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Las Vegas Project House - Part I by ASIHome Staff

Ever wonder what it takes to get all this technology into a home? Now you can find out! Over the next few months, we'll be covering the building and installation of a new home in the Las Vegas area. This home has been planned to have all the bells and whistles technology can offer, without having the cost soar into the stratosphere.

What's more, this is not a multi-million-dollar home. In fact, it's a tract home, built by a conventional builder. Our coverage of this home will show you what was involved in getting the technology put in, both from the builder's and the homeowner's perspective.

In this first installment, let's take a look at what had to happen just to get the "backbone" of this home in place.

To Wait Or Not To Wait

Our homeowner is moving to the Las Vegas area from California. Over the course of two weekends, with the help of a local real estate agent, they were able to locate a home that fit their needs and desires. The home is in a new tract, and was ready for construction.

The Las Vegas real estate market is very hot, with most new home builders keeping waiting lists for new homesites. Our homeowners were fortunate to come across this builder before the models were completed, so the list was only a few buyers deep. But because of this hot market, there are some tradeoffs. In a slower market, homeowners often get to choose all the options in their home, right down to addtional balconies off bedrooms, patio covers, etc. But to keep up with demand, many builders are preselecting a number of options before releasing the home for sale. This means that potential buyers can take what the builder has already selected to build, or wait for a future home to be built with their choices. Our homeowners chose one of the available homes, speeding the availability of their home by 2-3 months.

What did they give up? Options such as central vacuum systems, french doors and balconies on the master bedroom, laundry sinks and other plumbing and construction related items had already been decided by the builder.

What was included was impressive - granite countertops, tall ceilings, and technology to start with - prewiring for security sensors. All doors and windows are pre-wired with sensors for easy installation of a security system at a later date (the system was also an option).

The pre-wire for security is not standard in most homes. But the fact that the builder performs the pre-wire as a standard feature shows this builder is already thinking ahead in terms of technology.

But to really get technology into this home, a whole bunch more pre-wiring will be necessary. The homeowners discussed their needs with the builder, and the builder agreed to let the homeowners speak with the electrical contractor for the development.

This may seem like a small thing to do, but keep in mind that most builders have very tight schedules. Anything that can upset their schedule by more than a day costs them money. They needed reassurance from the contractor that the additional wiring requested would not impact the building schedule.

Working Together

This cooperation between builder, contractor, and homeowner was key. As a rule, the builder wants to accommodate the buyer, as long as it does not affect the schedule. Because the homeowner knew what they wanted, they were able to articulate their needs to the builder. In addition, their enthusiasm and description of what would be going into the home, as well as what it would do for them, helped get the builder excited as well. The builder saw a potential for future upgrades to their homes, if they can prove out the concept with this home.

Also key is the contractor. The company in question has a team that specializes in low-voltage wiring for networking, telephone, video and audio. This meant that they already had a level of confidence on how quickly they could complete the job, making the builder's decision easier.

Next Step - Planning The Pre-Wire...

We'll be continuing the updates on this project as it progresses. In our next installment, we'll cover the meeting between the homeowner and the electrical contractor, and the prewire plan.

This article was published on Tuesday 28 September, 2004.

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