New Build—Benson

The main request by the client was to keep the mock Georgian aspect throughout. All fittings and fixtures had to be brass, with dark oak wood finishes and 10 ft ceilings with cornice rails. All ‘Smart Technology’ had to be hidden behind the scenes without any sense of modern elements being exposed.

Our involvement

  • Initial design and specification
  • Total system design
  • Cable run out schedules and CAD designs
  • Managing and overseeing the first fix works
  • Second fix installation and equipment supply
  • System programming and commissioning
  • Supply of Cyberhomes operating system manuals
  • After-sales training and support

Key elements

  • Hardwired and wireless networks
  • Multi-room music system
  • Audio and Video distribution
  • Surveillance monitoring
  • Lighting control
  • Intercom and access control

In particular, it was essential that it could all be controlled in a convenient way. The controls should be comprehensive enough to provide ‘blanket’ coverage of all systems, yet intuitive enough to allow use by all in the house—even the less technically minded!

In order to fit in to the carefully planned decorative finishes of the house, it was decided to use brass in-wall key pads and touch screens to control audio and lighting, with bespoke surround bezels to match all the other electrical fittings. All speakers were in-ceiling Speakercraft 8” drivers, with their grills and surrounds painted in the same finish as the ceilings they were mounted in.

Being a large house over four floors, filled with young children, it was essential that people were able to communicate with each other as well as be observed for safety and security purposes.

This project was gained via a recommendation from previous job.

The building process

Originally built as a four bedroom house, the property was subject to a major refurbishment and enlargement project. The ground and first-floor levels were extended onto two sections of the house and a third-floor loft conversion was built in the roof of the property. Original partitioned walls were demolished and living areas widened. The result of which created a six-bedroom property with a children’s play area in the loft, a Drawing room, Dining room, Utility area and a fully-automated Home Cinema Room.

The main request by the client was to keep the mock Georgian aspect throughout. All fittings and fixtures had to be brass, with dark oak wood finishes and 10ft ceilings with cornice rails. All ‘Smart Technology’ had to be hidden behind the scenes without any sense of modern elements being exposed.

Home Automation and Lighting Control Systems

The Lighting control was done using a Clipsal C-Bus system. Some parts of the house already had intelligent lighting control, and other areas were left conventional. One of the client’s requests was that in this new phase of works, the whole house needed to be on the system. This proved to be quite a challenge as original circuits had to be re-routed to dimmer panels located on the ground and first floor.

What it meant, however, was that all the lights could be turned on or off with a single button or from arming and disarming of the security system. It also meant that lights could be controlled on movement, for instance the first floor landing floor lights are activated by movement sensors after 11.00 at night creating illuminated walk ways without the need to press a switch. On entering the property after dusk, door contacts would turn on the lights in hall ways welcoming the owner into the property.

In larger areas touch screens were installed. In the Drawing Room a touch screen with six pre programmed scenes was fitted giving the client an array of moods for the room depending on the occasion. It would also be possible to talk to callers at the gate and open the gate via these panels.

On leaving the property the house would go into occupancy simulation and play back a programme to give would be burglars the illusion that the property was occupied. Both the main car gate and the side garage are electrically operated; the client is able to open them from pressing a button on any touch screen within the property.

Security and CCTV

There were seven cameras in total, all external. The client specified that he would like to be able to view his entire perimeter of the property from any plasma within the home. All the cameras were set to record only when triggered, at night the cameras were able to see in the dark as they had built in infra-red LEDs to illuminate the area in black and white.

We set up the camera system to be viewable over the internet from any computer by just typing in a web address into a web browser. Access was only given when a full password was entered after which there was full access available to live and recorded footage.

The security system was set to dial out to the client’s mobile phones when there was a break in or fire. The door phone/doorbell could even dial out to a mobile phone to and have a full two way conversation with somebody at the door.

This is a very useful tool to catch someone that you may have missed and also can be used to pretend that you are in when you are actually out.

When the client is at home the door-phone dials straight through to the internal phone system, this enables the client to talk to someone at the gate and also open both the electric side garage and the main car gates from pressing keys on the telephone keypad. This whole operation can be viewed from any plasma within the property, or you can view over the internet where the same operations apply.

Intercom was also provided for room-to-room communication using a wireless ‘Panasonic’ telephone system. These sets had the ability of displaying the different room names on their colour displays allowing direct paging between rooms.

Products Used

  • Multi Room Audio Living Control
  • Touch screen control Living Control and Clipsal
  • Lighting Control Clipsal C-Bus
  • Speakers Rel & Speakercraft
  • Security/Automation Comfort Home Controls
  • Cinema Audio Denon

Audio Visual Systems

Audio systems

A 6-zone Living Control multi-room audio system was provided and distributed throughout the house to Speakercraft in-ceiling speakers and ‘Speakercraft’ rock shaped speakers in the garden; a hard disc sound server was used to store all the client's CDs, album and cover art information which was then viewable from the cinema room and any plasma within the property. The in-wall touch screens provided full control of all the equipment stored within the rack (DAB Tuners, Sky, DVD, Sound server, etc.) and audio within each zone.

Visual systems

The main attraction within the property was the home cinema room. This was a carefully-designed area with the need again for the latest technology ‘hidden’ behind the scenes without a hint of what was installed.

A 6ft automated cinema screen was installed behind a curtain pelmet and an in-ceiling projector lift fitted to the rear of the room. Seven Speakercraft AIM Series speakers were installed in the ceiling with fully-directional drivers allowing the sound to arrive to the listening area as if they floor standing speakers. A Rel 15” Sub-Woofer was installed behind a dark wood cabinet, with a discrete mesh grill on the door hiding the sub from view. In addition to the cinema screen, the curtains were also automated. This allowed the user to have a ‘show time’ feature within the room. On a single press of a wireless remote control the screen would drop along with the projector. The curtains draw and lights dim along with all vital components in the rack switching on to start a film playing.

There was also a 42” Pioneer Plasma installed for the occasions that the client wanted to watch a film or TV without the whole room having to go into a ‘cinema’ state. In order to hide the plasma a false book case was constructed. The plasma sat behind on a fully automated bracket that would swing into the room to a 45-degree angle. When viewing had finished it would disappear back into the recess where the automated book case would return to its closed state.

A second 42” Pioneer was also installed in the childrens' loft area, aptly named ‘The Den’. The children had their own wireless remote control with access to all features including Sky+, DVD, CCTV and Playstation.

The client wanted to be able to view Sky+ in all the secondary viewing areas within the home so we decided to install a Scion audio visual switch that was capable of distributing composite video pictures over industry-standard Cat5 data cable areas including the kids' bedrooms, loft area and master bedroom.

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