With a proven track record of over 25-years success, our process and methods are quite unique and thoroughly understand how the DESIGN/BUILD and DESIGN/BID options work. We know what they don't want you to know! HOWAVL is not a mail-order or "dot com" retailer with an extensive inventory of equipment to sell. We're also not an integration firm with a sales-driven agenda of any kind. The mail-order and "dot-com" retailers don't have access (or the knowledge) to contractor-grade products while integration organizations have a more narrowly focused product line with less options to choose from. Understand the ultimate goal of any sales-driven organization is, ultimately, to sell your ministry an extensive list of equipment and rarely integrating any existing hardware you're currently using. But planning your facility's updates and upgrades is far more than just a list of equipment, and that's where the design process comes in. The traditional design process can be broken down into the following two categories:
The DESIGN-BUILD process is the most preferred path an AVL integrator wants to take because it guarantees, by contract, you're ministry will do business with their organization. The integrator will provide a "scope of work" that outlines the general work to be performed, often with a basic list of the equipment to be installed. Upon completion of the design, a purchase and installation contract will be presented where the church agrees to purchase and install all equipment through the integrator. In other words, this is a "turn-key" approach. You can expect to pay design fees anywhere from 10% to 25% (or higher) of the entire cost of the project. For example a $250,000 AVL upgrade should cost between $25,000 and $62,500 in design costs alone. This is what we call the "arrest, judge, and jury" approach as they provide all design, all equipment, and all installation without any ability to compare costs and pricing that can be established via a bid process. Because there is a lack of checks and balances, this direction is highly profitable for the integrator often working in profit margins between upwards of 30% - 40%! Most manufacturers that deal in contractor-grade installations offer a "DEAL REGISTRATION" program that allows the AVL integrator to specify the list of equipment to the manufacturer by registering the client's information as a design-build service. In turn for the AVL integrator recommending a solution involving their products, they will offer end-column pricing and plus another 10%-15% off. This can easily be an additional 25%-30% in savings compared to other companies trying to quote the same products. While this might sound attractive, that doesn't mean they pass the savings along. For a more clear understanding, read the next column over on the DESIGN-BID process. Any system drawings, renderings, etc are held onto by the AVL integrator until the project has been completed and the team can review all work performed--often 30-days later. In some cases, the AVL integrator won't provide the drawings. And in most cases they NEVER provide a detailed list of equipment showing the part numbers and itemized pricing.
The DESIGN-BID process is similar to design-build in that you're paying the AVL integrator to design your systems as a service, but is independent and separate from a purchase and installation contract. Instead a scope of work, detailed equipment list, and general line drawings will be provided in a "BID SPECIFICATION" that the church will make available to as many AVL integration companies they wish to bid on the project. Going through the bid process doesn't necessarily mean a more affordable cost! In fact, it's typically MORE money---and that's by design--literally! The DESIGN-BID process actually requires more design work by the engineers to build a complete bid-spec, so you can expect to pay an average of 25% - 40% of the overall equipment costs. It's up to your ministry to review all bids, verify all line items and pricing, verify the scope of work matches, that all drawings are created and submitted (and correct), all electrical and other facility needs are to be in-place, etc. It's also up to your ministry to choose the winning bid and verify everything has been sold and installed in accordance to the design. But there is a silver lining, it's common for the AVL integrator hired to create the design to provide an on-site walk-through after all systems have been installed to verify the appropriate equipment was installed and in full working order. They might even offer the option to review the paperwork and help you make the appropriate bid selection. You can expect to pay an additional 10%-30% in additional project management fee costs. And then there's the fact that because they originally registered the equipment, none of these AVL contractors bidding on the project have the ability to save your ministry that money. When you start to add up the costs of more design, paperwork, administration, project management, and the lack of registered discounts---this process is almost ALWAYS considerably more money! And half-way through the process most churches realize this and decide to switch the contract to a DESIGN-BUILD.... and that's what we mean when we say this is BY DESIGN.
Regardless of direction, you will always be working directly with a sales person who communicates your information to a design team. This process almost always overlooks simple issues and problems, spec's the wrong solution because of communication breakdowns, etc. Our process involves constant communication with your entire team, to discuss the current challenges and vision. We take that information and develop a plan, a "road-map" if you will. As we narrow down the goals and needs, we develop a customized solution not only for your congregation--but for the level of the technical team(s) that will be operating the systems. At HOWAVL we ARE the design team, and we work with you one on one through every step of the process. We use the most advanced tools available to guarantee our solutions are based upon real data and not "well this should work". Our designs are incredibly detailed and comprehensive, yet our services cost significantly less in nearly every case. WE are able to do this based upon our 25+years of knowledge and consistency