In this world of people either doing everything sort of a handyman type of approach, versus the world of commercial work with union labor where you cannot install a nail without a carpenter, there is this example of how to do it right using three main ingredients. In proper alphabetical and chronological order it would be- architects, builders and designers. The architect wants to visualize and draw out the entire project, both from the outside in and vice versa. The builder wants to see this dream come to life while staying on budget. Lastly the designer want to see the finished product have a special look and feel which is correct for each client.
This all sounds really good and for the homes in the top 10 percent of the market this is the only way it should be done. The problem arises when there is a limited budget on the home upgrade, remodel or build which, when you are talking about track homes, there is very little input from the perspective buyer as the home is owned by the builder/developer until the close of escrow. Many of these track home developers-builders offer pre-wire for low voltage applications which go beyond the simple running of a cable-coax to each room of TV interest. Generally, if you are in the market for a track home and are interested in a nice home system, this is a very good place to spend a couple thousand dollars on sound and video prewire.
The real problem comes in with the client who wants it all but does not want to spend the money to pay for a quality builder who might recommend the quality architect (or vice versa) who may recommend a quality designer (or triple vice versa). These steps cost real money- and if you do not want to spend the money for the items they would recommend, it is all in vain.
My work as a low voltage contractor is primarily in the builder’s area. However, in many cases I end up being all three. I have talked clients out of many a bad idea over the years. The critical part of an installation, in my mind, is to make it look like it should be there. Hanging box speakers on walls is one example of what should not be done. So listen carefully to what informed people say. And by all means, if you can afford it, use a designer, builder and architect for the look feel and finish which no one person can attain.