Leviton Security & Automation in Luxury Home, Virginia Water, UK
This luxury five-bedroom home, with additional staff living area in the basement, is located in Virginia Water, Surrey, UK. It was commissioned by a South African businessman, and designed by architect Danks Badnell.
Being experienced Leviton Security & Automation (formerly HAI) system installers, we were originally approached at the beginning of 2013 by the M&E consultant and Danks Badnell to propose a Leviton-based home control solution. The client had used Leviton in one of his previous homes in South Africa and was pleased with its performance and functionality.
The brief was to provide lighting and HVAC control, security, networking and entertainment throughout the home. Time was critical, so after a lengthy telephone conversation with the client who was in Mauritius, we agreed to have a full proposal ready for the architect's meeting the following week.
After rigorous scrutiny and tough negotiation, we agreed on the total cost and specification, and the next day we were on site for the first time. We knew it was a large-scale residential build, but it really hit home when our cable turned up and was transported via fork-lift on two and a half pallets. Amazingly this still was not quite enough!
Our usual method is to allow the electricians to run the cable to our plans and specification. Fortunately, the electricians (Paine Mainwaring of Worthing) did a professional installation on every level, and clearly took great pride in creating tidy work from the ground up - as it should be!
We drew up plans and assembled twelve cabinets off-site containing sixty-seven Leviton lighting dimmers, along with the Leviton head-end controller enclosure, the alarm cabinet, multiroom audio cabinet and a general cabinet to house items such as the CoolMaster AC interface.
We went to great lengths to ensure that the lighting system would be as effective and efficient as was possible. We tested every different type of fitting in advance at our workshop to find the most suitable Omnibus dimmer for the job considering minimum load, number of fittings, total power, brightness, dimming curve, dimming quality and the room they are in. This proved invaluable later on when commissioning the system as anomalies were kept to a minimum.
We also tested the effectiveness of the chosen 12V DC lighting PIRs, and opted to connect these to the otherwise redundant Lumina board alarm zone connections, so that any automation could be triggered via movement and different events could occur depending on which time of day, week, month or year it was.
We had specified the Leviton system from distributor Aldous Systems to control six rooms of standard underfloor heating which amounted to twelve manifold zones, two zones of radiators (basement and first-floor guest bedrooms) and one zone of three-stage heating/cooling for the master bedroom. We specified 24V AC heating manifold actuators to simplify the wiring, which meant that we could connect the corresponding thermostats directly using low-voltage cable.
The thermostats would be located centrally next to the boiler room and would be informed of the temperature via shielded cable with a Leviton plaster-over sensor at the room end. At this stage, it was not clear how we would interface with the sophisticated heating management system, so we allowed for all options by specifying extra cable and our own bank of 24V AC quad-throw relays at the junction point.
The main rooms on the ground floor comprise eight zones of Leviton multiroom audio. These are fed with the sound from two Sky boxes, a DAB tuner, Sonos Connect and the sound from all four HDTVs that is back fed over dedicated line audio baluns. For audio reproduction, we used Speakercraft Profile in-ceiling speakers.
The HD distribution was limited to a modest 4x4 HDMI over CAT6 matrix by Triax and we were able to fit the receivers in our usual over-sized in-wall back boxes supplied by TDI. The family room's 5.1 surround sound AV system is provided by an Integra AV receiver, and we used a Speakercraft speaker-level auto switcher to override the Integra when multiroom audio is played.
The control system consists of four URC MX5000 Wi-Fi remote controls from AWE, all of which were programmed identically to operate any of the TV zones in the main home as well as lighting, heating and audio. They also operate our unique Sky reboot button which triggers a relay in the rack that is connected to the main power cord of the Sky boxes in case of a crash.
The IT infrastructure is quite simple. There is a Draytek Vigor ADSL router and a 48-port Netgear PoE semi-managed Ethernet switch. The PoE supplies four WAPs (Wireless Access Points) that are hidden above speakers, four Leviton Omni touchscreens and two 2N IP video door-entry stations. The non-PoE ports feed the TV LAN, LAN wall sockets, Sky boxes, Sonos, DVR and all of the head-end boards.
Additional systems included four sets of curtains in the master bedroom and en-suite, smoke detectors in every room, standard-definition Sky for the staff living room, and a full-function alarm that is monitored by CFSS in Cardiff. There is also an IP video entry system for two gates that calls touchscreens via a SIP server, and a covert CCTV system that is accessible worldwide. Furthermore, complete home automation system functions, including heating, cooling, audio, hot water, lighting, security and gates are all accessible worldwide.
The project was managed over a one year period from start to finish. Initially it was a case of dropping in to assess progress, and then responding with some off-site preparation (we had four other Leviton projects on at the same time). When it came to the site installation, we handled most of it ourselves, but we out-sourced the fire and security alarm system, wiring of the lighting circuits to our dimmers, and technical support from Aldous Systems.
The total project time on and off site was in the region of fourteen weeks comprising twelve weeks of installation and programming and two weeks of tweaking. This was in fact about two weeks more than we had planned.
The wireless coverage presented challenges, which was almost certainly due to the house being larger than average in size, and being extremely well built in terms of thick solid beams, bulky door frames and thick-set concrete. This affected the alarm's wireless door sensors and Wi-Fi, and when we solved the issue by adding a second repeater, we were told by CFSS that we were the first installer ever to require more than one repeater for a single home!
The client is very pleased with the results, especially since we delivered a lot more than we had originally agreed. For example, we customised the master bedroom touchscreen to give a range of preset scenes for reading and watching TV, and we included the ability to change user settings such as the amount of time for which the bathroom lights and fans could stay on.
Because the client is only at the residence for a few months a year, the system must be very intuitive and overly simple to grasp. in fact we built-in some other special features to make it simple for the housekeeper to prepare for the client's visits.
Home and Away modes control wet heating plus electric UFH in the bathrooms, and there are different modes for different areas so only the relevant parts of the home will warm at the desired times.
The client can monitor many features of the system from his residences abroad and view the covert cameras and recordings. From our point of view, it is satisfying to see the installation being used well and we are of course now supplying maintenance and on-going support for the foreseeable future.
TV aerial and satellite system
1 x complete aerial and satellite system.
Main controller, HAVC, door entry and TC
1 x Leviton Lumina Pro automation control (main).
9 x Leviton RC1000 t-stats and temp gauges.
4 x Leviton Omni5.7e in-wall touch screen - upgraded to new.
1 x Mitsubishi CoolMaster aircon interface.
1 x relay enclosure.
2 x Snaplinks mobile app.
2 x 2N IP video entry panel.
1 x SIP server - calls all touchscreens.
2 x battery backup, PSU and phone interface.
Leviton/HAI Omnibus lighting system
5 x switched circuits (bank of 4).
67 x dimmer circuits (each) 900W max load.
37 x wall switches white finish us (2 -6 button).
2 x interface RS232.
7 x Leviton lighting equipment enclosure.
5 x power supply units.
11 x PIR ceiling switches.
Leviton Lumina UK-compliant alarm and fire
1 x Leviton audio 8-zone system and speakers.
1 x Leviton hifi2 8x8 audio engine.
1 x pair Speakercraft outdoor speakers.
Apple Aiport Wi-Fi extenders /iPod Airplay.
10 x pair Speakercraft profile in-ceiling speakers.
1 x Speakercraft auto speaker-level switch (surround sound).
1 x Sonos connect.
Motorised Somfy 240V blinds/curtains
4 x motorised curtain rail large (master bed).
1 x power supply (head end).
12 x telephone and data outlets.
40 x patch low smoke cable.
1 x network switch GBT port PoE 48 port.
4 x Draytek WAPs.
3 x patchbays.
1 x Draytek Vigor router gateway.
CCTV hard disk recorder + world monitor.
HDTV distribution system
Apple TV HD.
14 x AV cabling HD/YUV/digital.
8 x HDTV full outlet panel/ patch or LD.
Triax HD matrix video switch 4x4 HDMI.
19" 24U wallmount rack enclosure + shelves.
Redlight power distribution.
5 x Baluns and converters.
1 x Integra AV receiver.
1 x Speakercraft Roots subwoofer.
1 x Panasonic Blu-ray DVD player and balun.
Sky reboot relay enclosure.
Required for control of HDTV distribution
Programmed RF remote control.
3 x Universal Remote Controls URC MX5000.
1 x RF extenders / basestation URC (MRX2).
1 x IR distribution.
9 x Specialist back boxes.
Cable for first fix.
Roland Trimmer is the Managing Director of Redlight Installation Ltd. Redlight Installation has a history of successful Leviton/HAI projects in and around the London area, and has won five-star dealer accreditation. it is also a long-standing CEDIA member.