Standing your ground
Singapore, 5th September 2012
One of the most difficult things in lighting design is to stand by your design specifications and the implications it has either technically or financially. We are fighting these battles nearly daily and today was no different. Whether it is the economy or the tight budget (put together and administered by someone not understanding and appreciating the importance of good lighting) is hard to tell, but the impact is noticeable.
Today I pulled the emergency brake on one of our clients after we were told to further reduce the cost. This after we had already gone through two rounds of extensive cost cutting (value engineering as it is neatly called) for which we were even paid additional fees! But after these two rounds which also included architectural and interior design modifications (simplifications), I felt we had scraped the bottom out of the pan in how far we could value engineer the lighting down. There are some basic minimum standards to up-held and our professional integrity demands that we do so! That is why we are hired, that is why we are being paid! There are some designers for whom it’s their way or the highway, but we are generally accommodating in consideration of the clients budget…but there are limits and today we reached that point and I had to pull the brakes.
I have called for an emergency meeting with the client and the operator (they will have to run the place and should know what they are in for!) to make our position clear and make sure everyone understand the implications of any further cost cutting of the lighting. I was told that they want to cut the cost to a further 1/3 (!) of the costs achieved after the two rounds of value engineering! To me that is impossible. Lighting is always an easy target and one of those small last little items on the budget but visually the impact is far reaching! We have reached the lowest acceptable quality, I am not sure how we can further reduce quantities, so it’s time to look elsewhere for further budget costs or put the money where their mouth is! I am standing my ground!
Light Watch 3-134: Just a few days ago the West Australian newspaper ran an article blaming down lights for house fires. Poor quality and poorly installed down lights being highlighted as the cause! As a professional I cannot afford to have this tagged to my name hence I have to make my stand clear to the client.