What is important in budgeting your sound, paging and mass notification project?

Overhead sound in the workplace can often be a forgotten investment on many projects. These technologies allow your employees to be notified, focus more in an open environment, directed what to do during an emergency and sometimes even relax and enjoy some music. When budgeting for your buildings sound coverage, there are a variety of systems that can do part or all of these functions.

Based on our experience, we typically see prices ranging from $1.00 per square foot to $3.00 per square foot.

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Factors that contribute to the overall costs and quantity of speakers are listed below:

Equipment Selection

Standard masking and paging systems are not meant for music played in professional sound quality. If you want to jam, we’re ready, but , you need to let us know so we can design the right system. Don’t let this be a buzz kill, but it will affect cost.

Do You Want to Jam?

There are numerous manufacturers that offer budget conscious solutions all that way up to extremely robust solutions designed for mission critical environment that take Life Safety into account.

Privacy Level Adjustments

Some systems allow you to change your sound masking noise levels throughout the day or increase them over a period of time. For instance, in order not to overpower the space, you may want to have the sound masking turned down in the early morning and gear up during the day and wind down as people leave.

Visual Notification

In noisy areas, it is helpful to have visual notifications. For instance, in manufacturing facilities, we often specify digital signage. Some systems also can take advantage of RSS feeds that display critical information, like weather emergencies.

Digital Notification

A great way to get the word out in a time of emergency is to use the built in SMS or email functionality found in mass notification systems.

Dropped Tile or Fixed Ceilings

Drop tile ceilings are more accessible and do not require restoration efforts. Fixed, or sheetrock ceilings, may require access holes to be cut and then restored, driving the costs higher than drop tile ceiling installations.

Ceiling Height Requirements

How high is the work being performed? Is it ladder work, or do we need to bring in a lift? A lift will elevate the overall costs but may be safer and more efficient.

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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