Number crunching

Delhi, 28th June 2012

Another long day and I reckon close to 5 hours driving around in the car! It did not help that my first meeting was in the South, my next one in Gurgaon Hills and my last one in Rohini in the North!

But I started the day in our Delhi office where the project director of our Mall project dropped in to work with us on the budget for our lighting design. While the design has been approved in general we now need to nail the budget, so we spent the morning crunching numbers to come to a total cost picture for approval by the “big bosses”. It is amazing how much impact small changes in amounts or quantities can have on the final outcome. From experience we know what figures make sense and when working on budgets you generally first focus on the big ticket items as that is where small variations have a big impact.

What makes this kind of exercises challenging is that you have to work with “wild” quotes from the suppliers. The amounts they quote to you are for reference and generally include plenty of safety buffers. A $1000 quote generally means the actual cost is probably half but uncertain costs like taxes, shipping and delivery, contractor coverage, exchange rate fluctuations, warranty and so influence and on drive the price up. Not to forget the supplier profit margins (30 to 50% are normal) and in this part of the world the oh-so common under table moneys.

So crunching numbers to come to a budget amount that makes sense, takes a lot of experience and understanding of the process of design, supply and installation. Add to that nowadays the drive for sustainability in the form of LED technology with its premium pricing which requires us to make ROI calculations to show that the extra costs for LED is justified against the savings in the long run. There also the manipulation of numbers, operation hours, life expectancy, wattages can result in huge differences in the outcome! It has been an interesting day of crunching numbers…while the resulting budget is in line with expectations, somehow the ROI figures were not, still some more crunching to be done!

Light Watch 3-94: This evening I went out for another site visit, this time to assess an existing lighting installation in a theme and amusement park. Not surprisingly the main issues were all to do with maintenance (about 1/3 of the lights not working) with heaps of cheaply installed floodlights to compensate for the lack of proper lighting. Here are some “mood” pictures, spot the failing and glary lights for your self 🙂

29. June 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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