Another magazine drops through the letterbox and, courtesy of the general economic gloom, I have plenty of time to flick through the pages before going into the kitchen for another cup of tea. And what do I find - oh, joy of joys - but vindication of something that's been winding me up for ages. It was a piece entitled 'ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION WORK - WHO IS THE DESIGNER? and it comes from those lovely people at The Electrical Safety Council.
Here's the thing: I've always taken the time to explain gently to clients - architects - interior designers - our postman - anyone who'll listen - that I'm only a lighting designer and that means I produce lighting layouts. Very good ones they may be, but that's all they are; they are not electrical layouts, which are a different thing entirely. Its much like the difference between a jar of very good lentils and a tarka daal.
A lighting design, as my good friends at The Electrical Safety Council are happy to verify, is nought but a specification; its not a design at all. The transformation has to be wrought by the hands of an 'electrically competent person' - so you can stop looking at me. There are really only two groups of people who fall into this category, electrical consulting engineers and electrical contractors.
Why is this an issue at all? Because there are folk out there who think the design bit of the work can be avoided, simply to save money. So long as the site electrician has a layout plan and the correct fittings have been ordered (no - don't get me started on that one), what else is needed? Well, here's a question for you: How many wires does it take to connect a dimmable compact fluorescent lamp? The answer to that is usually 'one more than you installed before the walls and ceilings were all plastered and fininshed'.
So its an issue mainly because I'm sick and tired of seeing my drawings turning up on site with an electrician turning them around and around trying to make sense of them - drawings that have obviously never been through the purifying fire of the electrical design office and it only means one thing: IT'LL ALL END IN TEARS.
A (very) basic guide to ethical specification
Lighting design: it's a client thing
Calculating obtrusive light: whose job is it?
When there's nothing in the catalogue
When is a chandelier not a pendant? When its a lantern!
When clients learn too much . . .
One of our details is missing
Where will light fittings come from?
The end of the light bulb?
Always something new . . . again
Always something new . . .
Combining old and new
On being in the dark . . .
Riffing The Internet of Things
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room