The CEDIA Awards: Documentation

Ed Wenck | Feb 18, 2019

This post is part of a series on tips and advice to make your CEDIA Awards entry stand out.

One of the keys to winning a CEDIA Award? Proper documentation — and that means including calibration reports.

Joel Silver, who’s judged numerous times in the past (and will again in 2019), explains: “I look at these projects as part of someone's home. It's an asset, it should be documented as if you were building on an extension or building on a four-car garage. This is an asset that should be managed properly and as a judge, I am stricken when I see a beautiful system and I can't ‘walk’ through the system.”

Every judge bemoans the lack of calibration documents, but it’s especially painful for Silver, founder of the Imaging Science Foundation. “If I don’t have those reports, I don't know what the white balance is like. I don't know how bright the screen is. I can't tell if it's got the right cables going to the projector.”

But when all the documentation is in order, when those sheets of schematics and details are so user-friendly that they allow for anyone to come in and understand what they’re looking at, CEDIA’s judges will take note.

Geoff Meads, CEDIA judge and owner of Presto Web Design, adds, “Documentation can really make a winner and easily make a loser too. Compare us against the other design trades within a construction project. You know, think of an architect that doesn't document well or a specialist that doesn't document well in terms of an HVAC system. You wouldn't ever see that in a serious installation. And one of the key questions that we added as judges says, ‘If you as an integrator were asked to take over this project, would you be able to take it over easily with the documentation supplied?’ And that for me was a crucial question. That's one of the criteria that we look for in this regard.”

It’s one of the reasons “Best Documentation” carries its own CEDIA trophy. “So as far as I'm concerned, if you're CEDIA member, every install should be an award-winning install for documentation,” says Silver. “You should give your clients value. They should be able to sell that with the house with value. The next engineer, the next home owner should look at that and understand where every wire goes, what they got, what they did. And we are delighted with some of the submissions for the racks we're seeing around the world. These are systems you could walk in and take over in a heartbeat.”