TOP 5 LIGHTING CHALLENGES FACED BY PROJECT MANAGERS
We work closely with PMs on all types of jobs, and there are certain challenges that keep cropping up when it comes to lighting. Of course, there’s bound to be obstacles in building design, but there are still things you can do to reduce any problems and make the lighting integration as seamless as possible. Here is a look at the most common areas where headaches usually arise and some thoughts on how to get around them.
1. MISINTERPRETING OF THE BRIEF
With so many different stakeholders involved in a project, the original brief can get lost. The project evolves and new parties come on board, all with their own goals and expertise. Things can start to stray from what the client initially asked for; solutions are agreed to and products ordered, which no longer reflect the original brief. If things need to be reordered, having already been signed off, it costs time and money, as well as creating dissatisfaction. This is why proper collaboration is so important, to manage internal stakeholders, reconfirm the brief and keep everyone involved in the decision-making process in case alternatives are required. It’s always wise to consult with a lighting specialist as early as possible so that everyone is on the same page.
2. CLIENT EDUCATION
A client’s vision for their lighting design might not be feasible for several reasons. It is a specialist area and there are lots of factors to consider. We can’t expect clients to be lighting experts, which is why we need to be open and honest about any limitations, take a proactive approach to problem-solving and think outside the box to come up with bespoke solutions if necessary. Being transparent from the start, and taking time to discuss the options in detail, is always easier than trying to backtrack after committing to something that isn’t going to work.
3. INSUFFICIENT BUDGET
This one is no surprise, and it tends to be a constant battle between clients, PMs, contractors, and suppliers. There can be a big gap between the expectations of what budgets will cover versus the actual cost. This is especially true when it comes to lighting control systems. High-tech choices might sound appealing, and companies want to be at the cutting-edge with things like smart lighting and daylight harvesting, for example. Still, it’s detrimental if you overstretch the budget early on, only for these elements to fall through the cracks during the value engineering process.
4. LEAD TIMES
Long product lead times coupled with increasingly tight delivery dates leave no margin for error. This was always the case, even more so when we’re faced with external challenges such as factory shutdowns and supply issues, the likes of which we’ve seen recently in China, and further afield, due to COVID-19. Where possible, we need to manage expectations on timings and maintain close relationships with a range of global suppliers to mitigate the risks and look for alternative procurement options.
5. WORKPLACE WELLNESS
It’s fantastic that we’re seeing a growing move towards WELL-accredited projects, and products that support workplace wellness in the UAE and wider GCC. However, the industry is still playing catch up here compared to Europe and many lighting suppliers in the region are still not conversant in the latest regulations and standards. More complex calculations and processes are required, which can increase project delivery times, and this is compounded further without the right understanding. WELL is an area where we have demonstrated our expertise on a number of projects and we’re able to step in and advise design teams on the most effective execution.