"The lighting installation doesn’t look the way we designed it,” is a statement we hear from many architects. The design team spends months developing concepts, selecting light fixtures, and working through design development to documentation. But then the project goes out to bid, everything is substituted, and the integrity of the design is either compromised or looks nothing like the original intent.
We hear you! What if there were a better way to light your project? A way that allows you to maintain control through the bid and VE process? A way for you to get what you originally designed?
There really is a better way. The steps you take in the early design phases lay the ground work in getting the design you want onto the project. It will require changing your approach to the project, but taking the following steps will go a long way to easing your frustration, and will allow for a better design:
Let’s be realistic. The contractor is going to offer a VE anyway. However, the design team should prepare their own value engineering to be the measuring stick to all other VEs. Substitutions from the contractor should be considered fixture by fixture and not as a package. By establishing the unit price in the original bid, each proposed substitute stands on its own in regard to the effect it has on the project and savings to the owner.
The best way to implement these steps into your project is to include an independent lighting designer as a member of your design team. The lighting designer will take on the responsibility of implementing these steps and delivering the intended design to the project. A good lighting designer will give you a good design, objectively select the correct fixture for the application, uphold the project’s lighting design integrity, and in many cases, save money by mitigating potential problems. This allows you more time to do what you do best!
In our next installment, we will break down each of the above steps in more detail. If you’d like to find a better way to light your projects, give us a call at 615.596.3001, or reach out to us at email@example.com. Feel free to share our articles with your co-workers, or they can sign up on our website at www.dhslightingdesign.com.
Danny Streit, IALD, IES, LC is Design Principal of DHS Lighting Design in Nashville, TN, and has over 20 years’ experience in architectural lighting design and lighting control systems. He has successfully completed over 1300 designs in his career and has a history of providing innovative, functional, and sustainable lighting solutions for any design application. firstname.lastname@example.org
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