that is actual wire cost.



2)
Not that it means much, but in 6+ years as a very geeky hands on power end user for C4 I've never heard of TYM or that service. And of course it is hard to compare apples to oranges. A local person may not charge for design fees, but their time to do the design may be baked into the cost somewhere else. Also not sure if they send the hardware preconfigured or configure on site, I could see pros/cons of doing it that way but that is neither here nor there.

I've had 2 big wiring projects in my house, one done by original C4 dealer, and one done by electrician. Electrician did it a bit cheaper and quicker - my c4 did guy a nicer guy terminating all the wires, putting the finishing touches on the wiring at the AV Rack, etc. so they did a prettier job.

I wouldn't try to compare that online services vs a local person. I'd get 2-3 quotes for the project (Be it online people or local people) and this is what I've learned the hard way about homeownership - the cheapest option isn't always the best. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't. References of previous clients and the personality meshing between you and the vendor/contractor or super important. You need to be able to work with these people. Call me crazy, if you couldn't have a meal or a drink with them they may not be a good sub for you, especially someone in A/V as this is more of a personal service customized for you vs a 4,000 ft colonial home so we know the lighting plan and we are just going to stick up a bunch of cans in the normal places. Not putting down electricians, but 80% of their job is standard, 20% is customized for you. With AV its way more customized towards you. If you get good references, if you like the person, if the write in the proposal all the stuff you request as part of the job and it is clear they will deliver it, go with that vendor.
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