This topic follows on from the recent general advice on things to budget for when planning a house build. The amount set aside in a contract or tender for a specific product is called a Prime Cost Sum, or p.c. sum. Contractually this means that it is a sum put in the contract to be expended at the discretion of the client for a specific purpose. If you do not spend the full amount, the difference is taken off or added to the final account. Your quantity surveyor will also provide a line in the Bill, sometimes called profit and attendances, that is an amount the main contractor puts in, related to your p.c. sum, to cover organising and installing that item.

When I am preparing a client budget for a project or tendering a project later on in the process, I always include specific amount for bespoke lighting, over an above the general allowance for electrical works. This is so that there is a ring-fenced amount in the client’s mind for architect-designed feature lighting.

Feature lighting is extremely important in architecture, because if done right, it adds a disproportionate feeling of quality to the whole works, over and above the relatively small investment, compared to other architectural gestures such as finishes, spatial drama, quality fittings etc. If you spend money or design budget on the above, and do not light them effectively, they can fade into the background. The space may have no ‘punch’.

It is important that the budget has this as a separate element at the earliest stage, separate to the general electrical sum, because during the development of a design and its budget, cost savings are usually introduced. The electrical budget will no doubt come under pressure, and if it is, when it comes to doing a detail design for lighting design, the budget will have been exhausted before it comes to designing these features, and often good lighting will not happen. The result is that even interesting architectural features can come across as pedestrian, as the lighting does not do it justice.

THE FUNCTION OF BESPOKE LIGHTING

Bespoke lighting can perform a number of similar functions, and in every project I try to identify what might be most effective or appropriate event to integrate special lighting in an unexpected way.

ARCHITECTURAL THEATRE

The first image above shows a suspended timber skeleton holding a l.e.d. strip. The light is at the inverted apex of the two sloping ceilings either side, which has been truncated by the horizontal ceiling section around the light. The whole light installation makes for a ‘ghost’ completion of the angles. This is purely a piece of architectural theatre.

SPATIAL EMPHASIS

The detail below is a l.e.d. strip in a handrail recess. The ambulant stairway to a first floor apartment is required by regulation to have handrails both sides, and achieve a certain clear-width. The solution here was to recess one handrail. Rather than do this in a dark shadow filled void, the application of the light highlights the void and turns it into a very cool feature light which at night draws you from the front door up to the accommodation level.

STRUCTURAL HIGHLIGHT

This third example is a steel beam which supports the whole house above and the cantilevered extension. The l.e.d. lighting strip on the lower flange of the steel illuminates the web of the beam and upper flange, so that the beam itself becomes the luminaire, and throws light horizontally across the ceiling.

This lightens the structure and declares it as an element integral to the space.

THANK YOU FOR READING OUR BLOG POST ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUDGETING FOR LIGHTING IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

I would love to hear your comments on lighting design and project budgeting and if you have any questions post them in the comments below and I will get back to you. Thank you for reading my blog on this issue and do share it using the buttons opposite!

If you would like to speak with an architect please feel free to Contact Us

Also you can leave a comment or question below.

Ask The Expert!

You are invited to post your questions on this topic in the comment section at the end of the page and we will advise you as best we can….

Open House Cork 2019 engagement

Open House Cork 2019 We were blown away by the interest in Passive House expressed during the events of Open House Cork 2019. Our participation began on Friday with my presentation on Climate Breakdown, Passive House and various projects showing its implementation. We...

Instagram Passive House De-Coded series

Passive House De-Coded now on Instagram Instagram Passive House De-Coded series; We are delighted to present video content on Instagram showing our work in progress. The idea behind this content is to talk through all aspects of the design and execution of PassivHaus...

Open House Cork 2019

Bishopstown Extension open for viewing as part of Open House Cork 2019 programme We are looking forward to opening our house extension in Bishopstown, as part of the programme of Open House Cork...

County Cork Passive House site visit

Come see our latest PassivHaus in progress! This Passive House is under way in Bandon, County Cork and we would love you to come see what great construction looks like and have all your questions answered by the experts! First visit will be at 11.00 a.m. on Wednesday...

LEED Gold Office Building Design

LEED Gold Office Design LEED Gold Office design was a central topic at the recent 'Delivering Commercial NZEB' conference in Pairc Ui Chaoimh, hosted by the Technical University of Dublin. It is apparent that low-energy office buildings are becoming the norm in the...

The evolution of a model of an architectural design

MODEL MAKING AS AN ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN TOOL Why do architects make models? Because it is fun! From making Lego as a kid to building castles, dens, forts, treehouses, this was the kind of thing I have always enjoyed doing. Now I get to do it for real with buildings -...

A Code of Conduct for clients & contractors

A 'code of conduct' for clients and contractors What is a code of conduct? There is an explicit Code of Conduct for Architects, which governs our behaviour, and if we do not adhere to it, we can lose our Registration and be prevented from practicing as architects. But...

How to plan for developing your site in Cork

How to plan for developing your site in Cork for small infill developments. There is huge site development planning potential locked up in under-developed sites in all over Cork city. With the huge pressure to get houses built, there is a great opportunity for those...

13 things to budget for when planning your house build

These are 13 things to budget for when planning your house build. The single most important thing to do if you want your house build to go as smoothly as possible, is get a realistic budget in place before you start designing. A budget is not what you want to spend,...