"The betterment of the landscape lighting industry"

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Mike brought up a good question. What does "The betterment of the landscape lighting industry" mean?

    Also, what is preventing or hindering the betterment of the industry?

    Do we see ourselves as having roles in this process?
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    The race for the bottom is hurting the industry alot but what I see that bothers me even more are 2 things

    The big box store projected image that low voltage lighting is easy and anyone can do it. How many times have you opened the paper to see 10 lights for 90 bucks ? Sure the Savvy client knows better but it still affects the image on the industry.

    The main problem I see is the uninformed or careless installer who takes "pro grade" gear and chains it around without care for proper techniques or code. This leads to poor system performance and less than pleasing results when viewed. I am sure just about anyone here that has been doing this for any lenght of time has come across a client who has been apprehensive to spend the money for one of our systems because of thier bad experience with low voltage in the past. Standardization and licensing might be ways we can help that.

    I also think the major players in the manufacturing end need to unite and work together to bring around some of these changes. There is so much drama and as Mike would say "dirty laundry" in this industry its not even funny. It seems like "manufactures" are popping up like weeds. Each has some form of the same fixtures and each races for a lower price.

    There will always be the low priced junk on the market and plenty of guys willing to install it so possibly one of the best ways to boost the industry image is to have a state or even national permit needed to install low voltage.
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Here's one part:

    Improving the public's perception of the profession. Through marketing, public relations and word-of-mouth communicating the fact that landscape lighting is an artistic craft, primarily a design profession. When a general lay-person goes into a crafts store and walks by the acrylic paint section, they don't think of buying a bunch of paints and brushes to paint a portrait of their family. In the same way, I'd like it if a majority of people walking by the outdoor lighting section of home depot are thinking "I'd like some outdoor lighting but I really should hire a professional to do it."
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    The big box stores portray all home improvments to be a do it yourself and save type of thing. I can nail 2 boards together but I am not about to frame up the vaulted celings going in our addition am I ? You wont stop the DIY but I agree with you Steve. The publics general perception of landscape lighting is less than perfect.

    MAGLIGHTING LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    What I'm going to say is this.

    There are many players in this industry who beat the drum for safety first , UL, ETL listings etc. That's fine.

    And then they turn around and put the product in the unsafe hands of those uneducated and inexperienced in the science of landscape lighting or have absolutely no electrical knowledge or background at all.

    Though these purveyors will be the first to agressively oppose any kind of state or city or national regulation or licensing to install that may hinder the distribution or sale of their products.

    It historically always has been a numbers game. The more distribution the more product will sell. The person selling the product should not be the one responsible for the one purchasing it to make sure that it is being installed properly and safely. That is what inspections are for.

    Some of the teaching is being done by unqualified individuals who themselves have never installed a lighting job professionally or who are failed contractors themselves.

    Seems kind of hypocritical and a screwed up system to me.

    The industry will never achieve it's peak until there are accepted and acknowledged recognized standards.

    As an HVAC contractor you can go out on a service call and replace a compressor unit without having to replace all of the electrical and ductwork because it has not been originally installed properly or with deficient materials.

    As a plumber you can go on a call and replace a faucet without having to re-do all the plumbing because it wasn't supplying the proper water pressure to the sink.

    More times than not the same cannot be said of this industry.

    Design cannot be standardized nor should it be. Installation technique and materials minimum standards can some what be.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2009
  6. Mr. Quik electric

    Mr. Quik electric LawnSite Member
    Messages: 63

    I agree with some licensing and standardization. The only ones afraid of it are the ones who won't pass the test or inspections. Time for a limited energy specialist license. Just my opinion, but who gets to set what the standards are for installs? Are we limited to 1838 standards or everything under 30v according to the NEC for limited energy? Certainly some kinks to work out, but would probably keep alot of landscapers and trunkslammers out of the biz since they wouldn't want to deal with permitting and inspections. Just thinking out loud.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Here in Ontario, we are moving towards a more standardized and structured model that will see us having technical installation standards, a certification program and specialty trade licensing. We have been working together with Landscape Ontario and the Electrical Safety Authority to bring these changes to our industry. I for one am looking forward to it and firmly believe that having such standards and certifications, supported by inspections and permits, will result in a stronger LV Outdoor lighting industry. The number of 'hacks' will be greatly reduced and the technical quality of the installations should be improved. This will result in more business for the pro's, as the general opinion of the quality and efficacy of LV lighting improves across the marketplace.

    So far, I have been directly involved in this process by collaboratively composing the technical standards of installation, and most recently completeing the the training module for Lamps.

    It will be nice to finally have a clear, concise and firm set of installation standards to which all contractors will have to comply.
  8. jshimmin

    jshimmin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I recently went to a local seminar put on by a major manufacture. The seminar was held at a local supply house that primarily promotes irrigation systems. I was the only full time lighting guy there, the rest being irrigation and landscape installers.
    The seminar covered the possible economics of installing lighting and a new system they recently rolled out. There was no mention of our states requirements (low voltage license) and insurances that should be carried to do the work.
    When I commented on it, there was a big silence over the room. Irrigation techs are supposed to carry the license as well here.

    Later I asked the supply house manager about it. He estimated that 95% of his customers do not meet the states requirements. Another local supply house I purchase from gave me the same number.

    I think the manu’s should at least promote and educate prospective installers on the legalities of their products. With no license should they be able to purchase wholesale?
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Jim: The issues you raise are valid and exactly the type of thing that I think the AOLP should be dealing with. Unfortunately I don't think the AOLP have much stomach for getting involved in the issues of regulation, compliance, licensing, et al.

    These issues are no longer limited to local municipalities, they are becomming issues in many states and provinces throughout N. America.

    Are you a member of the AOLP? If you are, I would push the Board pretty hard on this topic. It is something that must be dealt with.
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    I agree with Jim. I attended a seminar a few years ago. Most of the guys attending were lawn guys and couldnt grasp the concept of ohms law let alone tell you how many watts you can run on a given lenght of wire.

    How do I know ? I got called out to a job installed by one of them several months later and found about 8v at the fixtures. Most distributors will look for any warmed bodied soul who will buy lighting. Some are better than others but all want sales. If they helped thier qualified contractors boost sales more thru co-op advertising and other means it would benifit the industry more.

    Its sad how they do a 1 day seminar to launch someone into low voltage.

    Anyone have a clue as to the percentage of top name brand lighting systems that get installed properly vs thoes who are hacked in ? So far I have come across 3 brands on a routine basis that are installed all wrong.

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