Perfecting the Wiring Accessories Mix
5 December 2011
Ian Hamilton, managing director of decorative electrical wiring accessory, lighting and multi-room audio control manufacturer Hamilton Litestat, examines the best ways of stretching clients’ budgets further without compromising on quality or design when sourcing lighting and wiring accessory products in today’s tough market.
Recent figures* show that the construction output was up 5.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 but that the value of new projects has dropped by 21 per cent for new commercial projects and 31 per cent for residential starts since the same time a year ago. So, although there’s a tentatively growing market out there, electrical contractors need to maximise every last drop of their clients’ budgets to offer best value for money and secure those contracts.
The quality of wiring accessories required for the luxury market remains largely uncompromised and the lower end of the market is still flooded with traditional white plastic plates. Yet on larger projects such as hotels, the entire spectrum of products will be needed from the most bespoke to the very basic – and everything in between.
The best way of successfully achieving this mix without compromising on quality or continuity of design is to source a single range of plates that are available in different materials and finishes, and with different functions. This provides opportunities to reduce costs in certain places eg using plastic instead of metal, freeing up more budget for the areas where luxury or bespoke pieces are required whilst ensuring that the accessories look good and co-ordinate throughout. You could also introduce grid-fix products of the same design in areas where you need extra flexibility without blowing the budget.
At Hamilton, we recently expanded our bestselling Hartland CFX range to include the Colours collection – new plates that include all of Hartland CFX’s popular features including the slim profile and concealed fixings but crafted from glossy plastic instead of metal. The plates are currently available in bright white, jet black and pillar box red, and provide a lower-priced alternative to the metal designs. These additions to the Hartland CFX family of products give contractors new options to present to clients that can provide cost savings in certain areas, with the reassurance of knowing that even if a combination of metal, plastic, grid- and box-fit plates are used across an entire project, the design features are consistent and there’s flexibility to mix and match in the future as required. Hamilton also produces bespoke plates based on the Hartland CFX design for those jobs that need something unique or extra special and if plates like this are needed, the cost savings of using a plastic finish in some areas may come in particularly handy.
Selling the energy and money saving benefits of lighting control systems – even basic ones – is another good way of being budget-conscious for the client whilst ensuring the job is sizeable and profitable for you.
Saving Energy and Money
According to the Electrical Contractors’ Association**:
• An average household could save 19 per cent on their total annual electricity bills by using both internal and external lighting controls and fitting energy-saving light bulbs.
• That’s a 64 per cent cut to lighting spend – a very attractive figure to the average consumer!
Again, making sure the lighting control plates co-ordinate with the other wiring accessories is key, and should be a very simple job if you choose a consistent plate design that’s available across a wide range of functions and finishes.
With budgets being stretched to breaking point it’s false economy to cut corners when it comes to quality. However, if you look at a project as a whole then source a plate design that can apply to all elements from top-end to cost-conscious you’ll be able to keep that designer look on a more realistic budget.
*RICS Construction Survey Q1 2011, available at www.rics.org
** ECA Guide to Energy Saving, available at www.eca.co.uk
The luxury and award-winning spa hotel at Lancashire’s five-star Ribby Hall Village recently celebrated its first birthday, having served 2,500 afternoon teas, massaged over 7,000 backs, welcomed 15,000 guests and celebrities and manicured 91,250 nails over the past year – all lit, powered and connected with the help of electrical wiring accessories from Hamilton Litestat.