The week that was…5-9th December 2016
Perth, Weekend 10 – 11 December 2016
My last working week in Perth this year, but what an exciting week it was. We are laying the groundworks for next year with new projects in the pipeline and catching up with project clients before their upcoming Xmas break (summer holidays in Australia) was crucial. While the general consensus is that the economies are down and many not sure what the future will bring (including the uncertainty surrounding the incoming Trump administration, Brexit and increased populist movements around the world) there still seems to be a lot in the pipeline. We have our work cut out for the remainder of the year and will definitely end on a high, but securing longevity and continuity for the company in the coming year and years is a constant focus and hence taking the time to meet, catch up and follow up with potential new project clients is a must, certainly now. Often when economies are down, design work is undertaken so that plans and design documents are ready to go when the economies start moving again.
John Glenn and the City of Light
As I write this blog news is breaking that the first astronaut to fly around the earth in the sixties, John Glenn just passed away aged 95. It is specifically significant for Perth as when he flew over Australia at night Perth stood out and he called Perth the City of Light, a nick name that has stuck all those years, even though Paris is now probably more famous for it. The reason that Perth stood out so brightly is that it was surrounded by outback countryside with virtually no other lights for thousands of kilometres. Today Perth is still very much spared from the pollution that many cities suffer throughout the world, we still have beautiful starry nights. I still remember John Glenn’s flight as I remember the first landing on the moon a few years later. I was fascinated by the space race and still have the newspaper cuttings from that time. John by the way went back into space at the ripe age of 77 years to become the oldest man ever to fly in space. See more at the link below:
Lighting Designer Performance Bond?
During the week I received a message from our Jakarta office asking me if I could provide a performance bond, which was a demand by a potential client and to be submitted as part of our fee proposal! From my experience performance bonds are asked from contractors and generally relate to big contracts, not the relatively minute contract of a lighting designer. The performance bond requested was 20%of the fee! We discussed this as I felt uncomfortable and a bit alarmed that a client would ask for a bond. So far we have never had to provide a performance bond as a lighting designer. We have asked suppliers and contractors to provide them as part of tender submissions, but then we are talking about millions worth of contracts, not a few thousand dollars for LD fees. Anyhow we submitted with the statement that a performance bond could be provided on signing of a mutually agreeable contract arrangement. The idea being that if the client does not trust us to deliver, we wanted to make sure that with the provision of the bond we will also have “watertight” terms and conditions in regards to their payment commitments to us. It has to work both ways don’t you think?
Is there a future in wind farms?
During the week I was surprised to read an article in regards to failing wind farms (those who provide energy by huge wind mills) in South Australia. The article claimed that quite often the wind farms broke down (made in China?) or either there was too much (auto switch-off) or not enough wind resulting in an average of only 8% energy being delivered by the wind farms rather than the capacity of 40% that they are supposed to deliver! As a result the article claimed that there was insufficient power available in the grid and assistance from neighbouring states was called in to top up the shortage of energy supply. Big question marks were raised about the future of wind farms, not only because of the failure to deliver, but also because the costs and visual disturbance these monsters create. Having them out at sea out of view is maybe acceptable, but having a forest of these monsters in our natural landscape is another story all together. The judges are still out on this one I guess and personally I am also not sure what to think of it…we do need renewable energy, but can’t we find more ingenious ways to harvest wind energy?
Life on Perth.
During the week we followed up on several projects and had the opportunity to revisit one of our recently completed projects, one that is up for an heritage award, the former Palace Hotel at the corner of Williams and St Georges Terrace in Perth. The architect of the project, Woods Bagot, decided afterwards to move their offices in the building and they did a marvellous job in refurbishing the interiors to fit their architectural studio needs. The building is quickly becoming an icon of the city. We followed up on one of our projects in Kalgoorlie where the client is keen to convert an existing installation into new LED technology, acknowledging in the process the need for expert input to make that transition smoothly. I wish more clients would acknowledge that rather than talk to biased lighting suppliers! The upgrade of the uniting churches in the city to replace and improve the lighting with new LED technology and other lighting features is moving into full documentation and should result in a final package for presentation, approval and implementation go-ahead in the early part of the next year! We look forward to that…
Enjoy your weekend