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Once lighting system criteria are established, it’s time to select and specify the lighting components. Many considerations are involved in the equipment selection process, including:
These are the criteria that will determine which systems and manufacturers are acceptable to specific needs. This essential information should be clearly spelled out in your written specifications.
It’s important to learn which additional manufacturers have products available that meet your design criteria so you can list them as “approved equal” in your specification documents. This will help to foster competitive pricing. The specifier should be confident in the products being listed knowing that it is the best solution for the job. Never write “or equal” in the specification document; always write “approved equal.” Then, the document should list the specific manufacturers.
It is best to create a formal specification document — a lighting schedule or pages of equipment sheets that are detailed and are clear as to what is required. Simply supplying a catalog sheet may not adequately convey all of the information needed. The specification document should have an equipment description, including a list of the features and benefits, a list of manufacturers and catalog numbers of the products selected, and a list of the specific lamp types, including the manufacturer, product code and catalog code of the desired lamp. Also consider listing the color Kelvin, CRI, lumen output and lamp life. Too often lamps are not specific enough and then the supplier may just choose the cheapest, low quality option. Lamps are the most common product substituted or changed without approval. The wrong lamp can ruin the lighting intent.
Other parts of the detailed specification include a list of accessories and a list of notes or comments for the installing contractor that are important to this product — “aim the track lighting to accent the art” or “install the down lights 30 inches from the wall,” for instance. If possible, include photos or illustrations of what the fixture or equipment looks like.
In addition to detailed equipment specifications, provide in writing “Contractor/Supplier General Provisions.” This document will cover important topics and expectations for the suppliers. Topics should include if or how an alternate product may be proposed, expectations about product ordering and delivery schedules, whether the contractor is responsible for proper interpretation of the drawings and specifications, and a list of expectations from the specifier about contractor responsibilities.
Lighting Systems and Specification Documents