Mark Lewin, CEO at Zano Controls, reassures contractors not to panic over recent changes to Part L.
By now, we’ve all heard of Building Regulations Part L. It’s been a difficult subject to escape since the latest draft of the bill came into force in April, with articles and opinion pieces aplenty waxing lyrical on potential repercussions for the industry. Yet despite some panic, Part L really is a change for the better, taking an important step towards the government’s 2020 carbon reduction target and achieving greater energy efficiency across the construction industry.
As an electrical contractor, you may still be wondering where you stand in light of Part L and what it means for your business in the long term. The truth is, Part L could actually present some brilliant opportunities. The most important thing to remember is not to get bogged down by the regulations and to use them to your advantage.
Play to your strengths
If you’re a contractor, you’re good at your job and you enjoy it, play to your strengths regardless of the guidelines. Use your skills to your advantage and, if necessary, ﬁnd other people with the skills you need to help you; in this instance, lighting designers.
“The more you know and understand about the regulations and how your clients’ premises can comply, the better a position you’ll be in to take advantage of the opportunities these changes present.”
On any project, if the contractor takes part in the design process – for example, what lamp to use and where it should go it becomes the contractor’s responsibility to make sure the project complies with the regulations. Draft in a lighting design expert to help and they can take over that responsibility.
To start with, most of the major wholesalers in the UK have spent a lot of time and money looking into future trends and regulations. As a result, all have invested in departments that specialise solely in energy efficient lighting design. If you’re concerned about compliance, contact your local wholesaler and utilise the resources they have at their disposal. It won’t cost you a thing.
A second option is to team up with a local independent lighting designer. They will benefit from working with a skilled installer and you can benefit from their insight and expertise, as well as their contacts. A reciprocal partnership such as this one means that you can both play to your strengths and concentrate on what you both do best.
You might decide that now is a good time to venture into the design side of LED, and you’d probably be right. Thanks to Part L, LED focused lighting design is a lucrative market, as we can see from wholesalers’ eagerness to invest in it. Getting to grips with lighting design and compliance adds another string to your bow as an installer and can give you a competitive edge in what we all know can be a crowded market.
Part L states that any commercial premises over 100m2 will need to adopt certain measures to reduce their overall energy consumption, meaning that a huge number of businesses will be affected in the next few years. The more you know and understand about the regulations and how your clients’ premises can comply, the better a position you’ll be in to take advantage of the opportunities these changes present.
The best thing you can do is make an informed choice. Decide what’s best for you, whether that’s becoming an expert on energy efficient lighting design or partnering up with someone else who is. Whatever you choose, be smart about regulations, understand your business and remember to play to your strengths.