What is important in budgeting your AV project?

When budgeting for your next Audio Visual project, consider the specific room types needed and focus your efforts to select technology that will enhance your organization’s collaborative abilities. Presentation, collaboration and conference spaces all need different technology to achieve the desired function. Space planning is important in order to have the right quantity of room types so that you can fully utilize the entire space.

huddle rooms | up to 5 seats

These are typically where Intimate Communication is desired. Rooms can also be easily upgraded to add audio and/or web conferencing.

$4K – $15K
boardroom diagram

These spaces are typically used for presentations to a Board and for collaboration within the Board. Typically, higher quality equipment, or even “showpieces” are installed in these spaces, including Video Walls or Projector Lifts.

$50K – $100K
small conference diagram | up to 8 seats

These are typically used for team meetings. Rooms can also be upgraded to add audio and/or web conferencing.

$10K – $25K
training room

The spaces are typically presenter led to a local audience or conferenced to a remote audience. Local voice lift in the room from a presenter’s microphone and interactivity with the display can be added for additional capabilities.

$10K – $30K
large conference | up to 10 seats

These rooms may be large enough for numerous displays, projector/screen, or even a Video Wall. Rooms can also be upgraded to add audio and/or web conferencing, but can be complex due to number of participants.

$25K – $60K
multi-purpose room

These spaces have multiple uses, so flexibility is key. They are typically designed around movable furniture that allows for numerous presentation locations and seating arrangements. These can be changed back and forth from presentation, meeting, and collaboration spaces.

$100K – $250K
video conference room | traditional or web-based

Whether traditional “Codec Based” conferencing (Polycom, Cisco, Lifesize) or web-based conferencing (Skype, GoToMeeting, etc), typically two displays are mounted side-by-side for viewing the far end and a shared presentation. Table-top, ceiling, or wireless microphones are used for voice pickup.

$10K – $50K
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The decision makers need to note these parameters and decide what are the most important to guide the designs up front. Proper expectations always result in happier clients and less problematic implementations.

Some factors that contribute to overall cost of the project.


No AV system can be guaranteed to work every time, and it may feel like the system will fail at the most inconvenient time. Systems can be designed with minimal points of failure or even backups in place to help ensure the AV systems work. This may be more important for different spaces inside the organization, for example, it may be more important for a Boardroom than Huddle Rooms.


We find many AV systems and capabilities are not used to the fullest extent because the systems are too difficult for the users to use. Some spaces need an operator to run the AV system that is not participating in the meeting. Keep-It-Simple is a mentality that many organizations adapt to enable all users to be able to use all systems. This may limit the more advanced capabilities in rooms where they would be desired.


Another way to ensure usability across all users is to create standards for types of spaces where all “types” will function the same way, all “Small Conference Rooms” have the same technology, for example.


In organizations where user technology isn’t standardized, BYOD is encouraged, or visitors will be using the technology, designing flexibility into the systems could be necessary. It can also be useful to allow spaces to be have multiple purposes, using the same room to change between a Conference Room and Training Room.


“Form over Function” is a view many choose to employ in some spaces, where extras are spent on bigger and better technologies beyond what is necessary. Client facing conference rooms and Boardrooms are a couple of the spaces where this could be a determinating factor.


How long will this system be operating in the current form?

What new technologies are coming down the path that the client will utilize?

How many more employees will be hired that will utilize these spaces?

The answers to these questions can lead the decision makers too the need to “Future Proof” systems to allow growth. More inputs, outputs and ability to grow into larger rooms can be designed up front to avoid the need to completely replace expensive hardware at a later date.


Every organization is called upon to be a good steward of money. Therefore, budgetary restrictions always need to be taken into account, but how much the budget drives the design is up to the client. Is it better to create a greater quantity of simple rooms, or fewer total rooms with a higher complexity?

Whether you need some rough numbers to reference in your next meeting or you want to sharpen pencils and talk specifics, one of our ASD® experts will be glad to help you with rapid ballpark estimates tailored to your needs or a detailed quote based on your exact specifications. Have any questions? Ask ASD®.

Common Cost Factors for Most Projects

Geographic Location

Where is the project located? Some parts of the country are more expensive than others. Some rural areas may require travel due to availability of the field resources which could increase cost.

Size & Type Environment

Type of environment will impact price. Class A Office, Distribution Center, Manufacturing, Retail, Indoor vs. Outdoor could all impact overall cost.

Labor Requirements

Projects being installed with a Union Labor requirement will be more expensive than projects without the requirement. Some projects require a prevailing wage to be paid to a technician which can also increase costs.


Pathways can contribute greatly to overall system costs. Costs of core holes sizing and cutting slab for conduits needs to be considered in your budgeting process.

Installation Hours

Normal working hours will be less expensive than afterhours or weekends.

New Construction vs. Renovation

New construction will typically be less expensive than renovation.

Local Codes & Standards

Local codes can drive cost as they vary in requirement. For instance, in some locations across the U.S. all overhead cable must run in conduit while others can be supported with J-Hooks in the ceiling.


Permitting varies from state to state and city to city. One city may not require anything more than an application form to receive a permit, while others may want full engineered drawings that go through a plan review process. The full set of engineered drawings carries a substantial price tag that elevates the overall system cost. Another consideration is the time required if the review process is a requirement.

Economies of Scale

What type of structure is being built? A system in a manufacturing plant is developed completely different than a highrise office building. An apartment complex can reuse the same templates for each building; this saves design time and costs.

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