4 Items The General Contractor Must Do Before an AV Contractor Goes Onsite

Written 2014-01-08 by Chris Bianchet

Perhaps nothing is more frustrating for a systems integrator than the following scenario: Weeks ahead of a project you are looking at your resource pool, determining which install crew should go to which jobsite only to have it completely implode when your team shows up onsite and the General Contractor (GC) isn’t where he committed that he would be. Now you are stuck in the precarious position of either working on what you can (which is sometimes very little) or sending your crew back to the shop to sit and wait for the site to be ready. This type of scenario is a total nightmare, especially if you have variable cost installation staff, because you are paying them whether or not the site is ready. Of course in a perfect world, a project manager would be able to go to the jobsite ahead of time and make sure that the site is ready.  However, anyone that has been in the business for a while knows how this goes. You head to the jobsite on the Friday before you’re supposed to be there and it is obvious some things aren’t done.  You seek out the GC and he acknowledges the issues and says… “Don’t worry, it will be ready when you get here on Monday.” Do I need to explain what happens next that has happened to all of us one too many times? You show up when you are supposed to, however the job is not where you were told. While this problem may never be completely fixable, there are some things that AV Integrators can do to make sure these interruptions happen less often. When working with GC’s, we recommend you demand (to the best of your ability) these 4 things be complete before setting foot onto the jobsite.

  1. Conduit:  If the project requires conduit, which many do, it is imperative to check not only that the conduit has been run, but that all the conduits are run to the right place.  Check the size of the pipe, junction box location and make sure the boxes are the right depth.
  2. Lift:  If a lift is required for certain parts of the installation, make sure it is onsite (not in transit) when you are heading to the jobsite.  Also, make sure the lift is the correct type for the type of installation work you need to do.  Sometimes it is best to plan and include the lift in your proposal since many GC’s can make mistakes here.
  3. Paint and Carpet:  If paint and carpet aren’t in yet, then the project shouldn’t go beyond pulling cable and hanging structure.
  4. Clean Environment:  Many of the electronics installed by AV integrators are expensive.  The amount of dust and debris that can be generated during the sanding, painting and carpet (and other work) can easily damage the electronics.  It just isn’t worth it, and GC’s should (but often don’t) understand this.

Making sure the site is ready to rock isn’t something that should be taken lightly.  Beyond just the frustration of losing a day or several days of productivity, the cost overruns can be dramatic when the details are missed. Holding your GC to their end of the bargain is critical when it comes to better projects.  In our experience, the 4 items above are critical, but we are sure there are more ways to keep your GC in line and your project site ready. We’d love to hear from you, what do you recommend as the most important jobsite preparations before sending out your crews? Join the discussion below or get in touch here.