Love me tender…
Singapore, 15th February 2011
The title is misleading, as I actually want to talk about the tendering process (not Elvis Presley 🙂 ). The process where our lighting design specifications go out for tender and bidders can submit their proposal for the lighting. The tighter the specifications, generally the easier it is to assess compliance and recommend your client who to award to. A tender allows you to invite several suppliers or contractors to quote which creates a competition allowing you the get the best value for money for your client.
When the tender goes out with “as specified” only, there is not much to do other than to assure that apples are compared with apples when assessing the submissions, making sure the bids are complete and complying. But when alternative equivalents are included as acceptable bids it becomes a totally different ball game. We generally specify products we are familiar with and products that we know will do the job. However as a lighting designer in this world of rapidly developing technology we can’t possibly claim to know all the products in the world…there are many products that may be equivalent or even better. That means assessing the lighting performance and compliance often only based on some catalogue info.
Tenderers often take this opportunity to bid low sometimes even with “shady” alternatives, using original manufacturer’s documentation while offering a local copy. Only a trained eye generally is able to see the difference. This is where tight specifications allow you to shift the goodies from the baddies. Lighting performance is always the key followed by the quality and safety of the light fitting, not to mention design intent! Samples will give you most of this information…seeing is believing, but then again you need to understand what you see!!
Finally a lighting product to me is as good as the company or supplier behind it so taking in to consideration the person and company credentials and capability is a crucial element in the final tender assessment.
In Light Watch today the spectacular sight of sky lanterns. Last night I saw a report about the sky lantern launch in Taiwan and I believe other countries have similar festivals. If you are aware of one enjoy the magic sight…
Light Watch 32: Sky Lanterns