Facility Maintenance Decisions

Lighting Retrofits: The Role of Consultants and Designers

If the lighting retrofit involves the installation of controls, managers should consider bringing in a commissioning agent who is independent of the installing contractor. The agent will ensure the controls are installed and working properly. Not all contractors understand the controls they install, and it is not unusual for the controls to not work as designed.

Professional lighting designers also can play an important role in successful retrofits. These people spend their careers learning about and keeping up with changes in lighting technology.

Managers should be aware of credentials, though. Many people call themselves lighting designers or consultants, but upon closer inspection, many are salespersons. If consultants have the letters LC after their names, it simply means they have passed a test proving they have a minimum knowledge of lighting systems.

If consultants have IALD or PLDA after their names, it means they belong to a professional organization for lighting designers. To qualify for those designations, they must make a living designing lighting systems and cannot work for a manufacturer or sell lighting products.

Cost control is always a top priority for managers involved in retrofit projects, but not all retrofits require a large amount of time by a consultant. If a manager has worked with a consultant who has provided good service in the past for larger projects, contract with that person for on-call services where he or she can be available for advice on an hourly basis.

An on-call contract provides a low-cost way for a consultant to bill for a few hours of their time and provides a way for managers to receive good advice at a reasonable cost. Establishing a rapport with someone trustworthy is money well spent.

dfong@candela.com, IALD, PLDA, LEED®AP, MIES is principal of Candela, a lighting consulting and design firm with offices in Washington and California. She has more than 25 years of experience developing award-winning lighting designs in the built environment.

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  posted on 11/19/2012   Article Use Policy

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