Planning ahead of time
Kuala Lumpur, 8th October 2012
One of the biggest challenges for a lighting designer has to be planning ahead of time when it comes putting together specifications for a lighting installations. The lead time between design and actual implementation (read: supply and installation) can be as much as 2-3 years (sometimes even more!). Hence by the time our design is realised, the products that we specified at the time run the risk of being out dated at project completion and no longer leading edge. With LED technology development moving at similar speeds as the IPhone development (1, 2, 3, 4 and now 5!) it is not difficult to see how “clairvoyant” today’s lighting designer needs to be to accurately anticipate where the technology will be a few years down the road!
I am in KL today and tomorrow for one of my projects that will see its completion probably somewhere in 2015…in other words another 3 years from now. With the LED technology moving as fast as it does, one of my biggest challenges now is to specify with future flexibility to adapt to changes up to the last minute. This is not as easy as it seems as along the design process we will arrive at points of no return, times where we have to log in the design for good to allow related architecture and services to progress without stalling the project.
The main thing for me is to talk to the manufacturer head offices, their R&D departments, read and enrich myself as much as I can on where we are and what is to be expected in the near future. This not only includes lighting quality and performance issues but also financial considerations that will affect the budget by the time it is to be procured. Right now I need all my years of knowledge and experience to do that. I need to interpret all information that I receive, assess it and match it up against the deliverables that I am after and wish to achieve with my lighting design. With LED technology being as complex as it is with all the reported problems that inevitably come along with such speedy technology progress, I need all my wisdom and analytical skills to keep myself on target!
Light Watch 3-151: Today we tested a brand new LED floodlight, with only 13W of power demand undoubtedly leading the pack which in the past would have required a 70 W metal halide to achieve. But will it still be leading edge in 3 years’ time…I bet you not!