Pre work survey

Categories: CompanyPublished On: May 14th, 2019

The Problem


How do we find out what a client really wants? And how can we minimise any changes and post installation changes.


The Solution

A survey, a detailed survey and taking the time with the client to understand what they want to achieve, rather than their ideas on how to achieve it. The idea is to understand their life and needs not just the physical product thoughts.

Over the last year we have created a fairly extensive pre-work survey that we ask clients. We don’t always get all the answers but the more information we have before the project starts the easier it is.

In this blog we look at a few of the questions and why we need them.

1) What wall types do you have where you want us to install light switches/sockets etc.?

This is because while it is quick to cut through and dig out plasterboard, it can take an hour or more to dig out Brick or stone walls. Lath and Plaster walls bring their own problems, difficult to secure boxes and often more damage is done to the surrounding walls as the wall material tends to flake away.

By answering this question (and it is a hard one) the home owner ensures that we can more accurately estimate the installation time and that we have the right ‘making good materials’ with us.

2) What paint colours (accurate) are the walls we will work on?

This way we can buy any tester pots of paint to touch up any minor damage to paintwork round plug and light switches. It also focuses the mind of the home owner that there will be some small making good to do after a major project and helps to manage their expectations about the work.

3) Who is your internet provider?

This is because the Nifty Brain® needs access to access the internet during configuration and for updates. Unfortunately, every internet provider has their own quirks and often block VPN’s and other secure tunnelling software by default. By receiving this information in advance, we can prepare for those specific issues.

4) What is your wifi network name and password?

This is not strictly necessary in advance and it is up to the client if they provide it or not before we arrive on site. It just enables us to move more quickly when we arrive.

5) What Light bulbs do you have in the light fittings you want to put into the Nifty backbone?

Unfortunately, there are a few light types or light bulb configurations that most home automation networks (including Nifty) cannot work with. These include:

  • Fluorescent bulbs
  • You cannot put a Dimming solution with bulbs that are not dimmable
  • Nor can you mix bulb types on the same circuit (i.e. Halogen with LED bulbs)

This is a question that we are quite firm with the home owner about answering, we do this because we want them to understand if there are any costs they were not expecting but also so they can make any changes they want prior to our arrival.

6) Do you have shallow or deep Pattress boxes?

This is another question that is quite hard for the home owner to answer and we rarely expect to have an answer. However, if we do know then it obviously makes the installation time estimate more accurate.

7) Do you have power in the outbuilding? How far from the House is the outbuilding?

These questions are obviously only relevant if the client wants work done in them but again it ensures that before we turn up for a survey we can have factored in the extra time and the additional (often specific to this issue) equipment needed.

There are a few more but these are the core ones we ask. Over time I suspect we will add and subtract questions but we hope this gives you an idea of what we ask and why.



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