The specification game

Singapore, 23rd September 2014

Specifying light fittings for our projects is a critical process that is not necessarily the same for each project that we do. While the thinking and design process maybe the same the execution and the formalities maybe different from case to case. The ideal situation is that you specify a light fitting exactly down to the brand, the type, the reference model number, even country of origin (some same products are manufactured in different countries) including where to buy the product. That leaves no margins for different interpretations and the end result is 100% your doing…you choose the fitting…assuming the installation is done properly as well.

Unfortunately the reality is different. The ideal situation rarely happens and most of the time we are faced with compromise situations where we have to value engineer our lighting design to find a satisfactory solution between the clients made available budget and the minimum acceptable quality and performance of the lighting. I come to this subject today as we attended a tender return and evaluation on one of our resort projects. The tender return box was officially opened this morning at the client office and for confidentiality and avoidance of any fraudulent activity all tenders had to be assessed and evaluated on the spot in the clients office. Consultants ad been requested to fly into Kuala Lumpur for this. One of our staff went there and I remained on standby in our office for any assistance as needed.

Because of the short time line and the limited clients budget we had earlier decided to put out generic specifications only without any brand indication, though with clear values to typical performance and quality criteria critical to the desired lighting end result. Our expectation was that the tenderers would then do the necessary research to come up with competitive and technically complying bids. To our surprise the contractors bidding for the project just provided a general lump sum for the fixtures without any specific light fitting details. Probably playing the game from their point of view banking on the clients “weakness” for a competitive pricing…we of course can accept nor approve a blank cheque for any sort of fixture and played the ball back today…

Light Watch 5-160: As part of my presentation I always introduce a comparative table explaining the various criteria that amount to the different appreciation of light fittings. For that we grade light fixtures from A to C with A being top of the range and C being the low end (“China-made” or copy products)…this helps explain value for money and the balance between quality and costs…



23. September 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Education, Light & Learn, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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