A guide to lighting services for your home
A guide to lighting services for your home
Hannah Shanks - Editor
Lighting services refer to a great variety of lighting systems and their design, installation and management. As people are putting more time and effort into their houses, lighting services are becoming increasingly popular to add style and variety to a home. A vast area of styles and lighting systems are available for both the home and garden.
When would I need lighting services?
Light services companies are needed whenever you wish to add lights to your home, whether this is one single light or an intricate system which is placed around the house.
- In the home. There is a vast range of lighting for the home, from spot lighting to free standing lamps. Different illuminations, colours, and styles are available to suit the fashion of your house. Tiffany stained lamps will also add a certain décor to a room.
- In the garden. Technology has advanced so that outdoor lighting is now possible. This can range from deck lighting, spot lighting which is placed amongst the flower beds, and lights wrapped around tree branches. For larger gardens, there is the option of placing outdoor lamps around the paths so as to guide the trail. Security lighting, or flood lighting, is a popular option to act as an indication of intruders.
- Water lighting. Light services companies can also supply and install lights that will illuminate ponds and swimming pools. These are the most specialist systems, and are the most difficult to install. These two points obviously manipulate its price, making these systems one of the most expensive.
What services are actually provided?
The most common service provided is lighting supply. The range available today is great, but the majority of lighting services companies will be able to provide the type and style of lighting that you are looking for.
- Fibre optic lighting is now a popular choice, especially for spot lighting which is popular in kitchen and bathrooms where a great deal of light is favoured. Spot lighting is one of the more expensive styles of lighting, but it does provided one of the brightest lights.
- Freestanding lamps add character to a home, and a vast array of styles are available.
- Lighting of varying brightness is becoming more popular, meaning that the suitable illumination for the room can be controlled by which lights are chosen. Dimmer switches are also available so that the illumination of the light can be controlled and varied as you wish.
- Light services companies may encourage you to use energy saving lighting which last longer and are kinder to the environment.
- In bathrooms, lights for mirrors are available, especially shaving lights which offer incredibly bright illumination.
Many of the companies will manufacture these lighting systems themselves, for example high-end track, LED, accent and fibre optic lighting systems. They will also produce different styles of lamps, and these may be modified to your wishes. If you wish to design your own lamp, the light services company may be able to manufacture it for you.
As lighting is starting to be used as an additional decoration to a room, lighting design is vital to this process.
- Lighting services specialists will produce Computer Aided Designs of what lights will be used and their location based on the requirements given.
- An initial consultation will be given whereby the client will explain what they want from the lighting system. The client may not know what type of lighting they require, but the team will be able to solve this problem by listening to their specification.
- The services team will then produce a design, based on their expertise, which will solve the specification. The lighting services company may also design specific lighting equipment and systems if needed for the project.
Once the system has been designed and the appropriate equipment has been chosen or designed, and manufactured or supplied, the services team will also install the lighting.
- The services agent will firstly arrange all the electrics that wire up the system. For spot lighting this is a particularly intricate job, and is the longest in the installation process. If the whole house is having new lighting then this may take up to a week, if not more depending on the size of the house. New wiring may need to be fitted throughout the house which may mean removing plasterboards and flooring.
- For outdoor lighting, the weather will control when the electrics are installed, and all water will need to be drained from the pool or pond if the lighting is to be situated there.
- Grid and truss systems, which hold the lights in place, also need to be rigged, and any brackets which will hold the lights in place will be installed.
- Then the lighting needs to be installed in the appropriate places and positions. This will take place by a qualified electrician who is able to attach the wiring to the lighting.
The lighting services team have to ensure that all the equipment corresponds to health and safety standards and that all connections and wiring is correct. They will check over all the lighting and electrics to make sure that they have been installed correctly and that there are no problems with the wiring.
If the electrician is satisfied that the wiring is correct, the final step is to insert the light bulbs.
What qualifications should I look for?
You should make sure that anyone who is installing the lights for you has an appropriate electrical training.
- They must hold an Electrotechnical NVQ/SVQ at level 3, as well as having carried out a three to four year apprenticeship.
- Although these qualifications are not essential to be an electrician, you may wish them to have awards in City & Guilds 2391 Inspection, Testing and Certification of Installations, City & Guilds 16th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations, and City & Guilds In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.
- Experience is obviously a great advantage, although there is currently no method of testing how long an electrician has been working.
- However, by 2010 the government is requiring that all workers within the construction industry must hold a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) card, or they must be registered with an associated scheme. In this case, to receive the CSCS card the electrician must possess the Electrotechnical NVQ/SVQ, or a satisfactory corresponding qualification, and have passed a health and safety assessment. The card will also have a grade which will be dependent upon the experience and qualifications of the worker. This means that you will be able to tell exactly how long the electrician has been working, and whether they have specified in this type of work.
How much will it cost?
This depends on what services you require. Lighting systems can range enormously, and the types of lights they use will manipulate the price greatly; for example, fibre optic lighting is particularly expensive. It is often worth getting a couple of quotes from a number of companies so that you can compare prices and what these will include. When you get the quote, make sure you ask for it to include all manufacture, supply and installation. This means that there will be no surprises about the cost later.
- Indoor lighting has a vast range of prices. Chandeliers can cost up to £500 depending on how intricate they are, whereas standard ceiling lights will only cost around £20.
- Outdoor lighting can range from £10 for small lights or lamps used around the patio, to £150 for headed lamps used to illuminate paths.
- Installation. The cost of installation depends on how many lights are being added and how far these are from the mains supply of electricity. An average sized room would cost around £250 for the electrics to have all new lighting installed, whereas a bathroom with more specialist lighting would cost around £400. These can be used as a guide for other systems.
Where can I look for a lighting services company?
One of the best places to find a lighting services company is on the online lighting services directory. This has lists of companies throughout the country, and also categorises them into sections, for example exterior lighting, lighting designers, fibre optic suppliers etc, for ease of use.
What should I ask my lighting services company?
- Will/can you produce a design in accordance with my specification?
- Can you design and manufacture your own equipment?
- Are you able to perform all the wiring in the house?
- How long will it take to supply/install the lighting system?
- Can you fit underwater lighting?