Value for Money when Purchasing for Hotels: E. Do Not Specify What Can't Be Used.

BurjKhalifaPretty1. Do not specify north American lighting... ...unless the project is in north America, when you must.

International bodies like CENELEC go to great lengths to ensure that lighting standards are similar throughout the world. This makes it possible to specify lights made almost anywhere (assuming that they are accompanied by the appropriate certificates of conformity). It also means that where further approval is required -- e.g. SASO for Saudi Arabia, GOST for Russia -- no re-engineering is necessary.

However, the exception is north America. Their standards are completely different. This means that north American lighting is illegal and potentially dangerous when used anywhere else.

If a north American light is specified, there are only two possible outcomes:

a.    it is not installed. So something else has to be found by the purchaser at very short notice -- all value considerations go out of the window

b.    it is installed. Thus the specifier will have been responsible for putting in something that is illegal and potentially dangerous. Their client will reasonably expect that a professional would not do this (as we have recently seen with breast implants) and, of course, the owner's insurance could be invalidated if the hotel burns down because of the light.

Note that there are exceptions:

a.     American firms that make to international standards, such as David Weeks, Kevin Reilly and Fine Art Lamps. But there are very few others.

b.     Some European lights are sold in America under different brand names. So sometimes a design found in north America can be used by buying the European original, usually at a considerable saving (and therefore better value) because of the higher mark-ups applied in the US to luxury goods, plus the cost of the re-engineering and UL certification that made its use in North America possible.

2. Ensure that you know the requirements for the location.

The technical requirements for particular locations can vary territory to territory. Where there may be a problem -- in a bathroom, for example -- a UK-based designer would be expected to know what is required in the UK, and to ask before specifying lights for anywhere else.

In the UK, there is no specific IP rating requirement for a light near the basin in a bathroom. If, nevertheless, IP44 is insisted upon, over 95% of designs have to be ruled out, and the price of what can be selected is considerably higher, because of the additional engineering required to keep the water out -- poor value!

If, on the other hand, IP44 is required, and a light that is not IP44 (or higher) is specified, the results are same as when specifying north American lights outside north America (see above).

Note: this series of posts builds up into a single Briefing, a PDF of which is downloadable here: A Briefing on Value for Money when Purchasing for Hotels.

Print Friendly and PDF