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5 Adopt and maintain a company policy regarding specification integrity. Write a policy statement on luminaire specifications to be distributed to your design clients, key project decision makers, and other project team members.


6 Develop a strong relationship with the client so that they are educated and understand the need and benefits of a particular lighting product. Table top demonstrations and mockups can be helpful. In addition, many reputable manufacturers can often provide a list of projects locally or around the country, that may reference a helpful installation of the product.


7 Meet with key representatives of your local manufacturers’ agencies to discuss your policy and how to work together to maintain the integrity of your lighting specifications. Maintain an up to date list of manufacturer’s contacts with their phone numbers and email address.


8 Understand the channels of specification including project design team, electrical contractor, distributor, manufacturer and owner/client.


a A lighting manufacturer typically sells their products thru a distributor, who provides products and services to an electrical contractor. Markups added to the manufacturers price, by the distributor and electrical contractor are customary — but need to be carefully monitored. Markups can vary pending which contractor is selected, project type, product type, location and other factors.


b After the lighting designer specifies the lighting products and equipment for a project, electrical contractors bid for the project based on the documentation provided. Later, the electrical contractor purchases lighting and other electrical equipment, wiring, devices, etc. from a distributor. Sometimes “packaging” occurs when manufacturers representatives and/or distributors offer discounts for substituting the specified product with another brand that they regularly carry. Keep in mind, distributors can acquire ANY product, but may provide more competitive pricing on products from manufacturers they are authorized to represent or have pre-existing relationships with. Most qualified distributors and electrical contractors will provide the project as specified and documented.


Note: Be aware that the electrical contractor has typically been hired to provide the electrical portion of the project within a certain budget (eg. their bid proposal). An electrical contractor may wish to take advantage of “packaging” and substitution in an effort to make additional profit on the project, by substituting the more costly products with less expensive (and sometimes inferior) products and pocketing the difference. Other times, they may pass a marginal savings on to the owner/client as an incentive to allow the substitutions. Owners/clients may be encouraged about savings, but may not be fully informed or aware of the consequences.


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