Link between fees and quality
Singapore 25th May 2011
The last few days I have been discussing our fees with client and operator for a project that is positioned at the high end of the scale, in other words a 6 (7?) star hospitality development. The brief calls for an international lighting designer with extensive experience in high end hotel projects. We did our presentation to the team and were very enthusiastically and positively received. We definitely fit the bill so to speak…
Having been shortlisted we are now in the negotiation stage and find ourselves confronted with an owner who does not match his commitment with his brief. After having submitted our fees we are now told the budget for the lighting consultancy is about 1/5th of what we quoted…what!!?? The budget mentioned is what we would quote for a motel or 2 star hotel or for just one restaurant in a 5 star development…while puzzling and frustrating this is the time to hang in and pull out the education registers. It is obvious that the client is not familiar with the operators brand image and related quality norms, at least the design impact of it. I contacted the operator who also fell of his chair when told of the budget. Anyone who would accept such fees would have to complement the fees with some other income which would obviously have to come from supplier commissions. The idea of appointing a professional lighting consultant is to obtain independent advise, value for money and cost saving quality solutions for the long run and not a design clouded by conflict of interest.
What worries me most with this type of client is that this mind set will undoubtedly translate into the budget for procurement later on in the project. Unless the client can be turned around and educated about the benefits of investing a bit more in consultant fees and product quality, the project is bound for frustration and disappointment. I have seen it all happen before…you keep your hopes up but it never happens. Get it right at the beginning, otherwise the end quality is doomed even before you start! You feed peanuts, you get monkeys…isn’t that the saying?
In Light Watch today one of those 6 star developments in Bali…I wasn’t involved but I did visit the place and brand image and quality definitely were taken seriously…
Light Watch 96: The Bulgari, Bali