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D-Tools “Inspires” Excellence in Kent Family Home


As the smart home industry becomes increasingly competitive, the most successful integrators carve out a specialized niche. London, UK-based home technology consultancy, design and delivery service Inspired Dwellings has made its name by serving the high-end residential, commercial and multi-dwelling unit (MDU) sector.

Without a doubt, luxury systems at the highest tier require the expertise of a smart home design and installation professional that uses the right tools to take a project from proposal to completion with as few bumps in the road as possible. That’s why Inspired Dwellings says their team relies on D-Tools through every phase of every project to minimize errors, track and maximize profitability, and ensure client satisfaction.

An Integrated Home System That’s Easy to Use
A family in Kent, UK, recently called on Inspired Dwellings to integrate the AV, data, lighting, heating and CCTV systems throughout their new luxury property. Because it was a new construction project, Inspired Dwellings had the benefit of working within the builder’s schedule to run wiring in open walls and achieve optimal placement of speakers for the whole home audio system, LED screens, and understated touch screens throughout the home to access the Control4 home automation system.

“The basis for this project was to have an integrated home system that was easy for the whole family to use,” says Rob Sutherland, Managing Director for Inspired Dwellings. “Utilizing D-Tools extensive product library, our design team worked tirelessly to ensure that we had all the most up to date technology while the AV equipment was put together offsite in our workshop and tested to ensure a seamless installation at the customer’s home.”

Sutherland also noted the use of D-Tools System Integrator (SI) enabled the Inspired Dwellings team to move swiftly from sales to design, process change orders with ease, and manage the installation team efficiently and effectively.

The project has since been recognized as a finalist in the 2017 CEDIA Awards and was recently named Best Residential Project in the D-Tools Design Awards for 2017.

Luxury With No Boundaries
The grand 12,000 square-foot home, which opens to a spacious foyer with a spiral staircase, includes a 14-seat home theater with three rows of chairs from Fortress Seating on risers for optimal sightlines, a JVC DLA-X500R 4K projector, and a 130” Screen Research screen.

All 14 rooms in the home feature distributed audio, while a family room boasts a 55-inch TV & surround sound system. Inspired Dwellings provided HDMI video distribution throughout the home and a Rako lighting system. An equipment closet houses a Middle Atlantic rack with a Control4 control system, Apple TV’s, a Sonos Zoneplayer, and centralized video sources including Blu-ray players and satellite set top boxes.

Inspired Dwellings was also tasked with providing the family’s data infrastructure with enough bandwidth to accommodate all the smart devices on the network, and a CCTV security system that spans the property, indoors and out.

Opportunities for Up-Sells with D-Tools’ Efficient Estimation Process
The Kent family working with Inspired Dwellings had a solid idea of what they wanted to accomplish and were specific in their request for it to include the latest technology. They were, however, open to suggestions that would make their home’s systems more user-friendly and enhance their overall technology experience.

By using the D-Tools SI platform, Inspired Dwellings was able to quickly create a detailed yet simple estimate. “The client appreciated how quickly we were able to present an initial proposal,” says Sutherland. The estimate allowed the integration firm’s team to not just list out items and labor, but also show alternatives the client might choose—a key to enhancing the technology experience for the family and increasing the profitability of the job through thoughtful equipment up-sells.

“By using the options within the proposal, we could show the client the price for items not included while helping our sales team facilitate any extras the client might want to add,” he explains.

D-Tools Helps Preserve Profit Margins
Because D-Tools’ platform processes changes quickly and ensured proper accessories were added, Inspired Dwellings were able to preserve their profit margins and were sure nothing had been forgotten. On a project of this size, unaccounted-for cables and connectors can quickly add up and erode profits, especially if parts need to be shipped overnight or construction is delayed due to missing components. This and the robustness of D-Tools’ documentation and customized report format gave Inspired Dwellings the confidence to move forward.

Keeping It All Under Control With D-Tools
The family embraces technology in every aspect of their lives but didn’t want it to distract from the home’s beauty. Touch panels sit unobtrusively on walls in common areas and bedrooms, but family members can also control the home’s systems through apps on their iPads and smartphones.

With so many different areas requiring cabling, wiring, and other various equipment, the project could have gotten extremely complicated and hard to manage very quickly. D-Tools helped Inspired Dwellings keep it all under control.

“Once the proposal was agreed by the client, D-Tools enabled a swift and easy transition from Sales to the Design, because the project database already had the items ready,” says Sutherland. “Using D-Tools drawing capabilities – vis integrated Visio – we can create cable schedules, plans, elevations, schematics and project information sheets using the information in the database. This not only saves us time, but ensures that the data is correct and to the specification that the sales rep and client have agreed. As our team started to work on this project, it was easy to locate products, rooms or systems that they were working on.”

Change Orders with No Hassle
As with most projects, especially new construction where the home technology professional must adapt to accommodate changes from the architect and the builder, there were several changes to the original design plans. “D-Tools allowed us to generate the Change Order via the Compare Tool, capturing all Hardware and Labor charges to send to the client for approval,” says Sutherland. “This process ensured our costs and the client’s budget were always aligned.”

Following Change Order approval, it’s easy to make the changes to the design plans, saving the integrator time and keeping the project on schedule and profitable, which keeps both the client and the integrator happy.

Inspired Dwellings Used D-Tools Mobile Install to Maximize Profitability
Noting that Inspired Dwellings sees tremendous benefits to using D-Tools from start to finish for every project, Sutherland says he sees cost and time savings within every phase of the project thanks to the SI platform.

Using D-Tools for purchase orders, scheduling, and project management, Inspired Dwellings keeps large projects like the Kent Family Home on time and within budget. Using D-Tools for purchase orders helps ensure the installation team has the right products on the truck when they need them, even when products change.

Inspired Dwellings uses the Schedule tool and D-Tools’ Mobile Install feature to arrange visits and set tasks for the engineering, programming, and design teams. “Using Mobile Install, we send the schedule to the installation team’s mobile devices, allowing them to not only see what they are doing, but also record their time and send that information back to the project managers,” explains Sutherland.

“Using the data from Mobile Install, the Schedule tool, and Purchase Orders allows us to track not only time and product price adjustments, but also margins on our work, which is very important to help us understand job profitability,” says Sutherland. “Overall, D-Tools lets us work efficiently and effectively, using one program to do many business tasks. It also saves us time and resources, which then frees the team up to deal with client management, support, installation and sales activities to keep our business growing.”

Additional information on the D-Tools SI platform can be obtained by signing up for a free personal tour by visiting https://d-tools.com/live-demo-webinar/ or for a free 30-day trial, which can be downloaded by visiting https://d-tools.com/30-day-free-trial/.