How to cheat: pricing emergency lighting

Can you price up 212 standard 3W non-maintained emergency downlighters? Best we can do so far is €??. OK?

” OK, no problem. Just a quick question, how long a warranty did you get?”

“1 year.”

“Can you send me the photometric data you’re looking to match?”

“They don’t supply it”

“Ours have a 5 year warranty and have full photometric data. You do know that you may be buying and installing fittings that are not compliant to EN 69598-2-22.”

“Well now you’re just going overboard! “

!From an original call, but far from original story, told to The Light Review by Will Olohan of Arrow Emergency Lighting.

So – what’s going on here?

  • A couple of options:
    our contractor friend has under-pitched for the project and is now trying to re-build his margins
  • our contractor friend is simply trying to boost his profits and doesn’t really care what the impact might be on those who might be affected by his efforts.

Oh – all right, let’s be generous and offer up a mix of the two. Times are hard; you pitch for what you can get and you make up your turnover as best you can. Now THAT is being generous, but its certainly not being generous to the people who might get trapped in a burning building and can’t find their way out because the emergency lighting isn’t up to snuff.

And what’s not going on here?

For example:

  • Where’s the performance specification for those 3W NM downlights? Where’s the scheme design that explains how they are to be used?
  • Where’s the photometric data? I’m sure that not all 3W NM downlights provide the same light output?
  • Has the scheme been designed to provide a particular length of service? Does that service match the warranty?
  • Is anyone interested in the performance of the batteries?

Is anyone interested?

By the time the information has reached the contractor, the requirements of the project should be knitted into the specification. The scheme designers should have ensured that all of the technical and performance criteria are front and centre of the specification. The contractor’s hands should be tied sufficiently narrowly to the spec. that room for manoeuvre only existed within those scheme metrics – and, of course, no contractor worth their salt would even consider installing emergency fixtures that may not be fit for purpose into any building – anywhere – any time.

And here’s a final reminder to our contractor friend. The Completion Certificate that you are required to sign upon completion of works is a legal document. It requires that the work that you’ve carried out has been done in accordance with Wiring Regulations. And that means that, when something goes wrong it’ll be you in the dock and it’ll be your future on the line.

It also means, of course, that all the fine work that you’ve done installing these pieces of tat all have to be removed and replaced with the real thing. You probably can’t afford to do that and it’ll probably break you. So then there’s all the hassle of bankruptcy, loss of your credit lines and all the shenanigans that come along with that sorry state of affairs . . .

and quite rightly so.

The 7-Step Programme to Good Lighting

Step 6: The Install
Electrical installers have a duty of care to their clients to ensure that the equipment they install is fit for purpose. That doesn’t just mean that its cheap, but that it’s capable of doing the job for which it’s intended and for an acceptable period of time – not just to the end of the guarantee period.

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About JB

John Bullock is the editor of The Light Review

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