Quality versus quantity

Singapore, 18th February 2014

Time and again we come across project budgets that have been put together by quantity surveyors who have no idea what they are talking about. Worse even, they then manage to get owners approval (of course as they have totally undervalued the real necessary costs) and subsequently keep hammering the team that the budgets have all been approved and that we have to stick to it. Does it ever happen that we as lighting designers are asked to come up with the budget for the lighting of a project? Yes it does (occasionally) but even if we do somehow mysteriously a “previous” budget materialises as reference to tell you that your budget is way over what they have planned for. So what’s the point then?

Anyhow I have developed a new strategy to make them better understand that you cannot just cut costs by looking at cheap alternatives. Yes we always do our due diligence and value engineer our concept to basic quality and performance levels where we feel that does not affect the overall end result too much. However there is a point where you have to say that’s enough. And that’s where the next step comes in…start removing lights step by step in order to bring down the costs to the desired budget. OK, let’s take out the swimming pool lights, and oh yes we could take out the tree up-lighting as well. By working this through one by one they suddenly realise that once you have established the basic quality level, the next step is to take out the quantities…somehow they may find some funds again as stripping the lighting design of its key features does create some attention… :)

Light Watch 5-25: Simplicity is often the key to everything, but that is sometimes easier said than done. There are many ways to skin a cat so to say. And we as lighting designers have a tendency to overdesign. You can light a room with just one light bulb, but is that simplicity? Quality? Certainly minimum quantity. Here are a series of cubes (one of the basic simple shapes in life) with different interpretations…I am just saying… :)

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18. February 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting design | Leave a comment

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