Commercial Lighting Suppliers UK
Commercial Lighting Suppliers UK
Here we share with you some of our experiences from looking for commercial lighting supplies based in the UK.
But firstly, the obvious question: “Why just lighting suppliers based in the UK? Aren’t foreign imports cheaper?”
Yes – imports are often cheaper. But do you know what you are getting? If you have people abroad, which you trust implicitly and they are not open to local bribes, who can monitor what is being
assembled, packaged and shipped, then this could be the route for you to go down. Don’t forget to include the cost of these services when calculating the true price of your lights.
If you are making a one-time purchase, then there is no incentive for the manufacturer of the commercial lights to honour anything they have promised you. They only work to full payment before dispatch. You had better trust them fully with your money. there are stories of money being sent and then that is the last thing ever know – no more replies, no product, nothing.
What happens if something goes wrong on one, or heaven forbid, all of your commercial lights? What if they don’t perform like you were expecting them to? You have to pay to take them down and ship them back to the manufacture’s country (don’t forget you’ll need to provide some temporary lighting in the meantime). They have to inspect them. If they can’t string you along with excuses and slow responses they may decide to repair or replace the lights. You then have to pay to ship them back to the UK and to re-install them. However, getting anything done will often rely on you being out there and making it happen. Relying on the law between two different countries can often be a very slow and costly experience. So much so, that the monies often get written off.
Paying a bit extra to avoid these situations is beginning to make sense. We certainly think so.
Here is one of our favourite quotations, which is widely attributed to the 19th century industrialist John
“There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”
So, you have decided to play safe and source your commercial light in luminaries from within the UK.
The next pitfall to avoid is companies who are importing without any regards to the quality.
Just because an office or factory light is sold in the UK doesn’t mean it is electrically safe, or a good light. You can easily bring such lights in to the country – go on to eBay or ablibab and order some from abroad. Even if it has a CE mark on it, it doesn’t mean it complies. What it means is that the person/company importing the light in to the European Union is self certifying that it complies. So if you have brought some lights from abroad on eBay, then you have self certified that it complies with all the necessary regulations for safety. Do you know what the regulations are? Do you know what the penalties are? Are you comfortable with all of this?
So, let’s assume that you trust the company who has imported the lights, and you are happy that testing takes place to ensure your and the public’s safety. That’ll be testing in the UK by the way. The only people we trust to do their testing in foreign countries are lthe major ighting manufacturers such as Phillips, Osram, etc. if we believed all of the lighting test data we see from foreign products, we would be in a whole lot of trouble when our projects are installed and there is a serious lack of light!
Your next question when looking at commercial lighting supplies (LED or otherwise) is, “will the lights last?” It is all very well claiming that lights will last for 10’000s of hours, but how does the manufacturer/ importer know?
Testing of lights (laboratory testing – not installing a light to see how well it works) over a long period of time can give clues on the likely long term performance of the light fitting. These can be extrapolated to give an idea of how quickly, or slowly, the amount of lumens emitted will depreciate. All lights suffer from lumen depreciation – surely you would like to know how fast? Again, look for UK test data, which can be validated.
Just one more thing on hubris point: ensure that any test figures are for the complete light and power supply. Some lighting suppliers in the UK (& elsewhere) use test data from the individual LEDs or light bulbs. Once these are assembled in to a fitting, the performance can be very different.
Next, is the warranty or guarantee. Is it worth the paper it is written on?
Some LED warranties say that as long as there is some light, the light is considered to be working – that means that even if it is only 1% of the original light, the product is not faulty. Others have a limit on how many hours per day it can be used for, and others tell you the light will last for 20 years but will only give you a 1 year warranty.
The other big question on warranties is ‘whose warranty is it?’ Is it the company you are buying the lights from or is it the original manufacturer’s warranty? One is not necessarily better than the other, but you should know whose warranty it is.
Once you know who is honouring the light’s warranty, you will want to know that they are likely to be in business long enough, and profitable enough, to be able to honour it.