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28 Considerations When Selecting An Acoustic Supplier

Published12 Jul 2021
Written ByRebecca Fox

When selecting a supplier for acoustic panels, it’s important to ask some key questions. In this article, we've outlined some key considerations that will ensure you partner with the best in the business.

ONE | What extras will they include?

On top of the product itself, it’s critical to know what else will be included in the package. Will site delivery be included or an added cost? What about shop drawings? Rear fixing systems are occasionally included and sometimes at an additional charge. Finally, how detailed and professional is their in-house documentation?

Getting a sense of this early on will ensure no hidden costs after the project is underway

TWO | What is the quality of their advice like?

You’re busy specifying thousands of products and when it comes to the complexities around acoustics, we understand that you’re just wanting someone with expertise to provide you with quick and trustworthy advice.

At Decor Systems, our team are experts with knowledge that stretch beyond acoustics to the latest updates in materials and product innovation.

Our project portfolio spans thousands of jobs, so we can answer a huge spectrum of questions when it comes to specifying acoustic panels!

We welcome your contact at the earliest stages of your project so that we can advise on cost-saving options, product recommendations, installation details, potential availability issues, sustainability criteria, regulations, acoustics and more.

THREE | What environmental accreditations do they have?

Green ratings can be complicated but, at the risk of stating the obvious, are incredibly important. We know you want to build buildings for the future; buildings that touch the earth lightly. In order to do this, your supplier needs to have green-certified products.

At Decor Systems we have taken the time to weave sustainability into our business strategy. We’re GECA certified and our products have various environmental certifications including LEEDS and FSC.

FOUR | Do they manufacture in-house, or do they outsource to other ‘sheds’?

It’s important to understand if the supplier you’re working with manufactures their product in-house or outsources to other manufacturers. Outsourcing can lead to sub-par quality products and processes and can interfere with compliance.

At Decor Systems, we have total control over the process, of manufacturing your product in our Sydney warehouse.

FIVE | Is the product manufactured to the quality that is expected by the architect, client and contractor?

The best way to ascertain this prior to working with a supplier is to look at the standard and scale of the projects that the supplier has previously worked on (this should be displayed on their website).

Decor Systems will always ensure that your order is made from premium-grade material. Because we are in constant contact with designers from the earliest stages, we have detailed records of what is expected. The type of finish, the acoustic performance, the quality of the cut, the sustainability requirements and so on.

We are passionate about the projects we work on and always know that exactly what is required, will be delivered. Guesswork and hoping for the best are simply not an option.

We have high-tech machinery that enables us to produce exceptional outcomes

SIX | Do they have a history of product innovation?

Within the industry, does the supplier have a good reputation? Are they industry leaders? Do they stretch the boundaries with innovative new concepts and designs?

At Decor Systems, we are constantly striving to develop new products that are in line with progression in the technology and design space.

SEVEN | Do they invite you to their production facility to see your order going through the various stages of production?

Transparency should be a given in this day and age.

At Decor Systems, we are incredibly proud of our factory and the product that comes out of it. We offer factory tours and invite our clients to visit us to see their products up close during manufacture.

EIGHT | Do they have a track record of supplying products to your area?

A selection of completed projects is again a great way to view a supplier’s experience prior to committing to partnering with them.

At Decor Systems, we have a wide range of featured projects on our website across a range of sectors including education, health and commercial as well as across a variety of geographic locations across Australia.

NINE | Are they prepared to produce detailed shop drawings for you to check before they commence production?

Providing shop drawings eliminates all guesswork and ensures that all parties have a signed-off blueprint that illustrates exactly what is intended to be made. This increases communication and enhances project productivity and outcomes.

Decor Systems provides shop drawings free of charge on every job.

TEN | Are the staff genuinely interested in your project?

Sometimes it’s hard to get a sense of who you’re going to be working with before you select your partner. But a project runs far more smoothly when the project consultant is easy to deal with, focus on your project needs and has a genuine interest in what they do.

We have an extensive number of testimonials on our website that can help you get a sense of what it’s like to work with any one of our project consultants.

ELEVEN | Are their commitments set in stone?

At Decor Systems, our people have the authority to make decisions with you without the need for higher referrals.

Every team member unequivocally guarantees that every statement made, and every task undertaken may be scrutinised before, during, and after their involvement with your project.

TWELVE | Do they unconditionally guarantee their products?

How do you know that the supplier you’re working with genuinely backs their product?

At Decor Systems, we offer a 99-year guarantee on our product range. It’s the best way we can communicate to you how much we back the product we supply.

THIRTEEN | Do they have certified acoustic test certificates?

Be sure that when you’re selecting an acoustic panel supplier, they have the correct acoustic tests. Will they certify these on your project? Will they have an ‘Acoustic Compliance Certificate’ for your development?

FOURTEEN | Do they issue a ‘certificate of product compliance’?

This important piece of paperwork ensures that what has been specified and paid for has actually been installed. For the client, architect and sub-contractor, this provides peace of mind on the completion of the project.

FIFTEEN | Are they known in the industry for meeting deadlines?

We understand the importance of timing especially when it comes to acoustic panels which are often one of the last items to be installed.

We are known for our total commitment to meeting deadlines on time and within the budget.

SIXTEEN | Who will project manage your order?

Strong project management is a critical component of any construction project, but especially so in customised components. Our experienced and knowledgeable project managers excel at navigating the intricacies involved in a successful panel project.

Beyond placing the correct people in our project management positions, we have also surrounded them with plenty of support systems and personnel to make sure we can offer you the best customer service in our industry.

Your order will have a dedicated Project Coordinator and these highly organised communicators are the first point of contact for our customers and will ensure a timely and accurate flow of information throughout your project.

SEVENTEEN | How will your order be packed?

Will it be packaged securely on a sturdy timber pallet and wrapped in heavy-duty protective materials? Or will it arrive broken, damaged and unusable?

At Decor Systems, we take pride in our packaging. We understand that good service doesn’t stop once the product has been purchased but extends right through until the product is completely installed.

Product getting ready to leave the factory

EIGHTEEN | What is the standard of their quotation?

Having a detailed quotation ensures that there are no surprises when it comes time to process your order.

Your quotation should have plenty of detail, accurately address all your requirements and address any ‘loose ends'.

NINETEEN | How are they regarded in the industry?

Some simple questions to ask before you select any supplier to include -

  • Do they have sufficient market leverage to keep pricing low and ensure availability?
  • Or are they unproven, new ‘players’ that tend to come and go?
  • What is their track record?
  • How many years of experience?

TWENTY | Do they have a full-time engineering team?

Our in-house engineering team are highly skilled and capable of designing complete systems that perform flawlessly to the project specification.

Many variables must be taken into account to successfully convert a designer’s concept to a finished component and our team utilises advanced technologies to ensure design functionality when prototyping, processing and engineering the client’s concepts.

TWENTY-ONE | Do they offer project consulting?

Does the supplier know what will, and more importantly, what won’t work?

We have decades of experience collaborating with architects and contractors to come up with the best possible solutions.

We can review your project requirements against our fabricating capabilities to develop and refine the ideal process for the most effective design, whilst balancing it with cost efficiencies for you. Then we will prepare a project-specific specification, tailored to your project.

TWENTY-TWO | What is the standard of their take-offs?

Our highly proficient team can review your drawings to determine the project requirements. Not only will this save you time, but our team will use their years of experience to recommend the best solution for your specific project needs.

TWENTY-THREE | Do They Listen?

What is the supplier’s track record when it comes to collaboration? Have they collaborated with architects and contractors to come up with the best possible solutions in the past? A good way to ascertain this is to look at their portfolio of completed projects.

The supplier needs to strive to address functional requirements and artistic aspirations to turn your dream into a reality.

TWENTY-FOUR | What is the quality of their finishing?

Perhaps one of the most critical considerations is the time taken to finish the product.

At Decor Systems, we save our clients time, money and trouble by taking care of the pre-finishing. We offer superior painting, powder coating, anodizing, laminating, and other finishing services, depending on your selection of substrate. What use is specifying a product if it arrives incomplete?

TWENTY-FIVE | Will my order be pre-labelled?

We’ve all seen it… your order is made up of multiple different sizes, then it is delivered, and you have to try and sort out what goes where on-site.

Panel systems from Decor Systems will arrive on your site clearly labelled with concise information as to what and where it goes, and will all relate back to the detailed, precise shop drawings we have consulted with you about in the pre-production process.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, our exceptional customer service doesn’t end when you place the order. We work closely with you until completion (and then back our product with a 99-year guarantee).

TWENTY-SIX | Do they abide by their quoted price?

Pricing and budget are incredibly important, and we know that when acoustics are involved, it’s at the pointy end of the project where every penny counts. Some suppliers start introducing additional charges once production has commenced and it is too late to change.

At Decor Systems, we will always stand by our quoted price. Of course, if quantities or sizes change, so will your costs, but we will never add extras to compensate for initial under-quoting.

TWENTY-SEVEN | Do you feel comfortable with them?

This is critical. A ‘comfortable’ relationship is vital with all manufacturers of customised orders. If you have a gut feeling that something is not quite right, follow your instinct.

Often, it’s just the little things, such as whether the supplier returns a phone call promptly or responds to an email professionally, or whether the company culture seems right.

From fast turnaround on project quotes to time-honoured lead times to the most flexible options for manufacturing, finishing and delivering your project, no one can beat our commitment to personalised service.

At Decor Systems, we want you to consider us an extension of your team.

TWENTY-EIGHT | Are they offering ‘apples for apples’?

We see it all the time – the Decor proposal is pitted against another, but it is actually apples and lemons. Important considerations to examine when you’re comparing suppliers is:

  • Sheet sizes. Have they quoted standard sizes, when every panel on the job can be a different size?
  • Is the product ‘green’? Does it have the required Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) certification or FSC ® (FSC-C118724) Chain of Custody accreditation?
  • Have they quoted the correct paint finish? Or are they really using a cheaper option, and hoping to get away with it?
  • Have they included all the added-value components that go into every order they produce?
  • Do they use formaldehyde-free substrates? If not, why not?
  • Does the material they have quoted meet the relevant fire codes on your development? It may say it is fire-rated, but does it comply with the various classes of building in Australia? A European test has no relevance in Australia.
  • Where does the substrate come from? Is it from a reliable Australian manufacturer who offers full guarantees and backup, or is it a cheap import of dubious origin that is likely to sag, delaminate or just be out of square?
  • Is their lead time realistic? Or are they just saying what you want to hear to get your order?

For any further information, get in touch with one of our acoustic experts.

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