How do I best control the budgets for my hotel projects?

A good designer will always have one eye on the prospect of a value engineering exercise coming along at the end of their design process, so its best to put a costing strategy in place at the start of the exercise.

One of the simplest ways of looking at a budget is to understand that the per-fixture cost can vary between different spaces of the building. If you know the budget targets and you know roughly how many light fixtures you’ll be specifying, then you have an average figure from which to work. You then keep to the budget by controlling the cost variances above and below that average figure.

Fortunately, you’ll generally find that more fixtures will be needed in the ancillary and secondary areas, such as corridors and bathrooms, and that can provide good opportunities for holding overall costs down, enabling you to release some of those savings for the more prestigious spaces.

There also has to be a large degree of common sense in developing a lighting specification. You may prefer to use a top-end manufacturer that can provide you with all the bells and whistles to make your design a sure-fire award winner, but if it busts the budget wide open, you’ll only be disappointed.

Cut your design according to your budget cloth and always keep the budget conversation open with the client and the project team; if costs are going awry elsewhere, that problem will come down the track towards you at some point. Be prepared.

Work with manufacturers and suppliers who understand the importance of budgetary control. A company with a wide range of product may well be able to help you maintain design quality across the project.

This question was answered by Bill Plageman - vice president of marketing and product management at Amerlux.

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