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Frequently asked questions

When building or renovating a home there is so much to consider!

Unlike aesthetic or superficial elements, technology is the central nervous system of your home. When home technology isn’t well planned or perfectly executed it has the potential to cause significant frustration and stress when you live with it, and it can be costly and extremely disruptive to put things right, and this is often where many clients feel the most frustration - they do something once, only to discover that it doesn't actually suit their needs, work as expected or promised, or the company in question simply aren't interested in supporting them.

In our experience, this situation tends to occur when:

  • There hasn't been proper and considered dialogue with potential providers to find a company who you feel completely comfortable with, and have a proven track record of delivering these types of systems AND provide ongoing support.
  • The system hasn't been tailored to your specific requirements and the property.
    You, your family and your home are unique - it's only through understanding exactly how you'd like to live at home, listening to your needs and suggesting practical ways in which technology can support you that you can be sure any company designs a custom system for you, rather than just ticking boxes and selling you stuff.
  • Often, a cheaper overall price can seem tempting , however if something is cheaper - it's always for one of two key reasons:
    Firstly there isn't as much equipment specified, or what has been specified isn't of the same specification or quality.
    Secondly, fewer hours have been included for the system design, installation and support.

    Obviously, if your system includes less equipment, or equipment of a lower standard, and/or includes less time to design and configure it - then it stands to reason the resulting system is not going to provide the same level of function or performance, and won't be implemented to the same standard.

As you can imagine, what is most frustrating to clients is when they spend significant time and money on a system that ultimately ends up not being right for them, doesn't work properly, or simply isn't installed to the standard it should have.
They then have to make a decision between 2 bad options - whether to live with the daily frustration and chore of a system which will never be right for them, or invest further money in having the system modified.

Home automation and home technology design, like architecture or electrical works, is a niche discipline in itself. Technology is moving and changing far faster that any other sector today – you need to have a specialist on board who has the expertise, experience and knowledge to understand this complex part of the build, and provide proper after-care and support following the installation, because - let's be honest, technology isn't bulletproof by any means and does require ongoing support and maintenance to operate at its best.

The first step we advise clients to do is take the time of simply defining what it is they want to do in each room of the house. What do you envisage spending your time actually doing that room? Who with? What time of the day? That’s the first place to start. Design the life you want to live in the house you are building.

Decades of experience walking clients through this process means we can help you with this, and provide lots of real life examples to help you effortlessly form a brief. This is the crucial first step that many home owners miss, only to then go to a smart home company who tells them to ‘have a wire for a TV here, and speakers here’ without ever really understanding how you really want to and will use the space.

SONA are very different. We’re not trying to sell technology. We’re helping you to design the life you want to live at home each and every day – all day and night long.

Contact us today and we’ll help you define what you’re trying to achieve, provide inspiration and let you know what’s possible, before you’ve even had to part with a penny!

You may think that working with a multi award-winning company, with almost a century of experience would mean you would expect to pay a premium for a SONA system, but we can promise you that's simply not the case.

We're completely confident that if you receive a comparable quote from any other provider, which gives exactly the same functionality and performance, is installed to the same standards, with the same level of ongoing support, and includes all of the same documentation we will never be more expensive.

When we do present costs to you - we're always upfront and include all the options we've discussed, with the features and functions that we genuinely believe will bring real value and enhancement to you and your home, so you get an accurate indication of what we believe is a realistic budget for your project.
You're always in complete control of this budget, and have the ability to refine and adjust the system as you see fit throughout the entire process.

On the element of services - we include accurate time for our services which has come from years and years of experience, and tracking and monitoring how long it takes to do everything involved in these highly complex systems, to the standards we know our clients and partners expect, not just for the physical installation, but the design and management time required to deliver these systems properly and professionally.

Whilst we accept that many companies simply don't charge for design, documentation or any kind of project management - we guarantee it's not the case that they are giving this away for free - if they aren't charging you for it, then they are most certainly not doing it. Considering an investment in this type of system will likely be in the tens of thousands, we believe you should expect and demand a proper allowance for design, documentation and management as part of the overall costs.

We operate very differently from any other home technology company or smart home company we know. Why? Because our attitude and approach is completely different.

Our entire approach is focussed around a five step process that we believe educates you on just what's possible and empowers you to make decisions you feel completely informed on. These initial discovery and design stages allow the delivery stages of a project to progress in a controlled manner and allow completely flexibility for you to change your mind or make adjustments at any point of a project.

These five steps are Discover, Imagine, Design, Deliver & Support:

Discover
Our initial meetings and discussions to inform and inspire you on what’s possible and to help us to understand your project requirements.
For many clients, they can feel overwhelmed by what's available, sometimes feeling like they should install technology but not really understanding why, or the advantages it can offer.
Our job is to turn that feeling on it's head - to enthuse and excite you about the incredible possibilities so that you enjoy the process of considering technology at home.

Imagine
Guided by our previous meeting, we present our ideas for how your spaces could be enhanced by technology and give you clear budget costs broken down by individual system and rooms to give you the best possible understanding of both the ultimate functionality and how each space would operate - with clear associated costs.

Design
When you are happy with the imagine stage, we commence on a detailed design process which includes all the drawings, documentation and planning to ensure nothing is left to chance.
At SONA, the design IS the system, because a poorly (or not at all) designed system is just a collection of parts and more likely to bring stress and problems, than enhanced life at home.
You wouldn't start any other element of a house or major project without a detailed design in place to deliver that vision - and you shouldn't start on an integrated technology system without every element being planned, down to the last screw and cable, which is exactly what our detailed system proposals show.

Deliver
As each stage of the system is designed and approved, it’s handed to our projects team to manage its delivery all the way until completion. Our Projects Director oversees every single project from the moment we start working with you and liaises with the entire team including your builder, interior designer, mechanical and electrical contractors, furniture makers and anyone involved in bringing the project to life - ensuring that every element of our system is seamlessly integrated, and to make sure that you feel fully informed at all times.

Support
We believe the most important element of any home technology system is the ongoing service and support you receive. It's why all our systems include a year of our highest service and support plan, include equipment as standard that allows us to pro-actively monitor your system and respond to issues where necessary, and why we include every single design document and configuration file as part of a system handover pack so that every element of your system is clearly recorded and available for review.
We're exceptionally proud that we still maintain and support virtually every single project we've ever delivered, including the very first system we installed over a decade ago. We hope this speaks to our long term approach to both the systems we are fortunate to deliver, and the clients we create those systems for.

We hope that our first meeting with you, will be the first of many - and only the beginning of a our long relationship.

Pretty much anything that is electronic or has a remote.

Our role is very unique in a build. We are usually integrating and collaborating with interior designers, architects, landscapers, electricians, builders, plasterers, decorators, fireplace suppliers, art suppliers, fountain installers, pool and spa experts, kitchen designers, window installers, glaziers – basically our project works with and around everyone on site through every stage of the build from first fix and we’re always the last on site, fitting the final pieces like TVs which go in right at the end, when every bit of decorating has been complete and we start to truly personalise the systems to you.

That’s why we have an extra mile mentality here at SONA, and believe strongly that collaboration is the key to a seamless finish.

It’s not enough to turn up on site and just ‘do our bit’. We’re constantly, and proactively making the other suppliers and trades aware of how your technology and what you want, will integrate with what they are doing and making sure that every thing is in place to ensure that happens to the absolute highest standard and function.

Our HQ is in Cheshire, UK but we're able to deliver and support projects across the length and breadth of the country, and have clients from London to Scotland, and everywhere in between.

In addition to these residential projects we support a number of superyachts based in the Mediterranean and also visit these vessels further afield in the US or the Caribbean.

As much or as little as you want to.

We are brand agnostic, and don't believe in trying to sell you anything for the sake of it.

We'll provide you with options that best suit your requirements after our initial Discover meeting with you, and you can decide which ones deliver value for you.

Everything we do is about helping you to achieve the life you want to in the spaces you live, work and play. We’re not trying to sell technology – we’re creating the life you want to live at home through it.

As a general guide, if you are building a luxury property and would like to include seamless connectivity, lighting control, window treatments, distributed audio video and an intuitive control system - we would advise you should allocate a minimum of £75,000-100,000 depending on the size of your property and number of rooms.

Every single one of our projects is unique - so no one system is the same as another.
What's important and a priority to someone else, may not be high up on your list - that's why we only propose and present our suggestions and initial budgets to you after understanding you and the project in as much detail as possible.

As with a fully integrated home or yacht system, all of our home cinemas are completely bespoke, and designed to the specific requirements and aspirations of every client.

Prices can therefore vary dramatically depending on performance level, the size of the room, and other factors such as whether you'd like us to supply seating and other decoration for example.

As a basic guide - we'd suggest allowing a minimum budget of around £20,000 for a dedicated, Dolby Atmos cinema in a single garage sized room.

Yes!

We can transform pretty much any size room and always recommend equipment and systems best suited to the space there are intended more.

Contact us to get started.

We would recommend that you start with the industry's governing body CEDIA where companies wo want and aspire to do good work go for training and support.

A particularly useful resource is to look at companies who have been shortlisted for, highly commended and won CEDIA Awards, as the awards are entered anonymously and independently judged by a technical panel of experts and peers in the field.

The entry process is rigorous and demands the submission of detailed project documentation and photography that shows the standard of workmanship. All entries are judged purely on quality and standards.

CEDIAs Member of Excellence accreditation recognises those companies who are considered the 'best of the best'.

SONA are proud to be a Member of Excellence company since 2019 and you can read more about what the accreditation means on CEDIAs website here, or in our FAQ below.

We'd also recommend speaking with friends, family and neighbours about who they use, but always ask the critical question ‘What happens when something goes wrong - how do they respond?”
If nothing has ever gone wrong and there have been no problems, that’s a really good start, but it's probably unrealistic to expect that a system will never have an issue and how a company responds to those issues can often be the difference between a great and a not-so-great company.

  • Not having the full range of possibilities explained to them at the beginning of a project, therefore missing out on the opportunity to let technology truly enhance any space they call home.
  • The assumption that certain technology can not be integrated with the main system, when it fact, it can with the proper knowledge and approach.
  • The assumption that because most technology works on WiFi - a comprehensive, wired cable infrastructure isn’t needed.
  • Not involving a home technology specialist in key decisions and instead trusting choices around this specialist field to the developer, architect or designer.

CEDIA Member of Excellence companies (of which there are at the time of writing only 16 in the world) have been thoroughly researched for reputation, technical competence, customer service, and aftercare support policies.

SONA is one of these top companies worldwide, and the only UK company North of Nottingham.

These companies who are Members of Excellence have provided CEDIA with evidence, documentation and client testimonials to demonstrate their standards and capabilities.

The odds of a successful install that you are thrilled with, dramatically improve by using a highly vetted CEDIA member.

Any custom install, smart home or integrated technology can achieve this status regardless of size if they can demonstrate their standards, capabilities and reputation meet the criteria, so it is a really great place to start when looking for a company with a proven and accredited track record of delivering exceptional home technology systems of the highest standard and providing fantastic customer service.

The short answer is pretty much anything!

SONA’s involvement can be with pretty much every function and features of the home you are creating and the possibilities are endless.

Where SONA are different is that we listen to, and understand what you are actually trying to create at home and make suggestions for practical features alongside those elements which we believe can add luxury and glamour to take your spaces to the next level.

Many features of your home can and should be considered alongside what modern technology can offer to give you a more seamless, functional and beautiful home, including but by no means limited to:

  • Architectural integration of window treatments into window reveals and ceiling details.
  • Automated doors and windows.
  • Virtual skylights and human centric lighting that mirrors the varying sunlight outside to promote productivity, relaxation, or simply make a space feel amazing.
  • Wired and wireless networking to ensure every corner of your home and every device is reliably and securely connected.
  • Swimming pool and leisure facilities.
  • Heating and air-conditioning.
  • Fireplace control.
  • Architectural, decorative and feature lighting to enhance your beautiful home and grounds)
  • Irrigation.
  • Integrated furniture for concealing or making a feature of essential technology
  • Kitchen design
  • Security and CCTV.
  • Automated gates and garages.
  • Intercom and access control.
  • 99% of our clients want automated blinds and curtains in their luxury residence but few projects have window surrounds adequate enough to accommodate them.
  • There are a number of design elements that can negatively impact the use of wi-fi. Concrete floors, glass, wet under-floor heating are some of them, yet extremely popular in luxury house builds. This can be a frustrating result, but easily resolved if SONA are involved early enough.
  • Sometimes technology can’t survive in a house! Ventilation, cooling, storage are often overlooked which means technology gets unhappy really quickly.

A SONA system is made up of two fundamental elements - Our design, installation and configuration services, and the physical components, or equipment that we combine to create a bespoke system, tailored to your requirements.

SONA warranty our services for life - that means if your system ever exhibits an issue or fault that's due to our installation or configuration, we'll put it right, for free, and you won't pay a penny for the life of the system.


A SONA system may contain hundreds, thousands, or even 10s of thousands of individual component parts, from different manufacturers that each have their own warranty period.

SONA only specify and install products which our team have experience of and know are reliable and robust in the first place, and that have a proven record of great support when it's needed.

For some of the products included in our systems, these warranties can be 10 or 20 years, or even lifetime.

Regardless of the warranty period - SONA match the manufacturer period to ensure that you don't pay a penny should any piece of equipment fail or fault within it's warranty time.

In practice this means that a speaker could fail 19 years after installation, and you wouldn't pay a penny for us to attend and assess the problem, then arrange, fit and configure a brand new speaker for you.


For an upto-date list of all the manufacturers we work with and their warranty periods, please contact us.

Large scale and complex houses, have multiple sources of technology, integrated, programmed and sensitive to change, and generally requiring updates and servicing, just like your car, phone, pool or heating system.

This element of home technology can be something that you don’t really think about when you’re in the process of building a house.
The focus is all on the building and completing and often a discussion of who will continue to support and maintain the systems isn't considered.

SONA fundamentally believe that the ongoing service and support of every system we install is one of the most important aspects of what we do.
We provide a one year Service & Support Plan for all of our clients post completion, which includes free callouts, remote technical support and a system health check at the end of the year.

After this one year period you are then completely free to choose whether to extend and continue with a support plan or not - but either way we will always provide support and assistance for the system.

We still maintain and support over 90% of the systems we've installed, including our very first project more than a decade ago.

Yes absolutely.

Other the past 3 years we've expanded our Service and Support process to deal with an increasing number of calls from homeowners or client representatives who have issues with their technology but couldn’t get hold of the companies who had originally installed them, or simply aren't happy with the support they receive when they do contact them

We now offer support for non-SONA systems on an ad-hoc basis, and whilst we can’t take ownership of, or provide service plans for systems that we haven't designed, installed and commissioned, we will always do our absolute best to support you.

Please feel free to contact us and discuss your system with a member of our team.

If you have any existing technology that you want to utilise as part of a new system then we're always happy to evaluate and work with it.

Our preference though, is for every element of your system to be our responsibility so that we can provide you with a complete service and support package.

This allows us to guarantee compatibility in what is a complex collection of equipment, but also to include all components under our unique SONA Guarantee for extra reassurance.

Our experience is within the high end residential and marine sectors, and we therefore don't generally focus on commercial projects.
We are occasionally asked to look at specialist commercial spaces for some of our private clients who want a feature lighting installation, show-stopping boardroom or entertaining space, or simply want their server room to be a considered a cabling work of art and we are always open to a conversation to see we're a good fit for your project.

We'd recommend an initial conversation with a member of our team to discuss your specific requirements and see if we could help - please don't hesitate to contact us.