Kevin from DfL, assesses his recent experiences as Chair for the ILP North Eastern region, what’s special about the region, and how he’s settling into the role of Project Manager at Designs for Lighting.
Duties as Chair
“I’m proud to represent the North East as Chair of the ILP North Eastern region since April 2018. I’m getting better at juggling work life and ILP duties. Of course, there’s mutual benefits to both.
A main responsibility is arranging the five technical papers throughout the year and ensuring that these are highly relevant to our members and of good quality. I’ve used CPD material from some of the ILP Premier members https://www.theilp.org.uk/membership/premier-corporate-members/ with the 1st paper being on EN12767 Passive Safety of Support Structures for Roads by Hydro Extruded solutions at Thorn Lighting facilities. We had an impressive turnout of 42 people and replicated this success in our technical seminar on Thursday 11th October, presented by our own Ryan Carroll of Designs for Lighting at Durham County Hall; a paper on Dark Skies and Lighting.
I believe that it’s important to focus our members on environmental and ecological aspects of design (timely in view of the latest guidance on Bats and Lighting from the ILP) and not just pure engineering.
Importance of CPD
The growing importance of CPD and training will increase as the ILP as the Engineering Council is making CPD recording mandatory for registrants:
Here at DfL the emphasis on professional training and self-development is top priority. I’m just about to embark on a course on the 18th edition wiring regulations and renew my G39 course in November
The networking side of the ILP is of key importance. In reality, it helps solve many lighting issues. It could be a manufacturer helping source a product solution; Or a consultant offering professional opinion as he or she is drafting a relevant new standard or guidance. I recently came across a problem whilst sitting on the ILP technical committee. A member was having problems with oscillation on new lighting columns in a high windage environment, which resulted in the column snapping. On-going communication with the technical committee resulted in assistance being offered and a solution was provided showing that the ‘lighting community’ really does pay dividends for its members. The solution was to avoid tubular steel columns in a high windage environment.
The North East has a particularly good and close community (I may be biased), with people who are willing to help without self-gain.
For me one of the biggest challenges in our industry is the contraction of resources within Local Authorities. In particular, the industry is losing engineers who stood up for the professional lighting design discipline. This shortfall needs to be taken up with experienced Engineers, however in some cases people are failing to see the benefits of professional consultancy until things go wrong.
There are pitfalls to going out and getting a ‘free’ outline plan design from a manufacturer. These outline designs are often not surveyed, no risk assessment or consideration of specification requirements is provided and this generally means that they are not adoptable format and will not comply with CDM regulations. Because it’s an outline plan design it can be ‘over engineered’ with more product then needed (There is a potential conflict of interest). It lacks the holistic design approach, taking into consideration not just lighting design but the whole environmental and ecological issues, from installation right through to commission and eventual de-commissioning.
My biggest challenge in the role at DfL so far, is to sell the true value of our brand up North and its professional expertise, sometimes against competitors who may not have the same level of professional qualifications and industry experience.
We’re getting there, and I look forward to forging our reputation and connecting with new and existing colleagues along the way. Exciting times ahead!”