Lighting design fees: pricing your services – November 2022 Newsletter

The Principal´s Pen

I pen this message after an eventful period.  We moved to a new home on 1 November 2022.  I am sure that you all know how stressful and disruptive that can be.

I have been asked on many occasions by students, lighting product suppliers and other professionals, how do we determine the fees that we charge or even how do we justify the fees that we charge. I will do my best to give you some idea.  It is impossible in the limited space to give details.

So the question is, can students or unqualified unregistered persons charge fees?

I will start by mentioning the scope of our services in BHA Lighting and Consulting.  Lighting design is only a part of of our professional services.  It usually begins with a meeting with the client and/or the architect and perhaps other professionals.  The project is discussed in the initial meeting, which is followed by further meetings until the lighting brief inclusive of the architectural design, can be formalized.  The concept lighting design is developed and once complete, it is presented at another project meeting.  Remember that throughout the process detailed notes are kept and maintained as part of the project documentation.  As soon as the architect has completed the architectural drawings and has provided the CAD files to us and after the concept lighting design has been presented, perhaps amended, only then does the lighting design process commence.

As soon as the lighting design has been completed, it is presented to the project team/client for approval or possible revision.  When the lighting design is finally approved, our work continues.  Detailed lighting specification documents are prepared.  This requires communication with the selected product suppliers to obtain their quotations so that the specification document can be priced.  This is needed to make it easier for the Quantity Surveyor to include in the the project costing for budgetary purposes and to make the procurement phase easier.

It is important to include essential disclaimers in the lighting design report to the effect that the lighting design performance can only be guaranteed if the specified product is used.  This is critical.  It prevents contractors from doing “value engineering” which is when they source inferior less expensive product so that they can make bigger profit.

We are often asked to assist with the procurement phase which in some cases may only be necessary in 12 or 24 months later.

After the product has been sourced, delivered and has been installed, we are required to ensure that it has been installed in the correct positions and then to do Measurement and Verification (M & V) to ensure that the installed lighting delivers results equal or better than the lighting design.

The process for emergency lighting is more complex and requires certificates to be issued at many different stages, starting from the Emergency Lighting Design Report Certificate, through many different phases until the commissioning Certificate is issued.

Now back to fees.  Fees are set out in the Government Gazette No. 44333 of 26 March 2021.  The Guideline for Professional Fees (Scope of Services and Tariff Fees for Persons Registered in terms of the Engineering Profession Act, 6 of 2000).

In the Preamble, four different methods of remuneration are listed:

a.  Percentage fee based on the cost of works
b.  Fees for services that are additional to those provided for in the normal percentage fee-based calculation
c.  Time-based fees
d.  Reimbursable expenses.

Fees can range from 20% up to R850,000 cost of works down to 6% of cost of works at R100 million.

The level of fees is further relative to the qualifications and experience of the engineer.  It is defined in categories:

Category A: means a top practitioner whose expertise and relevant experience is nationally or internationally recognized and who provides advice at a level of specialization where such advice is recognised as that of an expert.
Category B: means a partner, a sole proprietor, a director, or a member who, jointly or severally with other partners, co-directors or co-members, bears the risks of the business, or takes responsibility for the projects and related liabilities of such practice and where his/her level of expertise and relevant experience is commensurate with the position.
Category C: means all salaried professional staff with adequate expertise and relevant experience performing work of an engineering nature and who carry the direct technical responsibility for one or more specific activities related to a project
Category D: means all other salaried technical staff with adequate expertise and relevant experience performing work of an engineering nature with direction and control provided by any person contemplated in categories A, B or C.

The description of the above categories have been abbreviated for the newsletter.  I recommend that if you require the full details, you should ensure that you obtain the full document.

As you will all appreciate, one has to comply with many requirements to be able to charge fees.  So…. the simple answer to the question asked at the beginning of this article is, unless the student or individual is already a registered engineer, you may not charge fees.

Happy Birthday to the following past & present students celebrating their Birthdays this month of November! We hope you all have a memorable day!

  • Sone Fourie, Alberton, South Africa- 3 November
  • Peter Molnar, Toronto, Canada – 3 November
  • Abinaya Jevaraju, Kuwait City, Kuwait – 4 November
  • Donovan Pentz, Johannesburg – 7 November
  • George Du Toit, Cape Town – 7 November
  • Sydney Naidoo, Durban –  8 November
  • Enzo Manna, Pretoria – 9 November
  • Nicole Townsend, Benoni – 13 November
  • Thibualt Fay, Johannesburg – 21 November
  • Andries Burger, Pretoria – 22 November
  • Mthulisi Dube, Pretoria – 25 November
  • Jacques Henegan, Pretoria – 26 November

A warm welcome to the following new BHA School of Lighting students!

  • Avinash Reddy Gopu, Hyderabad, India
  • Sydney Naidoo, SNA Consulting Engineers, Durban
  • Oguzhan Ercopur, Ankara, Turkey
  • Justine Joanne Williams, OrbitX, Paarl
  • Charmaine Wareldie Conradi, OrbitX, Paarl
  • Shamielah Jacobs, OrbitX, Paarl
  • Rajean Whekaa Morris, OrbitX, Paarl
  • Solan Perumal, Durban

The following students are preparing to write examinations, we wish you great success!

  • Oliver Hauser, Johannesburg – as you prepare for the first year examinations
  • Martina Mantaras, Montevideo, Uruguay – as you fast approach the time to prepare for the first year examinations
  • Mark Storm, Cape Town – as you prepare for your second year final practical examination

Congratulations to BHA School of Lighting Students

  • Eric Ceba, Gqeberha on your graduation and qualification as an Illumination Engineer after the successful completion of the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course
  • Ruben Triegaardt, Netherlands on your successful completion of your First Year examinations

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Upcoming Events from BHA School of Lighting


Cost: Free of Charge

Date: 24 November 2022

Time: 5:45pm for 6pm – 7pm (SAST)

Presenter: Phil Hammond, BHA School of Lighting

About: We as humans need light for a variety of reasons, but do we ever consider the impact & our hunger for more and more light has on the environment and therefore the planet?

  • Introduction
  • What do we know or perhaps do not know about this vexing topic?
  • Impact on Fauna
  • Impact on Flora
  • What are the known causes and considered causes of our impact?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What are the best options to consider?
  • Can we, as humans, adapt to the changes that are needed?
  • What modern 4IR technologies are available?
  • Conclusion
  • Surveys
  • Q & A

BHA SCHOOL OF LIGHTING – 9 November 2022
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