John Bullock Lighting Design
John Bullock Lighting Design
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Will the Real Designer please step forward?


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.

RIBA CPD in 2015

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John Bullock Lighting Design
4 Miller Way

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