Safety and security
Singapore 29th April 2013
With the recent events in the world; the Boston Marathon bombing and the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh resulting in hundreds of deaths and wounded, it is hard not to stand still at the aspect of safety and security. Our hearts go out to all those who lost friends or family and on a deeper level I guess we all think how the world has come to this…While the first is the result of a terror action that may be really difficult to predict let alone prevent, the collapse of an 8 storey garment factory is a pure result of greed for money. I can’t see it any other way. The owner build 3 additional stories illegally and then ignored an order to evacuate the building the day before when sudden cracks had appeared in the building. It may seem far from your bed, but shortcuts in quality and safety procedures to improve the bottom line are rife and common practice in the Asia Pacific region and probably the World.
In our lighting design profession we see that in the form of “value engineering”, a complicated term to describe cost cutting measures. Unfortunately it does generally not come with a change of concept or approach as we see our clients trying to maintain the concept but by replacing the higher cost of quality light fittings with cheap alternatives. What gets lost in the process is that often that comes with unacceptable lost in quality and performance. To the inexperienced eye the light fitting may look roughly the same, but quality, lighting performance, electrical safety and durability for instance are generally severely compromised, something that only comes to the fore after the lights are already installed.
I recently was called back to a side in India where the client had decided to use our specifications but go ahead with the procurement of the light fittings by themselves without consulting us. They did not understand why the lighting was so bad…Not surprisingly I found many of the lights not working due to the extreme poor quality and poor installation. All light fittings had no brands, purposely imported from China at an average one-tenth (!) of the generally accepted market price…you get what you pay for… but more importantly you potentially put people at risk just like the garment factory as quality, safety and security are compromised!
Light Watch 4-74: An application where poor quality and maintenance has an immediate effect on the safety and security of the public is public road lighting…