THE COMMISH In the AV industry, the end users are typically represented by two separate, yet equally important, groups: the designers, who specify the systems, and the integrators who install them. My company acts as a third party to commission these systems. These are our stories.
Contractual Lines Of Demarcation Who does what? By James Maltese, CTS-D, CTS-I, CQD, CQT Audio Visual Resources, Inc. AV9000 Checklist Item Under Test: 5.0 – Convene a short Pre-Audit Meeting of the individuals involved with the audit. Review ever yone’s roles, the conduct expected, discuss “what ifs” and issues that may come up, so that immediate action can take place without further discussions or delays. Reasoning: The number of people involved in projects is ever increasing. Due to the vast number of skills required to complete an install, the industr y is moving toward specialists, rather than jacks-of-all-trades. As such, a project might have a designer, a cable worker to pull cables, technicians to terminate and dress cables into a rack, a control system programmer, a DSP audio engineer, a third-party commissioning team, etc. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it is ver y important to understand not only the role for which you are responsible, but also where the line of demarcation is between you and the other specialists. If those lines become blurred, the tasks found in the middle might be done twice—or not at all. Cross-discipline understanding and communication is essential for successful projects that have so many players. The Stor y: I had the privilege of taking part in the Wood Badge leadership course hosted by my local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Council. It was life changing. I met so many incredible people. I learned a tremendous amount about myself and about how to lead others. I had a memorable, fantastic time. And, now, I’m “working my ticket” and still having a blast. I love it! One thing about the course that struck me was how many staff volun22 Sound & Communications February 2019
teers were required to pull off both three-day weekends of the course. We had the Scoutmaster and Senior Patrol Leader (with their assistants), who basically ran the course. We had a threedeep Logistics Crew that handled all the setup and breakdown of events. We had Troop Guides to lead our patrols. We had a Troop Scribe to put the daily newsletter together. We had four-deep Quartermasters to keep all of us fed. We even had Naturally, a Wood Badge leadership course got the a volunteer to run the author thinking about managing AV projects. Wood Badge Shop, so we all could get our souvenirs. In short, it was a well-oiled machine. Each person understood his or her role, and the Course Director conducted the entire orchestra of staff. There were meetings before the trainings to make sure ever yone understood the overall mission, as well as their individual goals. The staff met several days before the actual training to do some dr y runs to make sure ever ything went smoothly. During the course, if something happened (as it always does), it was usually addressed by the appropriate staff member before the attendees had even noticed. I was blown away! Naturally, this got me thinking about managing AV projects. Even though third-party AV commissioning is the bee’s knees, it is not incorporated into ever y single AV project out there. When the impressively intelligent client makes the wise decision to use a third party (like us) to commission its systems, some of the players are not quite sure what our role is. They know we are going to inspect levels on the DSP mixer, but they confuse the inspection with actually creating the site files. We have walked onto several sites with blank mixers, and, upon asking about their inoperative status, the tech told us, “Some other commissioning company is handling that.” We see the same stor y with setting up EDID management in matrix switchers. We find that switchers have the default settings loaded, despite the contract clearly calling for a different EDID solution. When asked why the settings are still set at the defaults, the tech again replied, “Oh, I think another company is handling that.” There is misunderstanding between, and a lack of communication among, the project