Design and reality

Goa- Mumbai 27th January 2012

It has been an interesting trip to Gao so far. After yesterday’s consultants meeting we spent the day “roaming the site” with the consultant and site team to iron out as much issues as possible taking advantage of our joint presence. I said yesterday how important the attention to the actual installation and implementation is. Its all in the details! Specifically in such large projects which are spread over many years of design and specification work, which saw many project managers and site personnel come and go, it is inevitable that things get lost in translation.

Let me share some of the things that I have been confronted with, baring in mind that the design was completed and spec’d more than 2 years ago and that during constructions issues came up such as site restrictions, changing operator inputs, unavailability of materials or products, electrical changes, budget limitations…all those things that cannot all be perfectly documented but pop up when the construction starts.

One of the issues are lamp types. In a project of this size it is impossible to have everything on dimming and each and every area on a 5 star product level even though the hotel is a 5 plus star. Energy and cost saving have to be applied where possible. So in the design stages decisions are made about areas that could use CFL or Metal halide lamps for instance (back of house areas, etc). We did that to the best of our knowledge and coordination, but found on site that some areas were moved back to front of house, but still carried the lighting design from back of house. As a result we had un-dimmable circuits with incompatible lamp types as a left over from an older design version.

We also found that the electrical contractor had taken short-cuts by combining circuits or incorrectly looping lights together. Also  “loose” decorative lights (so called FFE items), such as floor and table lamps, that had to be hard wired into the dimming system were just simply plugged into a power socket. Electrical engineers by definition are not very creative when it comes to decision making. We had many ‘electrical” surprises…

Finally not all our fitting selections turned out to be the best for what we wanted it to do. That seems easy to say when you have them installed in their final environment, but 2 years earlier with only plans and your own visual imagination, it is not always that obvious….I would venture that in this project about 3-5% of our fitting specifications were not as suitable as thought at planning and design stage…. I can only imagine how much young and relatively inexperienced lighting designers get it wrong!

Light Watch 3-11: I leave you with some pictures of the Australian Open in Melbourne. The finals are on this weekend with a mouth-watering Nadal-Djokovic men final this Sunday. As a former competition player myself (long-long time ago :)) I can but admire these players…

28. January 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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