Can you believe January has come to a close? What are your plans for 2018? How about 2019 or 2020? If a new or remodeled communication center is in your future, the time to plan is now!
The first thing on everyone’s mind is “how much is this going to cost?” This may be the deciding factor as to whether the project is completed this year or 3 years from now. So where do you start?
Here are a few things to consider in your process.
- Scope of Work - What do you want to get done? Do you want to replace the consoles and flooring? Or are you taking on a larger project, such as a complete remodel or a new space? Depending on the scope, you may need to hire additional help. An architect will generally take on a larger project, while a room remodel can be done through your console manufacturer. A larger project may also need to go to vote, or get significantly more funding, so make sure in addition to the overall budget, you also account for time. As we all know, time can be money!
- Technology Updates - Once you have decided what you are going to change physically about your center, what about the guts of the operation? Yes, I am talking technology! A remodel is a great time to update multiple parts of your operation such as technology, as you may already be taking these items out, just to put the old equipment back into a new center. Take a look at your radio, phone, and CAD systems. Are these items would like to change? This is also a great time to speak with your console manufacture, because it may change the monitor and PC storage of your console.
- Logistics - This one can be the biggest headaches…Isn’t it always? Coordination is imperative in a new center. If it is not a new build, will you be doing a live cutover from one console to the other? This takes more time for install, not only on the console side, but also the technology side. I have often talked about this process like a complicated dance. There are a lot of moving parts, and everyone needs to be on board! Another thing to consider is the time of year. Ideally this is not done during your busy season. I once worked on a project that had to push back two weeks because the President was coming to town on vacation. Not something that can be controlled, but you better bet they wanted their 911 center fully functional!
Taking on a remodel or new control room can be long and complicated process, that’s why planning is crucial! Once you figure out the full scope of work, you can start to contact vendors for ballpark quotes and designs.
One thing to remember – this may be your first project, but vendors do 10-15 of these a month! When searching for a vendor, look for those that can help in multiple phases of your project and can provide recommendations that will save time, money, and coordination!
Lastly- remember to breath! This is a long process, but in the end it will all be worth it.