We have to accept that Value Engineering is something that will be applied to all projects at some point during the development phase and on the whole if handled correctly should realise some savings or overall reduction in costs through improved design or better pricing.
There are however areas where Value Engineering should be carefully managed; such areas as Emergency Lighting and even Lighting Control.
If we just focus on Emergency Lighting, then we have to separate cost from Risk.
A responsible and competent person will have designed a scheme and selected luminaires based on strict criteria such as electrical safety and performance, I would include photometry in performance.
These generally will be unique to the luminaire and will determine spacings and light levels, also depending on the application, optics may be specifically designed to highlight certain risks.
On top of this careful consideration will have been given to the selection of the luminaire itself the driver performance and also the battery chemistry
In additions we should not forget the test and monitoring system that is optimised to work with the emergency lighting to provide analytics on the emergency testing and any faults conditions.
One could argue that one emergency luminaire is much like any other but the reality is far from the truth. Dedicated emergency luminaires have been designed to fulfil a very specific task and that is to illuminate a space in the event of an emergency. Increasingly these emergencies are now no longer restricted to a loss of power or fires but other events where life safety is threatened.
Reputable manufacturers of emergency lighting spend many millions developing their emergency lighting products and in so doing consider the complete system of driver, battery and optics. As a system they are designed to function as one and to optimise system performance. Life is quoted based on detailed life calculations(MTBF) and generally you will have a quality product that will provide a safe and reliable emergency luminaire for many years.
You can Value Engineer emergency lighting by looking at the performance of the optics, battery as well as look and feel and if comparable then negotiate a better purchase price or remove luminaires where the photometry allows enhanced spacing. In all cases the designer of the scheme must be consulted and the VE product validated to meet the design specification. This is an acceptable way of Value Engineering a project, where costs have been made and the value of the system has been maintained.
Where VE solutions often fail is where cost is the sole selection factor and no consideration is given to the photometry or electrical safety. Simply taking a scheme designed on manufacturer A’s product and replacing like for like with manufacturer Z without any design input is both dangerous and potentially illegal. A Risk Assessment has to be made to ensure the building is safe and Emergency lighting is part of the Risk Assessment so any major deviation from the approved design is questionable and may affect the clients Risk and therefore the safety of the occupants of that building.
There is an old adage that states “You don’t get something for nothing” and how true this is. The web constantly bombardes you with Fake News and most of us accept that we haven’t been selected to received the balance of a small banks reserves or that we haven’t won the lottery in a country we have never heard of. We have learnt to discriminate fact from fiction, most of us know when we are being lied to and just ignore or delete the email.
However, when we are offered a bargain common sense does seem to go out the window and we tend to gloss over the finer detail.
We all accept that Value Engineering is part of the process of procurement, but how we manage that process is what makes the difference. Don’t Engineer out the Value by looking at cost only; consider the complete system.
For more information on the Ektor range of emergency lighting please contact
Stewart B Langdown FSLL
m +44(0)7774 821093