Pull the other one

Ray Molony dicusses the lighting game’s 12 biggest pork pies.

We’ve all heard them. Many of us have said them. And a few of us have even believed them. Here are the lighting game’s 12 biggest pork pies.

1  ‘Retrofitting controls is relatively straightforward’
…yeah, in the same way that replacing, say, the Trident nuclear deterrent is straightforward. Make it easier on yourself and go for wireless if you can.

2  ‘It’s a fit-and-forget lighting installation’
Only if you have your memory wiped like Arnie in Total Recall. All lighting schemes need maintenance, period.

3 ‘The control system is intuitive, so anyone in your organisation can use it’
Yes, if it’s Bring-Your-Nine-Year-Old-Maths-Prodigy-To-Work Day. The topology, interface and manuals of control systems are created by engineers for engineers.

4  ‘The LEDs will last for 50,000 hours’
And I’m so confident I’m going to give you a warranty for 12 months. Because, let’s face it, a year is like, ages away.

5  ‘It’s a Zhaga module, so you can interchange it with a module from any manufacturer’
No you can’t. Because the original supplier will scare the bejayzus out of you with warnings about thermal characteristics, voided warranties and threats against loved ones.

6  ‘This PFI streetlighting scheme provides value for council taxpayers’
In the same way that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bailout of the banks and the Millennium Dome gave such a handsome return to taxpayers. 

7  ‘This fitting is Part L and LG7 compliant’
First of all, there’s no such thing. It’s schemes that comply with Part L, not luminaires. And if someone tells you their downlight delivers 55lm/Wcct, refer to Ronald Reagan’s maxim: trust, but verify.

8  ‘This LED MR16 is equivalent to a 50W halogen’
Pretty much no LED MR16 currently on the market is truly equivalent in terms of output, beam and light quality. Although Havells-Sylvania reckons its latest might break the mould (see page 95)…

9  ‘It’s CE marked, so it complies with all relevant European legislation’
It may not mean ‘Chinese Export’, as the joke has it, but the CE mark has as much credibility as the Easter Bunny.

10  ‘We only challenge the spec to ensure client value’

Didn’t you know? Contractors are selfless souls who manfully take on thethankless task of ensuring that the client’s money is spent wisely. Preferably by them.

11  ‘We’ll follow the maintenance plan’ …even if it entails closing the building to paying customers, hiring a £600-a-day cherry picker and using abseilers with experience in the special forces.

12  ‘I promise to return the sample’
If you’re serious about getting your £900 Foscarini designer luminaire back, you’ll have to break into my house and prise it from my cold, dead fingers.