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Housebuilders use SystemLine Modular for flexible incentives

test 2 December 2009

In what is a clear sign of an upturn in the new-build housing market, home entertainment systems, rather than financial deals, are now being used as incentives for homebuyers. IE Residential reports on how Armour Home is experiencing an unexpected benefit from the credit crunch.


"There can be no hiding the fact, after more than a decade of outstanding growth, the adverse economic climate which has prevailed during the past twelve months has caused difficulties for the residential custom installation industry," says Adrian Ickeringill, manager of the new build division of Armour Home. "However, there are definite signs of recovery, especially in London and the south-east. Large projects, which had been put on hold in 2008 during the depths of the credit crunch, are now being revived by house builders, and further developments are being confidently planned.


"An unexpected benefit of the credit crunch has resulted from the tightening of lending policy by the banks. It had become common practice for builders to ‘Pay Your 5% Deposit’, as an incentive for purchasers, leaving them to find a 95% mortgage. This of course meant in reality, new purchasers could buy a property and move in without any savings of their own. Mortgage lenders are now much stricter and no longer encourage this practice. Indeed, they often demand 20 or 25% deposits these days.


"This has caused a dilemma for house builders. They still need to offer good perceived value and differentiate their offering from that of their competitors. In addition, they can’t be seen to be overtly discounting properties because that would undermine the market and devalue their own property portfolio and land banks. I’m pleased to report many are choosing to include an installed multi-room system in their new-build homes because of its high perceived value by purchasers and its positive effect on sales."


{mosimage} An example of this approach can be seen in the outstanding new Seren Park multi-choice apartment development in Greenwich, where Armour Home’s Systemline Modular multi-room entertainment system features as the chosen custom installation.


Seren Park sits adjacent to Greenwich Park and offers wide-reaching views of Greenwich, the Thames and beyond. Arranged around a central courtyard, dual-aspect apartments with private balconies exploit these most beautiful features and ensure nature is never far from site. Award winning architectural practice Alan Camp is renowned for its beautifully appropriate designs. Its work illustrates a particular flair for the sensitive use of materials whilst enduring to create innovative buildings, both aesthetically and functionally. It has significant experience in housing design and is known for its work in producing new concepts for this sector.


The Systemline Homenet Cabinet comes pre-installed in each of the 190 apartments. This houses the technology that powers and controls the system and is also the starting point for the concealed cabling that delivers audio and images throughout the home, at the touch of a button – plus distribution of TV data (home network and internet broadband services), satellite and telephone.


Four packages are on offer:




  • The basic Bronze package features a two-room iDock-based audio distribution system;



  • The Silver package comprises a four-room multi-source iDock-based system;



  • The Gold package adds to the Silver specification Q Acoustics’ Q-AV discreet 5.1 channel home cinema system;



  • The top-of-the-range Platinum package adds a fully programmed Nevo touchscreen universal remote control system.




Three installation companies, each fully supported by Systemline’s own field sales team, tendered for the Seren Park contract; the winning bid came from Wave Home Automation.


Director Andy Butler states: "This type of large project, offering pre-designed systems with a limited number of options, has become an increasingly important and successful part of our business."


However, he continues, such projects do require a fair amount of organisation. "You need high-quality people in your team and the client will be understandably demanding, but properly fulfilled they will be suitably rewarding. Once a schedule of works has been agreed it is of paramount importance to meet every deadline and to work in close support of the developer. This we have done: we attend all the special sales ‘open days’ and have also fully trained their on-site sales personnel, so the latter can explain and promote our systems to potential purchasers. This is a proven format that works very well. With the first phase now completed, we are currently enjoying a 75% take up of Systemline Modular systems."


Butler concludes: "Systemline Modular is our favourite hardware in this type of installation because it is very neat and straightforward, performs well and completely meets the client’s expectations and above all, is reliable and offers great value."

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